Enterprise Software—A Generational Guide

Enterprise software is designed to satisfy the needs of a large organization rather than an individual. But, like most things, it doesn’t connote the same for everyone, even across business units and age groups—and most organizations will soon have workers from Generations X, Y, and Z.

By the Generations

Baby Boomers are the ones who kicked off the technology we use today. They created frameworks to solve problems that weren’t even problems yet. Without their ability to take risks, we would still be making phone calls on the rotary telephone. Additionally, they built tremendous organizations that continue to provide thousands of jobs and they manufactured a new way that work gets done in our country—based on a tough-as-nails work ethic.

Gen Xers are today’s senior level management with birth years from 1960 to 1980. They’re the ones who used email before it was on a smartphone and mainframes to run the enterprise. Boy, have we come a long way. When asked about enterprise software, people of this generation may think of HR and finance applications because these programs were their first experience with enterprise software. These are the workers who hold tightly to Outlook and express disgust when their organization moves to Gmail.

Generation Y includes those born between 1980 and 1994. They’re today’s young folks, and, yes, you ’80s babies, we are calling you young. These workers are often open to different kinds of software—think apps, SaaS, and others. They aren’t tied to databases and they don’t want to be. Connecting the enterprise software dots might be difficult for them to understand because they want to pull all their work up on smartphones, depend on push notifications, and do it all socially. This group cheers when they can do everything in Gmail, for work and play alike.

Those born between 1996 and 2012 make up Generation Z. While this generation hasn’t entered the workplace just yet, my bet is that they will invent and change the way we interact with technology. Remember, some of them have been playing with iPads since before they could walk. I’d assume enterprise software will not even be in their thoughts. Gen Z will probably come up with something more efficient than email; I’m hoping it’s not something along the semi-ridiculous app YO.

Fasten Your Seat Belts

Whether you’re a part of Generation X, Y, or Z, one thing is certain: Enterprise software is going to change—faster than some of us might like and not fast enough for others. To resist change will only hurt an organization. The types of technology advancements happening today will be the disruption to propel enterprise software into a realm its never been able to get close to before. Each generation brings something new to the table, so get ready folks, we are just getting started.