Twenty seven apparently is the number of times an hour a Millenial or Gen Y ( loosely called the ‘young people’ in our lives both at home, school and work ) switch from one media platform to another using multiple devices simultaneously. Put bluntly the art of multi-tasking on a massive scale compared to our earlier experiences of running multiple applications from the same device.
I then got thinking that whether 27 is accurate or skewed by geography i.e. the developing nations perhaps are more in tune with this level of frequency because for many the technology boom is on a crest of a wave versus a more stabilized region of the world, or whether costs of acquiring devices limit a persons ability to multi-task on multiple devices. However, quite early I came to the conclusion that whether 27 is the ‘right’ number is sort of irrelevant because its going to be up there somewhere, and as we all know these ‘younger people’ are the workforce of the future.
Twenty seven is an amazing figure for those of us that work in corporate IT where experienced users may ‘switch’ platforms and applications less than a handful of times in a business hour. Ever seen people just spend an hour stuck in a email application. Or perhaps spending an hour working feverishly at a document. Some people can easily stay inside a browser for an hour ( or more.)
So it go me thinking that, as this wave of people who find the number 27 of events per hour the norm, the impending impact on the IT organization perhaps has not been realised yet for those people who both sit along side the millennial and who provide the IT service.
This is my context. For someone who can pick up, put down and pick up again multiple devices to interact with other people, other devices and other applications and services, there are some core characteristics at work. And those are as follows:
- Ubiquity—the extent to which they have universal access to digital services and applications
- Affordability—the extent to which digital services are available to them at a price that is available to as many people as possible
- Reliability—the quality of available digital services
- Speed—the extent to which digital services can be accessed in real time
- Usability—the ease of use of digital services and the ability of infrastructure and devices to make adoption seamless
- Skill—the ability of users to incorporate digital services into their lives, friendships and every day life
Now when you see these 6 points you may reflect ( as I have many times ) that the corporate world of work must contain all six of these. In fact, if any are missing in a modern IT organization that is expecting to support any world of work initiative, there is increasing pressure not to drop the ball on any one of these characteristics. Now this is a massive step for many IT architects and IT operational people, because it challenges right at the heart of the very heart traditional IT and business productivity.
Can you imagine having these six characteristics as the core success criteria to demonstrate in a business case? Or can you imagine designing a service management framework that reports against these six characteristics. or reading a performance report that illustrates current state against each of these.Tough eh?
Well the number 27 its coming and its coming fast. And its inevitable.
Of course corporate world will ‘fight’ a number of angles to limit the number 27- around security, governance, process and control. Quite rightly in many sectors, business scenarios and environmental conditions. But the smart corporate IT organizations will have seen by now that the ‘cheese has moved’ ,and have introduced transitional programmes and initiatives,that allow these six characteristics to be embraced, deployed, measured and refined.
And why is this? Because the world of work is a tough three letter statement. Decades ago it meant the place you went to work, did some stuff, clocked off and went back to the world of social living, families, hobbies etc. We know this has changed and that the New world of work means a whole different set of pressures, opportunities and risks.
Now the debate may be that so what if some young person can switch 27 or 100 times an hour? Are they any more productive than the person who happily can plough through perhaps just three or four applications in a well structured and measured fashion? Jury may be out but its coming and its coming fast.
The IT organization sitting there watching a huge change in priorities and supply demand challenges may be already looking at the interaction between services they offer and support that exist in multiple cloud scenarios, and how the six characteristics are being played out. Can you imagine being able to demonstrate compliance to the six listed when your email is split between clouds, when your DR is in a third party cloud and your data is in multiple places without any true audit control? And this is just to support those users who only desire to use a handful of applications and services in any given hour. Now imagine 27 times and a user base that has been weaned on total compliance to the six characteristics as almost a human right? Scary? Daunting? Make believe? Scaremongering? or somewhere in the middle?
Personally I am a ‘in the middle person’ because quite often change doesn’t happen as quickly as some predict but I am now fascinated by the gap between them and how the IT organization is approaching them.
You see the new world of work is already upon us and its a combination of multiple elements that ultimately are heading towards an environment, ecosystem and way of business life that will support 27, 50, 80 or higher of digital switch overs by the workforce of the future.
Exciting isn’t it!!!!