Getting used to the new “real world” – before it’s too late
This is something I overheard recently: “email is for when you need to communicate with old people” – and it wasn’t a joke.
For years now, people have been talking about the Y generation, the millenials – whatever you want to call them – the new generation of people who don’t remember a world without mobile phones and the internet. They occupy the digital landscape 24/7. They communicate using text messaging, WhatsApp, Facebook and twitter. Their parents and teachers have for years been trying to encourage them to interact with each other in the “real world” fearing that social skills would remain underdeveloped. But parents and teachers have missed the point. The world that the digital natives occupy is the “real world”.
The comment about email is no joke. Corporate email can drag you around by the nose acting as a to-do list that you can’t control. And email isn’t the only technology that is becoming increasing incongruous in a 21st century organization. Within the world of purchase to pay, on-premise software no longer fits. Solutions that don’t interoperate are no longer acceptable. Technology in the workplace that is not as slick and as user friendly as the technology we use at home cannot be taken seriously.
This is important and to understand why it’s important, think back to the business case that persuaded business to invest in eProcurement in the first place. In a nutshell eProcurement lowers the cost of doing business. But what we thought of as bleeding edge 15 years ago is no longer fit for purpose. The technology in your pocket – in your Smart Phone – is more powerful that the eProcurement solution implemented more than a decade ago.
The eProcurement business case that was so compelling is still compelling but only compared to the paper process world but that is now the wrong comparison. We need to benchmark our business processes with the “real world” in which the Y generation is thriving – the “real world” where everyone is connected to everyone else all of the time – a world where everything interoperates.
Conceptually, the new “real world” landscape is hard to understand but so was the internet in the 1990s before we all got our head around. The “real world” is changing dramatically and those adept at using it are joining the workforce and are beginning to take leadership roles and this is why business need to take a closer look at the way it does things and ask some hard questions about IT systems and their fit for purpose.