Enterprise SoftwarePersonasProduct ManagementUser Experience

Defining Millennial-Friendly Products

By Rivi Aspler

I’ll admit that for the past few years, I disregarded trends such as the social enterprise, consumerism or gamification. The ‘Big-Data’ notion was the only trend that I had considered as important enough to invest roadmap-days in. And yet, example-acquisitions from lately only prove that I’ve awaken up quite late….

The latest is the acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft, but beforehand, there were the acquisitions of Buddy Media, Stypi and Radian6 by Salesforce, or the acquisition of Collective Intellect by Oracle. All acquirers have already started integrating communal features into their platforms, offering the end-user with embedded and seamlessly integrated socially oriented features.

These acquisitions follow up on what we all see and experience… the growing dominance of Millennials in the working environment.  The chart below demonstrates that very well. Looking at the chart, one can see that already in 2015, the Facebook generation will dominate the work environment.

One could simply disregard the above statistics saying that it has nothing to do with enterprise software (as I did up until recently), but that would simply mean having your head buried in the sand.

Millennials expect enterprise applications to “give” them much more than Gen-Y expected:

  • Millennials require products that work from anywhere, anytime and on any type of device.
  • Millennials expect the applications to offer MANY communal features, so that they can easily communicate with everyone (peers, customers, suppliers and partners).
  • Millennials expect the applications to analyze ALL the information that is out there, no matter if it has been created on a social platform (Facebook / Twitter / etc.) or stored in a structured DB.
  • Millennials expect the analyzed information to be pushed to them, in real-time, without the need to actively search for something. Embedded Analytics, Embedded Workflows and In-Context Navigation will become a must.

The cool thing is that some companies are actually walking the talk by incorporating Millenial friendly features into their software products.

Kronos, for example, is one of the leading WFM (workforce management) companies in the world. Supplying a suite of products that assists large organizations in managing their workforce, Kronos has an easy reach to dollar worth data. The screenshot below, shows how Kronos translates that available data into periodically based Numeric Targets and compares these targets with the actual day-to-day performance.

The average manager doesn’t have to look for this data. It is embedded into the application and is pushed to the user, in real-time. Alongside with the option to drill down into data and define thresholds, this is one of the best examples of Embedded Analytics.

SABA live, is a great example of a product, a learning platform in this case, that took the ‘Social Enterprise’ notion and truly gave it enough substance, almost to level that an X generation person would feel overwhelmed with information. But when showing such an application to a Millennial person, she would feel ‘at home’…. able to reach information and communicate with relevant opinion leaders, at just a click away.

Another great example is ‘WorkDay’. This successful company is vigorously building a SaaS based ERP system and religiously insists on ease-of-use. Offering Embedded Workflows alongside with In Context Navigation action buttons and zero ribbon-based-menus, Workday truly offers an application that doesn’t need any training. As a user you get exposed only to the actions that you can perform, exactly on time. Embedded guidance at its best!

The last example is of Salesforce, that offers now, after the acquisitions of radian6, BuddyMedia and Rypple, a strong engine that seamlessly analyzes data, regardless of its origin, structured or unstructured, all in one application. Its latest product launch is probably just an early bird of the future , millennial friendly, social and mobile customer service platform.

So, what do you think of this trend? Do you think about Millennials when building your products?


Tweet this: Building Millennial-Friendly Products  http://wp.me/pXBON-3BR  #prodmgmt #ux