With BYOD (bring your own device), company IT leaders are already getting used to the idea that they have to respond to the desire for consumer-grade technology in the enterprise. Now they also have to recognize that users have their own preferences for how and when they use devices for different types of activities but still expect IT to support a seamless transition from one device to the next one they use.
More and more, the X’ers are starting to look more like the Millennials when it comes to technology adoption, while new form factors open the door for entirely new applications and use-cases in populations that will be tomorrow’s digital omnivore.
As the world has shifted to digital, we know that many trends start in the consumer space and move to the enterprise. Individuals became comfortable with digital technologies like search, ratings, and social media in their personal lives and have, with mixed results, brought them into the workplace. This has already been manifested in the trend toward bringing personal consumer devices to work and will continue.
The growing population of digital omnivores wants to bring all three devices into the enterprise world. And each individual will want to do different aspects of their work on each device. They are unlikely to conform to a certain use pattern dictated by corporate IT policy. The upside is that this group of workers is also accustomed to consuming and interacting with large amounts of content on small screens, an attribute that may prove useful in everything from training delivery to wearable-assisted work to gamification.
The relevance of the social network will carry into the enterprise as well. This growing class of workers will care about the social presence and behaviour of the leadership and companies they work for as well as those they buy from.
This decoupling of content from specific platforms will lead the enterprise to start thinking about content that threads across devices, settings, and use-cases. The contact information for colleagues with relevant experience for a project, for instance, must be findable through a mobile app on a phone on a commuter train, or on a tablet in a hotel room, in addition to through a webpage on a laptop at the office. There won’t be a single, monolithic experience of corporate IT shared by all employees. To be sure, the younger generations are at the leading edge of shaping these patterns, and companies will need to consider the variety of preferences and behaviours the younger work-force brings with them, but the omnivore class reminds us that new-use patterns will come from all ages and for a variety of reasons.