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8 Ways Millennials Speed Up the Pace of Technology

  • By Nilly Essaides
  • Published: 6/8/2016
Millennials grew up in a time when the widespread adoption of technology accelerated from years to minutes. That fact has impacted how they communicate, as well as how they want to do business.

Millennial finance professionals are pushing their employers to adopt newer and faster technologies, and they’re pushing their vendors to make user interface more intuitive. The following are eight ways millennials impact technology adoption.

1. Shorter adoption cycle. Rich Wagner, CEO of Prevedere Software, has seen a change in the way companies are adopting today’s cloud-based software. “The ease of use, technical skills amongst millennials and low barriers of entry for new cloud/SaaS-based software has reduced the installation effort and training we need to offer,” he said. “Now we show them how to use the software, and they’re off and running, leveraging global data and building advanced analytical models. There are definitely a lot fewer dedicated one-on-one sessions.”

2. Expectations of continuous improvement. “What stands out the most is an expectation that things will change,” said Bob Stark, vice president of strategy at Kyriba. “That’s different from the more veteran presence in treasury. The newcomers into this space expect things not to stay the same. They come up with a lot of questions and are engaged in education and training. They ask not just what we the product does but how it can help them do their jobs better.”

3. Innovation from within. Another change is that technological innovation no longer originates only in the IT department. Now, Wagner sees it coming from inside the finance group. “The business has become more empowered,” he said. “Now finance leaders are building and leading teams on innovation. Technology is less of a barrier.” That’s in part because the new finance workforce is more impatient. They have less tolerance for waiting for others to get things done.

4. Demanding better user experiences. According to Phil Pettinato, chief technology officer at Reval, millennials are also looking for new user experiences and new ways of solving problems that can only happen within a SaaS environment, where everyone is using the latest version of the software. Previously, companies installed software and often didn’t update or upgrade it as long as it was working. “This new generation is looking to embrace change, to keep up with technological changes, in order to do things better,” he said. “A lot of that comes from their personal lives, where they’re used to looking for the latest and greatest technology to collaborate in the social world,” he said. “They embrace change rapidly and are not afraid of taking on some of the responsibility of using this new technology to improve their work.”

5. Build software for multiple devices. Another challenge is that in the past, software was built for one specific device, mostly the desktop. Now, it must be built for multiple devices—desktop, tablet, phone. “You have to right-size the features, and build a platform for all of these user interfaces,” said Pettinato.

6. Smaller deployments. This demand for ease-of-use also affects implementation style. “The previous generation was involved with very large deployments, with periodic milestones that took a long time before they showed any returns,” Pettinato said. “Now, companies driven by millennials are looking for immediate returns and value add.” That’s where cloud-based solutions are very helpful. The software is already running and comes preloaded with historical data, saving weeks and months of work.

7. Having a constant dialogue. Reval also has a client-experience team that has the responsibility of ensuring that each client has a good experience using the software, but also interacts with the business. Engagement is at the start, during implementation, and with ongoing conversation. “Millennials want to talk constantly about what’s coming and how things can get better. They’re looking for a true partnership,” he said.

8. Different learning styles. Stark noted that from working with both millennials on his team and those on his clients’ teams, he found that this younger generation has a different learning style. “They’re much more skilled at multitasking in general,” he said. “They learn in short bursts. There’s a lot of pick up on the go.” That learning style has changed the way the software firm has approached its implementation projects. “We teach briefly, allow for application, and then teach again,” he explained. “We break the project to little pieces.”

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