Gen Y's Say They Will Save IT

There were two articles yesterday that mentioned how when those in their twenties and thirties take over the Information Technology (IT) departments, that things are going to change... and change for the better. You have to be impressed with the outlook that future IT managers have, but you also have to wonder if they are singing Kumbaya's around the camp fire and not really seeing the details of what it takes to run an IT department from start to finish.

On CIO.Com's "How IT Will Change When Gen Y Runs the Show", 27 year-old Gen Y'er Kristine Harper says that the key to running an effective IT department is through management allowing IT to be "a little bit more fun, encouraging, flexible, positive. There'll be fewer meetings, more networking, more teams."
I'm going to throw out a few more quotes from Harper, and you can stop reading them when it brings you back to the ideas that Gen X'ers had during the Dot.Com boom along with a pinch of Twitter and Facebook tossed in:
  • I would focus on increasing motivation and community in the workplace
  • I would try to emphasize the importance of employee get-togethers outside of [work] to promote a stronger sense of community and friendship. 
  • I think when you feel strongly about the workplace and the people involved, there is a sense of motivation that comes with that.
  • We want to be successful in our jobs, but just in a different way. 
  • It doesn't mean being in our office every day 9 to 5, it means getting your job done, whatever your job is.
Enough already? Moreover, that was just the quotes off of page one of a three page article.
Kristine Harper isn't alone in her ideas of how IT departments should be run in the future. In an unrelated article from ITWorldCanada.com, an IBM survey of university and graduate students back up what Harper is saying. “There has to be re-invention of how companies work and how groups work to take advantage of the fact that social networking can be a very productive and effective way to share knowledge and work today,” said Bernard Courtois, president and CEO with Ottawa-based Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC).
I'm being a little rough on the up and coming IT managers. A lot of what they are saying makes sense from 30,000 feet, but is sure hard to implement on the ground. We'd all like to make work less stressful, reduce meetings, and take advantage of the "brain power" we have regardless of physical location. Yes, we'd all like that, but the pressures on IT are so great, that it will be very, very, very hard to implement all of these ideas, while expecting to pay attention to all of the details that is needed from the IT departments to make sure that programs work, networks are connected, and that those workers that IT supports are able to do their jobs without any noticeable down time.
Although the Gen Y's see the future as Organizations needing "to start looking at the world as if they were standing on the moon”, they also need to remember that the work being conducted by those IT departments are supporting are still performed on Earth. As Casey Kasum used to say, "keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars." (If you don't know who Kasum is, think of him as the Baby Boomer's version of Ryan Seacrest... and vice-versa if you don't know who Seacrest is!)

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Anonymous said...

Very brillant. As a boomer..."All My Children."

Linda Will


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