The internet has been abuzz lately debating “geriatric millennials” – I’ll be the first to admit they exist and…. I am one. I have usually avoided the term millennial as generationally, we have a bit of a bad reputation; we’re known as impatient, lazy, entitled and thinking that everyone deserves a trophy.
However, as Erica Dahwan highlights in her article popularizing the term “geriatric millennial”, we’re also leaders and decision makers; influential in our communities and organizations alike. There are even millennials in the US Senate and the Cabinet as well as in C-suites.
Digital transformation has only accelerated through the pandemic but sometimes it’s a challenge to communicate to people who don’t spend day in and day out in technology. And as a millennial, digital transformation often seems like it’s just a way of life. As a kid, I remember the excitement that came with having new computers at school (Keyboarding Classes and Oregon Trail!), as a teenager the power of getting my first cell phone even before I had my driver’s license. And now as an adult, leading State and Local Governments through ERP upgrades, I help clients execute on their digital transformation journeys.
I recently had an epiphany about digital transformation as I was upgrading my cell phone and how we approach the change it brings to our lives.
We’ve all experienced it – that modern rite of passage we call upgrading our cell phone. Recently, I knew my time was coming: my phone was slowing down, battery life was terrible, and I was running out of space to update my apps. Instead of immediately acquiring a new device, I wanted to wait it out… see what new versions may be available soon. Then, the worst happened. No, not the blue screen of death. Something even worse. My phone DIED and even the repair shop couldn’t get it to turn back on! I panicked. My life was on that phone – emails, photos, texts, contacts…. I needed a new phone and I needed it fast!
I broke with my tradition of online shopping and headed to the brick and mortar store so I could have my new phone the same day. The salespeople in the store were excited to see me. That could be because the only other person in the store was asking where they could purchase a flip phone, but I think it’s because they understood my predicament. Even as a tech savvy individual, I felt overwhelmed by the decisions I had to make. How much storage do I need? How many megapixels should a camera have? Do I need a smart watch to go with it?
My decision ended up focused on a few key factors:
- Which phone will provide the new features I need and better battery life?
- What is the total cost? Not just the initial purchase price but how much will it cost over the next two to three years.
- Which operating system will best meet my needs? I needed an OS I was comfortable with (in my case Android) so I could leverage my existing knowledge and familiarity to get back up and running ASAP.
And while I got all the key features I wanted, there were intangible benefits as well: I was more productive by being able to streamline a few apps and found out there had been a lot I’d been missing in podcasts with such limited battery life. Thankfully, my Candy Crush game was still at the same level!
A few days later, with my new phone safely tucked away, I met with a client executive of a local government. The organization is a long-time client that initially purchased our solution, CGI Advantage, before I had my first cell phone and has upgraded several times over the years. Even though this particular executive wasn’t involved in the initial purchasing decision or the most recent upgrade, she was the one leading decisions about the future of their ERP. With their current version approaching reduced support, she needed to make an upgrade decision quickly allowing time to budget and plan before support ended.
During our discussion about Advantage’s new product features, mobile first design, and intuitive user experience, I had that epiphany I mentioned earlier: Digital transformation is all around us. Making a decision about an ERP solution and deciding on a new cell phone are surprisingly similar. Instead of megapixels and battery life, we were discussing the benefits of a unified Cloud solution, but many of the decision factors were the same.
- Familiar but modern solution: The client’s organization wanted to gain new functionality without a disruption in efficiency.
- Total cost of ownership: Her organization needed to understand more than just the initial purchase price. They needed an understanding of ongoing tangible and intangible costs they may incur over the life of the contract.
- Time to upgrade: With a goal to modernize their solution quickly, the decision makers needed to know the timeline for implementation, time and resources needed to upskill employees, and the effort involved in converting data.
We are constantly making digital decisions and, whether we’re selecting a new cell phone or modernizing our ERP solution, embracing digital advancements can transform the way you live and work.