Experts say businesses refusing to meet the demands of millennials will face extinction, but the young generation is not always met with open arms.
Brian Toomey, senior director of sales and marketing of Arrow Electronics' OEM computing solutions, said he has seen the need for enterprises to adapt business models to meet the growing number of young business owners and professionals. On the other hand, Toomey said there are some business objectives that will ring true no matter the age of the customer.
"You have to find out what the problem is," Toomey said.
Toomey specified that business owners who fall into the millennial category and require assistance from a solution provider tend to expect faster results.
"At the end of the day, he who delivers fastest with the highest quality wins," Toomey said. The important factor to remember, he said, is quality does not always go hand in hand with speed. Whether it is reaching customers through a newsletter or relaying important information through a Tweet, the bottom line is that millennials want to be able to quickly reach a company to immediately solve a problem.
Without efficient means of connecting with business owners, young or not, business simply does not take place. Although Generation Y has stirred the pot in business and the enterprise, there are still three other generations at work today. And, in a time and place where there are four active generations with buying power, narrowing in on any one of them could result in missed opportunities.
AT&T's emerging business markets organization was launched earlier this year and is focused on developing and maintaining AT&T's channel partner program. A product of the rise in millennials, this portion of AT&T is largely comprised of Generation Y. The millennials in positions of authority in this particular branch of AT&T say they are learning and adapting to address the needs of longtime, well-established solution providers.
"As we learn [about the channel], it helps that we do not have any preconceived notions of it. We can adapt to what our program members are asking us to do," said Jack Laskowitz, senior product development manager of AT&T's emerging business markets organization who is millennial himself. Stephanie Williamson, a 29-year-old financial operations manager for AT&T's emerging business markets organization, echoed Laskowitz's opinion.
"Everyone was expressing interest in [face-to-face] interaction with [our] solution providers" in order to get a better grasp on their needs and how the company could address them, Williamson said.
As more millennials are servicing the channel, millennials are learning products and processes that have taken years to develop and are deeply embedded in traditional technology across thousands of enterprises.
Additionally, traditional solution providers are learning from their millennial customers that the sentiment "we've always done it this way" just does not work anymore. Cloud computing, mobility and social media are changing the way people approach technology, and these changes are being driven by the younger generation.
"Where is the chicken and where is the egg?" Toomey said. He added that it is the expectation of the younger generation to get what they want faster. As a result, those who have been in the industry longer are forced to deliver it. But in the meantime, there has to be a mutual understanding that things, by their nature, just change.