Millennials are Building and Bringing Apps

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — July 21, 2014

Employees are seeking custom solutions due to outdated legacy applications and inadequate company devices provided for today's needs, according to a study from TrackVia. Employees are embracing BYOD and BYOA like never before and Millennials are "leading the charge" and causing havoc.
 
They are so attached to their mobile devices that they are 15 times more likely to give up coffee and seven times more likely to say goodbye to their televisions than their beloved smartphones.
 
In fact, this generation is shaping their working lives around their mobile devices. And, with the ability to work effectively any time, any place and on any device, they expect employers to make the policy and structural changes necessary to enable their preferred form of working.
 
Millennial BYOA
TrackVia reports that nearly 70% of Millennials admit to bringing their own apps—even against corporate policy—in order to work. Nearly half say they do so because enterprise apps do not meet their needs, and 35% say they do not like corporate apps because they don't work across devices.
 
Millennials are clearly determined to work on their own terms, but to what risk? Put that in the "not my problem" category, as 60% are not concerned about corporate security when they use personal apps and, even more (69%) say then never work with their IT departments to choose business apps.
 
Less than 25% of Millennials think that BYOD and BYOA even cause headaches for IT.
 
Build vs. Bring
What's more, the next gen worker is not only bringing apps, they are building them, according TrackVia's study of "The Citizen Developer." The study provides "insights on the behaviors and characteristics of an emerging class of technology users within the enterprise."
 
Walker Fenton, SVP Product, TrackVia, Inc. explained in the opening of the report that the term Citizen Developer was first coined by Gartner in 2009 and refers to an end user who creates new business apps for consumption by others. He said that the concept has since expanded to include almost any front-line employee with the need and desire to build their own applications to improve the way they work.
 
Citizen Developers are larger in numbers in younger workers—50% of those ages 18-20 and 47% ages 30-44. Fenton wrote, "The rise of the Citizen Developer within organizations of all sizes—including small startups to global enterprises—has the potential to dramatically impact both how businesses operate and how they empower their employees with technology."
 
Expectations and Managing
Citizen Developers believe they best understand their own software and application needs and expect IT to give them the freedom to use the best tools available on the market. This is a fairly typical mindset when it comes to mobile but Citizen Developers are extending the thinking to less mobile devices as well.
 
Seventy-three percent expect to be able to modify and customize their work computer or laptop; 63% will go around IT to find the solutions they need. Seventy percent are using their own devices at work, and the majority don't even perceive a difference between personal and business us of apps.
 
What's an enterprise to do? "The role of the Citizen Developer is affecting everything…this isn't about having IT invest in large-scale enterprise applications, but rather looking for opportunities to replace older, bloated enterprise programs with innovative systems."
 
Perhaps, the first inclination (as it often is at the dawn of new technology) is to block and control. Alas, this has never really worked. The report advises corporate leaders to take advantage of the drive of Millennials, and to enable and leverage Citizen Developers.
 
This next gen of workers will result in a next gen enterprise.

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