New Generation of Workers Pose Challenges for IT, Analyst Says

As baby boomers retire from the work force, they are being replaced by younger, more tech-savvy employees who have greater expectations for the technology they use for work, says Forrester analyst Ben Gray, who will address the issue at the upcoming Forrester IT Forum conference. Today's workers are more mobile and they are demanding greater choice in their technology, putting more strain on IT departments that are trying to keep up with those demands.

IT organizations are facing the growing challenge of how to address the demands of increasing numbers of younger, tech-savvy and mobile workers, according to a Forrester Research analyst.

Analyst Benjamin Gray said these new employees, who are a growing presence in the work force as they replace the retiring baby boomers, expect more out of their work IT environments in terms of the technology they use and how that technology fits in with their more mobile lifestyles.

"It's going to be increasingly difficult [for IT departments] to support all those mobile workers," Gray said in an interview. "A lot of organizations will cater to their needs."

Supporting these "anytime, anywhere" workers will be the subject of a talk Gray will give at Forrester's IT Forum, which runs May 19 to 22 in Las Vegas.

Already, there are several emerging trends within larger enterprises that are occurring in reaction to the change within the work force, which Gray calls IT populism. The move toward desktop virtualization is one of these trends, he said.

"In a couple of years from now, it's going to be a lot less about the old computer box that IT hands out [to employees] and more about the image that IT is handing out to you," Gray said.

These more mobile workers are less interested in the system and more interested in being able to get their desktop images wherever they are. And technology vendors are pushing that idea.

One idea is to give workers greater freedom in picking what PCs they want to use, either by having the company buy a wider range of systems from multiple vendors and then letting employees pick, or by giving employees a stipend to find their own PC systems.