Monday, November 08, 2004

Baby boomers and workforce applications

Over the last 5 years or so when deploying workforce applications, such as Employee Self Service, I have regularly dealt with organisations who are concerned that their workforce does not know how to use computers or have such limited skills that deployment will be and issue. Now for a generalisation, the organisations tend to be referring to the baby boomers as they feel the Gen X & Y's of the world know what is what. Typically this is managed via comprehensive change management, training and quite often additional public kiosk deployment to support the project.

Over the last month I have begun to have some strange experiences where baby boomers are concerned, specifically with my parents.

About a month ago my father-in-law begins talking to me about the merits of Firefox vs Thunderbird vs Internet Explorer. I found this a little different.

What got me was last night having dinner with my mother we began showing her our photos on Flickr and how she could view them as a family member. I then was asked "So what is a blog and why would you have one?" After spending about 5 minutes explaining things she calmly says "oh now understand, I have been mentioned in a blog. Someone was reading my book and put something in her blog about it and I have been wondering what they are." I asked how should knew someone was writing about her, and was told that she regularly keeps an eye on things via searching in Yahoo and Google! On further discussion she actually turned down a Gmail address about 6 months ago.

After giving her a quick run down on Blogger she decided that it was the sort of thing she could use with her research and now wants to set on up. About 5 minutes later she pulled out a 128MB USB key/MP3 player that she had been given and did not know how to use it. Another 30 minutes later and we had completed a short training session on iTunes, MP3s, ripping and other such items. She now is set to take Mozart on the road.

Now, you might think my mother is a knowledge worker in a corporation. In fact she is so not that. She is a piano teacher, ok maybe one of the best in Australia or even the world, but still not your traditional IT savvy demographic.

Now if I look at my father he has been online for ages, my step father regularly trades online and emails. Therefore these baby boomers understand enough technology to use regular workforce applications.

Now coming back to the issue of deployment. Maybe the baby boomers in the workforce do actually understand technology and us Gen X's just do not give them enough credit. Something to definitely consider next time you are deploying your applications.

Now off to help setup a Blogger account for my mother.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 11/08/2004 08:16:00 am   |