This is a contributed piece from Eneas Bernardo, Managing Director Brazil, RED
This article is the story of a conflict, between what the Millennial generation of IT staff is expecting, and what the business environment is demanding. It’s about what’s happening in Brazil – but it applies to some extent everywhere in the world.
Does IT matter?
The story starts a few years ago in 2003, when, in an article, Nicholas Carr stated, “IT doesn’t matter”. With this statement, Carr threw cold water over the industry. His article brought to light the darkest fear of the IT sector: that rather than be recognized as a business advantage, it was being seen mostly as a cost.
This fear had already been felt to some extent by the ‘mainframe generation’, also known as baby boomers. It might have been sensed, and probably ignored, by their younger cousins, the ‘Downsizers’ or ‘Generation X’.
But the youngest generation in the workforce, the ‘Netties’ or ‘Generation Y’, had grown up in a world where IT was all around and to them it was ever-present. Regardless of Carr’s predictions, IT continued to play a key role, at least for the time being.
Moving forward to the next scene in our story, we see the pressure over IT projects increasing on staff. And, as they struggle to gain the elusive benefits of IT that they still believe are there, many companies are spending more and more money on ERP and other buzzwords that promised competitive advantage and best practices – and the gold ticket for growth and profitability.
Cut to the next scene: the global financial crisis of the 2000s and 2010s. To respond, organisations kicked off a desperate pursuit for cost cutting, and strove to innovate in order to survive – let alone be profitable.
What it means for staff
What’s been the impact on staff of these recent trends?
With unemployment at the highest rates since the great depression, there are also more people to educate, more people to feed, and more people to employ. At the same time, businesses are looking for fewer employees.
Business targets and plans are also piling on the pressure. Projects are shortened, costs are reviewed, and staffing is reduced – so the people who remain need to handle more and more duties. Staff must take on more projects, deliverables and targets. They need to handle quality assurance, to consider new issues such as sustainability, and to evaluate information and data coming from many sources such as financials, manufacturing, human resources, customer relationship management and the supply chain.