Millennials are quickly taking over the current workforce, and for some companies, this growing segment is bringing with them plenty of challenges. Nowhere is this more evident than in the way they’re changing the prevalence and use of technology in the workplace. From the devices that power their work to the software that drives their productivity, enterprises have found themselves back on their heels when it comes to meeting a rapidly changing and growing millennial demand for workplace technology. 

This generation has grown up in an era of instant access to information and quick technological advancements. These so-called “Digital Natives” know the immense impact that technology can have on all aspects of their lives, with 74% of millennials agreeing that new and modern technology makes their lives easier. So it’s clear why this generation is always looking for a better option, improvement or update when it comes to the technology they use at work. This reality has left many companies and management teams grappling with how to respond to millennials’ set of unique expectations. 

Millennials have been the focus of many studies, including a recent one executed by Gallup, which describes the generation as “unconstrained,” meaning that they’re not impressed by the common excuse given by companies that “this is the way things have always been done.” They question those that are comfortable accepting systems that are “just good enough.” This is likely due to the fact that antiquated tools may hinder their job performance; according to recent PwC findings, millennials feel held back at work by outdated or rigid technologies. In other words, as millennials continue to make their way into the workforce, the “status quo” at work might just be on its way out. 

These technically-savvy workers require, if not outright demand, fast access to modern, mobile and personalized technology to support their work, and they do so for good reason. Seventy-eight percent of millennials report that this enables them to be more effective at their jobs, according to the PwC findings. Not exactly a generation known for their patience, they expect to access these solutions “right now!”— not next month or next year. They simply aren’t willing to adapt their work to fit legacy software, which is outdated, inefficient, and can’t be customized to meet individual needs. In fact, 29% of millennials state customization and scalability as the top challenge they have with their company’s current software. Additionally, recent research further reinforces this fact with 70% of millennials admitting to bringing their own outside apps—even against corporate policy—in order to productively perform their jobs.

Couple these tendencies with the increasing pace of contemporary business, and it is no wonder companies are struggling with how to respond. Unlike in our personal lives, where new applications are released daily and delivered directly and with ease to our smartphones, the speed of development of traditional business software is struggling to keep up with the technological demands of the enterprise.

So how can companies tame the demand of millennials for improved, modern enterprise software? 

First, we need to take a look at their priorities when choosing software. Integration or compatibility with other software and applications, customization and scalability, and mobile and offline/native capabilities are millennials’ top priorities, according to recent research by TrackVia

Concerned about meeting these demands? Don’t be. 

There’s a new approach to software that’s quickly gaining attention and credence among IT executives, business executives and notoriously choosy millennials, which leading analysts refer to as “low-code application platforms.” This technology provides enterprises with a way to rapidly create and deliver fully customized, modern web and mobile applications to their employees in an effort to better support productive work. 

With a more advanced understanding of low-code platforms, millennials are confident that this software can provide greater, easier customization of enterprise applications, allow for seamless integration or compatibility with other software and applications, increase productivity in IT, and enable faster implementation, updates and maintenance to business-critical systems.

Low-code solutions eliminate the need for a developer to write hundreds or even thousands of lines of code in order to create sophisticated business applications. Plus, millennials will no longer have to be concerned with putting in requests to IT departments, and waiting weeks, months or maybe even a full year, to have their request fulfilled. Instead, professionals can use this type of technology to quickly “assemble” an application’s framework and easily customize their app around their company’s specific operational processes and employee needs. An added bonus for smartphone-obsessed millennials is that some low-code platforms offer built-in native mobile capabilities.  

If you think that low-code platforms are just a “millennial phenomena or fad;” think again.

Growing in popularity, Forrester forecasts that the current $2.6 billion low-code technology market is expected to grow by 68% to an overall size of $10.3 billion by 2019. It’s clear that the demand for and adoption of these platforms is on the rise; in fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 75% of application purchases supporting digital business will belong to the “build, not buy” category. 

Today across all generations in the workplace, research shows 29% of executives already have adopted low-code solutions. Additionally, only 8% of executives report not being familiar with low-code software solutions, and nearly 45% of executives are interested in pursuing low-code solution. One out of three millennials are already leveraging this software. Of those millennials not using it, their growing interest in adopting a low-code app platform is reflected among their multigenerational colleagues.

Many companies, such as DIRECTV and KS Industries, have already embraced this type of technology and utilize low-code platforms for quick development and deployment of web and mobile applications that are easily customizable to their company’s current and future needs.

Although at first thought it may seem like millennials’ software demands are simply problematic, their unique expectations and preferences have led to new advances in technology, which serve as a great solution for fast-moving enterprises and overwhelmed developers and IT departments. Not only will low-code solutions help satisfy millennials’ demand for workplace technology, it will also help enterprises reduce the amount of time it takes to develop and deliver software that works efficiently for the entire organization—so it’s a win-win.

About Peter Khanna

Pete Khanna is CEO of TrackVia.