Baby Boomers may not be the first segment of the population you think of when you consider new services and applications. The problem with ignoring this segment, however, is that you may easily overlook revenue opportunities or ease focus on a channel that most appeals to these individuals. When this happens, you cut off significant revenue opportunity and areas of potential growth.
Those professionals and consumers who are considered to be Baby Boomers have long relied on e-mail as a primary communication tool. Imagine their response when Facebook (News - Alert) CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared that e-mail was too slow and overburdened by archaic conversations. If you were to do this as a service provider or network operator, you would likely push away a significant portion of your subscriber base.
It is true that it is time to shift to a modern messaging system, but this shift cannot happen all at once. Your Baby Boomer customers will embrace new solutions that enable them to communicate and collaborate as desired at home or in the office. And, enterprise communications will continue to evolve to keep up with the preferred communication paradigm demonstrated in the workforce, but not at a pace that exceeds the capabilities of its users.
Therein lies the challenge: the different segments of the population are using different communication platforms as their primary channel. While Boomers tend to prefer e-mail systems, Gen-Xers increasingly rely on Instant Messaging and Millennials consistently turn to social networking services. What Zuckerberg is truly advocating is a platform that incorporates all three.
His direction actually makes sense if you think about the challenges these different segments of the population place on your network. Not all enterprises, however, will be turning to Facebook to provide the platform they need. Instead, many users will be driving the demand for services and applications that allow them to embrace their preference, while also evolving into a new platform.
This is much of the thinking behind Unified Communications (News - Alert). Baby Boomers are the same individuals who welcomed the introduction of the fax machine and watched as it evolved into a network fax board and then fax over IP in the all-IP environment. While they may not have asked for this change, it came in such a way that it actually made it easier to operate in the corporate environment.
Baby Boomers are therefore impacting the demand for new services and applications by embracing those solutions that allow them to evolve over time. Instant changes that completely eliminate comfortable platforms are generally met with resistance. Evolving solutions that embrace new services and applications over time, however, tend to be widely accepted and drive value for the end user – no matter what their age.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard