The Real Cost of Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions

The Real Cost of Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions
The Real Cost of Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions
Written by Heather L. Cole on December 9th, 2021

What’s the best business intelligence solution?  This is a question I get asked repeatedly by clients that are struggling to manage multiple different business intelligence solutions in their organization.  Due to acquisitions, mergers, and departmental purchases, it’s not uncommon for clients have IBM Cognos, Tableau, and of course Microsoft Power BI along with other solutions.  Various studies show companies average between 3.8 to 5 different BI solutions.  But what is the real cost of multiple business intelligence solutions?

Today I’ll explore the pros, cons and a solution that could be game changing for companies struggling with which business intelligence solutions to use.

Why So Many Business Intelligence Solutions?

First let’s review how the heck we ended up with so many business intelligence solutions.  There were three key factors which include the pace of Data Warehouse initiatives, the massive growth in demands by business uses and of course politics.

Data Warehouse Initiatives

The vision on one version of the truth is nothing new.  Early data warehouse initiatives were supposed to solve the many sources of data and provide the foundation for business intelligence.  But standardizing data definitions and developing the data warehouse proved to be a slower process than we desired.  Some business units like finance were often told their data would be added to the warehouse in a couple years!  This was just unacceptable to the business units that required visibility to data to make decisions.  So, they took matters into their own hands and many purchase their own business intelligence and reporting solutions to meet their needs.

Data Needs Grew Faster than Teams Could Deliver

For organizations that tried to control the purchase of additional reporting tools, business intelligence teams were quickly overwhelmed and understaffed to meet the needs of everyone.  This too inspired some departments to look for solutions that provided solutions specific to their role or department that bundled in business intelligence solutions.  We saw this a lot with financial systems that included reporting tools.  

Politics

The final factor that contributed to the proliferation of business intelligence solutions in organizations is politics.  Many departments seek autonomy from the IT department.  They wanted control of their own destiny.  Software resellers like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI successfully marketed to various departments and their desire to control their own data.

For more information check out this blog, Top 8 Business Intelligence Challenges and How to Handle Them. 

Unfortunately, all these factors put many organizations in a situation where there are many silos of data and several reporting solutions.  Companies reviewing where they are in their analytics and business intelligence roadmap are discovering they are off course.  But what should the future road look like for business intelligence and analytics? 

The Reaction to Multiple Business Intelligence Solutions

If you have multiple business intelligence solutions and you want to create a plan, there is no one size fits most answer.  Having multiple reporting and analytic solutions may be the perfect answer depending on your goals and resources.   Let’s take a moment to explore some of the questions you want to answer in your evaluations.

Primary Goal of Business Intelligence Tools

What is the real reason you need reporting and analytic solutions?  Is it to rapidly provide insightful accurate data in a useful form to business users?  For some clients Lodestar Solutions works with having multiple reporting solutions helps them deploy the data to departments while meeting their unique needs, for others standardizing on a tool like IBM Cognos Analytics streamlines the deployment and maintenance for their IT department.  What are your unique goals?

The Cost Factors

Cost is always a factor.  When evaluating your current reporting tools, you will want to create a list of all the various reporting solutions used.  Then determine if the licensing for the reporting component is bundled with other software or you pay additional for the reporting.  Now estimate the annual cost for each additional reporting solution.  Costs should include the staff to support it and annual maintenance or subscription costs.  The goal is to gain visibility to the costs for all the different solutions.

If you need clarity on your IBM Cognos renewal or subscription costs, Lodestar is happy to help.  Email us at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com.  And check out our blog, Want to Save Money? 

Opportunity Cost of Disparate Systems

Depending on your industry you may find industry solutions or departmental solutions are greatly beneficial and add faster visibility.  I like to compare your reporting solutions to your garden.  You might need multiple tools to efficiently maintain your environment.  So, multiple solutions could be the perfect solution.  Only you can do a proper evaluation if you should standardize on one platform.  Talk to your end users and perform a discovery session of how they leverage data today and their ideas for the future.

Time To Migrate Existing Reporting

When determining if you should migrate reports from one system to another you must consider first if the new system has all the functionality of the old system.  Users hate losing functionality.  Then do a proper evaluation of the complexity and quantity of reports that would have to be redeveloped in a new tool.  If you are an IBM Cognos client and evaluating IBM Cognos verse Power BI, I strongly recommend you consider using Motio solutions to evaluate the complexity and quantity of reports.  For more information on this see our blog and call us for a discussion of how Motio Inventory module can give you clarity.  See our earlier blog on Motio for Cognos Analytics Administrators.  

Best of Both Worlds – One Portal, Many Business Intelligence Tools

Many clients have come to us at Lodestar Solutions asking for guidance on if they should move off IBM Cognos for Power BI, others seek help to manage all the different solutions.  We appreciate this can be a complex and political discussion in organizations.

What if I was to tell you there could be an easy solution to allow users access to all the information they need from one portal?  That the marketing department that loves their solutions can keep it, and finance can keep their solution.  What if wasting time rebuilding existing content that works was not necessary?  Would you and your team like to spend time on game changing solutions instead of reinventing the wheel?  If so, you MUST attend our webinar on What Every Executive Needs to Know about Dealing with Multiple BI Systems. 

Questions, call us at 813-415-2910.  Register for this complimentary, thought provoking event!

Webinar

What Every Executive Needs to Know about Dealing with Multiple BI Systems

What Every Executive Needs to Know about Dealing with Multiple BI Systems

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

1-2 PM Eastern 

Struggling to Migrate from Cognos to Power BI or Tableau?

Cognos Move
Cognos Move
June 18th, 2020

Stop Struggling to Migrate from IBM Cognos to Power BI

How many business intelligence solutions does your firm have today?  Cognos Analytics, Tableau, Power BI… maybe you don’t really know all the business intelligence solutions that are hiding in your organization. You are not alone. Gartner estimates that the average company has 3 to 5 Business Intelligence tools. Many companies are working to reduce the number of business intelligence tools their IT must support.  I have talked to several companies that are struggling to migrate from IBM Cognos to Power BI or other BI solutions. 

Why Consolidate to One BI Tool

I fully understand the desire to reduce the number of BI solutions. By reducing the number of tools, you can:

  • Save money on support costs
  • Become the expert in one tool instead of many
  • Control the silos of data
  • Reduce training costs
  • Reduce consulting costs
  • Provide better security

But, for many the road to reducing the number of tools can be challenging. 

Stop the Migration

It has been my experience talking with hundreds of clients, that many Cognos clients made the decision to move off Cognos for the wrong reasons.  Reasons like, Cognos not having the pretty visualizations like Tableau, or Microsoft Power BI is cheaper than Cognos.  But as they start down the road of the migration, they hit the realization that they did not do their due diligence!  

Due Diligence - Functionality

I believe due diligence requires the examination of the functionality available in the latest version of Cognos Analytics.  Cognos BI 10.2 should not be used to compare alternative solutions.  I know you may not have upgraded, but what if you did? Do you even know what amazing functionality has been added like, visualizations and data modules? 

Due Diligence - Cost

Finally, due diligence must include a detail cost analysis of the software costs, support costs, as well as the cost and time to migrate to a different solution.  For many clients they discover Power BI is more expensive than they thought.  For clients looking to upgrade Cognos Analytics check out our video The Cost to Upgrade to IBM Cognos Analytics

For many, the decision on which BI tool to use is a political battle. But should it be?  What if we stopped the migration and did a proper analysis of needs, functionality, anticipated work and cost? Might we determine that migrating is not the best solution but upgrading to Cognos Analytics is?  

I am a believer that U-turns are okay.  It is okay to stop, investigate the situation of where we are, where we want to go, and what options we have. 

How to Analyze your BI Roadmap

Analyzing if and how to move from Cognos BI to a new BI environment is like moving your family from your current home.  The steps include requirements discovery, assessing where you currently live, comparing to what is available and evaluating how much stuff you need to move.

1. Requirements Discovery

When evaluating if you should move you must first assess what your family really needs in a home or a BI solution.  With a house you determine how many bedrooms and baths you need.  With a BI tool what data sources you need access to. The requirements discovery stage is the most important step as you want to make sure all the important people like your spouse or boss are involved. You want to document what challenges you are having. What you would like to improve? What new data sources do you need access to?  What new users would like to view?  A simple timer and sticky notes can get you started identifying your needs.  

2. Assessing Your Current Environment

Imagine if instead of moving you could just do a few improvement projects to upgrade your house?  Life would be a lot simpler and in many cases a lot less costly.  Well, migrating to a new BI solution is similar.  Once you know your requirements, you must educate yourself on the new functionality in Cognos Analytics. Many clients are shocked and excited when they see what is possible with Cognos Analytics, and to get educated is simple.  Lodestar Solutions is happy to show you the cool new functionality and discuss your needs at no cost.  Just email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

3. Determining What to Move

When moving your house, you would not have movers show up and start moving your stuff to a new house without assessing how much junk you have and purge some of the clutter right?  You would inventory your furniture.  Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t meet your needs like, the crib in storage, and plan the move. You would estimate how many boxes you will need, how big the moving truck should be and how many movers.  Well a BI migration that is either from Cognos BI 10.2 to Cognos Analytic or to a new BI solution is the same. You need to identify how many reports are valid, how complex the reports are, and if anyone really needs the reports.  To do this, you need to get visibility to what is in your Cognos content store.  Maybe you did not realize that clutter in your Cognos content store can even cause performance issue.  Here’s a previous blog on the topic.

What's in Your Content Store?

If you are not sure what is in your content store, there is some good news!  Motio has created an amazing solution to help you gain visibility on what’s in your content store.  At Lodestar Solutions, we recommend Motio to every Cognos BI client that is looking to upgrade to Cognos Analytics, has already upgraded or is struggling to migrate from Cognos to Power BI or another solution. You must read our blog Don’t Upgrade to Cognos Analytics without Motio

Once you have an idea of the type of house you need for your BI, you have assessed if your current Cognos house meets your needs, and looked at how much stuff you have in your house you can properly plan the timing of your move or upgrade, and the estimated costs. 

For many of you, if you follow these steps you will determine that just improving your current BI by upgrading to the latest version of Cognos Analytics and learning the new functionality you will save valuable time and money. But, you don’t have to do the analysis alone!  Lodestar Solutions is here to help! 

On June 23rd, Lodestar is excited to be presenting a complimentary one - day insightful hands on virtual workshop with Motio for all Cognos BI power users.

IBM Cognos Analytics Migration Virtual Classroom
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

VIRTUAL
9:30-4:30 Eastern
Registration Required – Seating Limited.

Register here now!

What you will learn:

  • Newest features in Cognos Analytics in action - understand how to leverage the new features to achieve your business goals. (For information check out our blog What’s New in Cognos Analytics 11.1.6

  • Inventory your Cognos implementation - grasp the scope of what you have in Cognos...learn how easy it is to identify the analytic gems from the junk (report complexity, duplicate reports, reports not being used, poorly designed content, etc.). Prioritize what to modernize after your upgrade.
  • Reducing the size of your Cognos migration (upgrades, CQM to DQM or Cloud) - a straightforward approach that speeds up your migration by simply removing the junk your organization does not use/need.
  • Repeatable testing reduces upgrade costs - experience the methodology and automated testing techniques that reduce the time/effort of your upgrades and ensure data accuracy/reliability in your upgraded environment.

This is an event you do not want to miss!  The last event filled up quickly so register to reserve your seat today.  If you are reading this after the event.  Contact us at services@lodestarsolutions.com for future dates.

Stop Struggling to Migrate from IBM Cognos

So stop struggling to migrate from IBM Cognos to Power BI or Tableau, register here now to learn how to either upgrade your Cognos or at least identify what needs to be migrated to your new tool.

If you have questions about Cognos Analytics, licensing or even your renewal, contact us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Where Should Business Intelligence Team Land on the Organizational Chart?

7/3/18 

At the IBM Cognos User Group in Miami, I gave a presentation discussing how to increase executive engagement in Business Intelligence initiatives. During my presentation, we discussed how executives must understand that Business Intelligence (BI) is not just “an IT thing.” It’s an organizational thing.  It’s a strategic thing.  So, the question is, where should the business intelligence team land on the organizational chart?

Arguing the Case for Business Intelligence

I pondered the question, “Where should business intelligence land on the organizational chart?” for a significant amount of time.  Then the lawyer in me came out and I created valid arguments for the business intelligence team to report to IT, to marketing, to finance…  depending on the business initiatives, I could make every case.  But it’s when I took a step back asking the primary question, “Why do we need business intelligence?”, did that bring clarity.  The role of BI is to provide information that leads to making better business decisions.  Why do we need better business decisions?  So, we can achieve the strategic goals of the organization and grow the business. 

“Business Intelligence’s job is to provide data and analytics to execute what’s needed to achieve the strategic goals.”

The Business Intelligence Disconnect

For the last 5 years, I have been surveying BI professionals on whether they can clearly define the strategic goals of their organization. Did you know that less than 4% of BI professionals I surveyed can clearly define the strategic goals of their organization?   Yet it’s their job to deliver information to achieve those goals.  Does anyone else see the disconnect here?  It’s as if the executives are asking the BI team to run a marathon but they never tell them where the finish line is, then they get upset when the BI team doesn’t cross the finish line.  Could part of the problem be that the BI is hiding in IT and not getting access to the insight and information they need?

Rebranding Business Intelligence to Strategic Analytics

I think the real issue is that business intelligence is NOT an IT thing, it should be an organization initiative and priority coming from the top. It should impact every area of the organization.  So, why don’t more companies create a place at the adult table for a Chief Strategic Executive and move the business intelligence team to report up to the him/her?  I will go so far as to say we need to rebrand business intelligence to be called strategic analytics and allow it to encompass not just reporting, but predictive and prescriptive analytics.  Let’s move the talented BI professionals out of the back room and into a room connected to the boardroom. 

Strategic Analytics fka Business Intelligence is Game Changing!

Are you questioning if strategic analytics is really that important?  Maybe you are thinking that it’s a fad or maybe that it’s not really a long term competitive differentiator.  Could it be that business intelligence is like Six Sigma where it gives you quick wins if you are the first in your market but once your competitors implement it too, it’s no longer an advantage? 

The answer is NO!  Strategic Analytics/Business Intelligence, is a huge competitive differentiator and will be for a long time.  It’s not just companies that are the first to succeed at BI that win market share and increased profits.  The companies with the best data will win!  Yes, your unique data is golden! 

Hypothetically, let’s say you develop some advanced forecasting algorithms that allow you to accurately predict your numbers, eliminating waste and bottlenecks in supply.   You use the magical algorithm for a while and somehow your key competition get a hold of your secret sauce.  Will it level the playing field that they are now using your algorithm?   Will you now have equal insights into the market?   I argue no.  Just because your competitors have the same formula does not mean the competitive edge has been eliminated because for years you have been accumulating this treasure trove of data.  The algorithm won’t be magical without the data.  Yes, your competitors have data, but if your company and the executives are committed to truly being a data driven company, they will invest in protecting and growing one of your most valuable assets, the data! 

Data really is that important.  Why did IBM buy the Weather Channel?  Was it to know the weather?  No, it was for the data!  http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/28/technology/ibm-weather-channel/index.html

http://fortune.com/2015/10/28/ibm-weather-company-acquisition-data/

Good data that is leveraged properly is gold!  But as long as the business intelligence team is being kept in the backroom and not in the boardroom, companies will be challenged to find and mine their motherlode.

I realize my vision of companies truly making data and analytics strategic will not come overnight.  It will take huge organizational commitments from the top of the org chart and maybe even the board table to transform.  Additionally, the members of the business intelligence teams must know the business, speak the business, and think the business.  They will have to learn soft skills and be master facilitators and communicators, but the transformation could also transform industries. 

Should the Business Intelligence Team be in IT?

It would be remiss of me not to discuss if the business intelligence team should remain part of the IT department, where I see it most often.  Typically, the BI team consist of highly skilled technical talent that understand the data and are experts in Cognos, Tableau, Qlik or other BI solutions.  However, it’s been my experience that business intelligence professionals are often challenged to fully understand the business.  Despite their efforts, they find it difficult to get time with executives and subject matter experts to discuss the business and their needs.  Admittedly, many IT professionals could do a better job of working to understand the business and challenges of the functional area. For BI to be game changing, to identify opportunity and treats early, it must do more than just present the data in reports. Companies need to evolve to not only report on historical data but forecast the future and leverage predictive and prescriptive analytics.  Despite wanting to rebrand business intelligence to “Strategic Analytics,” it currently is called “BUSINESS” intelligence and not “Data” intelligence or technical intelligence. Understand the business is essential. 

IT Identity Crisis

Another challenge with BI landing under IT on the org chart is that in many organizations, the IT department has an identity crisis.  For years, IT has been viewed more as a bottleneck than a strategic partner within the organization.  A reason for this may be that IT often speaks the language of geek a lot better than the language of business.  I don’t have time to cover the huge communication gap between technologists and the business users in this document, but it is as if they speak two different languages.  For business intelligence to provide the strategic insights it’s capable of providing, the team must breakdown the communication barriers and become fluent in both tech and business.  The BI team must be respected and be leaders that can facilitate discovery and education of analytics to the functional areas without coming across as condescending.  Superior BI team members are what I call socialized nerds.  But, let’s face it, IT often has a reputation issue within the organization. Until CIO’s are able to transform IT to be seen as team players and strategic partners by the business, the business intelligence professionals that are under the IT department may be hurt by the reputation of IT.  This is unfortunate for all but most importantly, significantly impacts the speed and success of the organization to find their data motherlode. 

As single spark can ignite a prairie fire– Chinese Proverb

Just the Beginning.

In the future, I will share my ideas on how to start the transformation process within your organization.  Make sure you are in our Analytics Coaching Club to receive the latest information.  Register for free at http://lodestarsolutions.mykajabi.com/store/5cre9Xx8

When your company is ready to start strategizing and creating a Business Intelligence Roadmap, contact me as Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

June 26, 2018

Heather L. Cole

IBM Cognos Analytics Clients Should Plan for the Future with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence
4/3/2018 

The Future is Man and Machine

I recently attended IBM’s THINK conference in Vegas, a massive event where IBM announce their vision of the future.  What I took away from the conference was that every IBM Cognos Analytics clients should plan for the future with Artificial Intelligence (AI).  As CEO, Ginni Rometty stated, “The future is man and machine.  Not man verses machine.”  (For more info on the Think message check out  https://www.pund-it.com/blog/ibm-think-2018-and-the-era-of-man-machine/)

The underlying message is clear.  The business world is about to be massively disrupted with the power of artificial intelligence (AI).  Companies that plan for AI will be positioned to dominate their markets.   Some IBM Cognos clients I talk to say they are not ready for it.  They haven’t fully realized the benefits of the IBM Cognos Analytics (BI) software so how can they think about AI?   Other’s state they don’t know where to even start. 

I am here to tell you it’s not as scary as it seems.  It’s quite exciting.  You see Artificial Intelligence is simply a machine that can learn.  A machine that can filter through massive amounts of data and see relationships in the data that a human might never find. 

Data Always Tells a Story but...

The data always tells a story, but sometimes we don’t know what the story is saying because we are drowning in data and starving for insight.  We often overwhelm our users with dashboards and reports. Imagine giving them instead, the information they really need.  With AI, the machines provide the insight faster.

Let me give you a healthcare example that IBM presented a couple years ago at their annual conference.  At the IBM event, a doctor from the University of Tokyo present on how they had a patient that was dying of leukemia, and they were treating her, but she wasn’t responding to the treatment. The team of doctors let IBM Watson look at the records.  IBM’s Watson system can learn the information in thousands of medical journals in a day, and then, when it’s provided with patient data, it makes recommendations.  In 10 minutes, Watson compared the leukemia patient’s genetic changes with a database of 20 million cancer research papers. It’s estimated that it would have taken two weeks for human scientists to identify which of the 1,000 changes were diagnostically important or not. Watson flew through the data. It turns out she did have leukemia but a different form, and it needed a different treatment. The new treatment put her in remission. Pretty powerful stuff!  (Link to story https://www.asianscientist.com/2016/08/topnews/ibm-watson-rare-leukemia-university-tokyo-artificial-intelligence/)

Seeking Sustainable Profits?

I believe companies that seek sustainable increased profits must look at their AI and analytics roadmap as a key component to achieving their goals.  Time is money and in health care it could be life.

I understand many of you have been struggling to get the results you expected with IBM Cognos BI or other BI solutions.  But, maybe you are going about it the wrong way.    Maybe you need to think bigger, more long term.  Try taking a step backwards and look at your business first.  What is one question, that if you could get the answer to, would significantly increase profits?   If distributors could get a better handle on inventory, what impact could it have on the bottom line?  If you are a law firm what if you could increase your realization rates by 10% by identifying the clients least likely to pay?  Get creative.  Ask others.  Then start to explore how you could pilot the idea using advance technologies.

It’s never too early to leverage data and analytics to increase profits and dominate your market!  IBM Cognos Analytics (BI) clients should plan for the future and how you will use artificial intelligence.

If you would like assistance starting your roadmap, or with IBM Cognos Analytics BI, email us at services@lodestarsolutions.com

Understanding The “Why” of the Millennials

Understanding Millennials

​Aug 2017 by Heather L. Cole, Executive Coach

As a business owner and executive coach with an emphasis on IT and Finance, I have found myself puzzled by the experiences I have had and heard of regarding Millennials. Their behavior shocks me and makes me laugh, because as a Gen Xer, I couldn’t image doing the things they do. I really struggled understanding Millennials.

Over the last year, I have immersed myself into the world of Millennials to understand what at times appears to be a foreign species.  Prior to understanding Millennials, my interactions  left me having thoughts like:

  • Seriously, what are they thinking? 
  • Don't they have any common sense?
  • Why do they act so entitled? 
  • Don't they understand how the business world works?
  • Didn't their parents teach them anything?
  • How many Millennials does it take to screw in a light bulb? (This was a real news story in Denver this summer.)

I WAS WRONG!

So, after months of research and interaction with Millennials, what I have learned is I was all WRONG!!!! Yes, Millennials are different but the secret to working with Millennials is understanding Millennials and how they are wired.  By understanding Millennials, we can leverage their creative minds and resourcefulness in ways we never dreamed of.

Do Millennials Lack Common Sense?

A couple years ago I hired Mike, (not his real name) a Millennial to be a junior consultant. Mike interviewed great, had a great academic record, and I was excited about him joining our team. We start all our team members with a 90-day plan where they go through training to learn the technology, they have books to read that help them understand our culture and he excelled through the material. The next step was for him to shadow Suzanne, one of our senior consultants.

Prior to his first day at the client, Suzanne called him and explained that they would be meeting with the CFO of a large, international company, and that she would be leading a discovery session; he just needed to watch listen, learn and take notes. The meeting was to start at 8:30 am sharp. At noon the day of the meeting I receive an urgent call from Suzanne, who is the ultimate professional, “Oh My God, Heather. He showed up at 8:30 in cargo pants and running shoes, walked into the room full of people and announced that he needed to grab a cup of coffee and he wanted us to wait for him. “ No I am not making this up. This really happened.

My response was, “Didn’t his mother teach him anything? Doesn’t he have common sense?” I didn’t get it at the time.  It’s taken me a couple years, a lot of research and interviewing of Millennials and their managers, but I get it now!  Understanding Millennials is game changing. 

Maybe you may have noticed a lot more press on Millennials. Even Inc.com is writing articles like "How to Teach Your Millennial Employee Common Sense."  Now, I'll share what I have discovered in my search to understand Millennials.

The Secret:

Common Sense is the ability to perceive, understand and judge things that are shared by nearly all people. But what is the definition of “all people?” We already know Millennials are wired differently than Gen Xers and Boomers. Maybe, what is perceived and understood by Millennials is different! Maybe they have common sense, but as defined by a Millennial. Wow, instead of the Millennials lacking common sense, maybe we just have a difference in expectations and understanding. Think about it, it's not really any different than if I went overseas to a country where women typically wear long dresses and I showed up in shorts and running shoes. You know, the “ugly American” stereotype.

Solution:

So what is the solution to this problem? It’s quite simple, setting expectations in advanced. Leave nothing out! If our 90-day on-boarding program had a consulting 101 program that set expectations of dress code, showing up early, having your computer booted and being ready to start at the start time, not just showing up at the start time, do you think Mike would have had an issue following the rules?

I know you are thinking, “Do I really have to babysit them?” The answer is if initially you spend the time clearly setting all expectations, you will start to build the trust you need to develop the loyal employee you desire. According to the Forbes article, “Common Sense the Key To an Empowered Workplace”, leaders must over-communicate. They must be, “clear and unafraid to reinforce messages time and time again." Leaders must hold people accountable. But most of all, leaders need to surround themselves with people they don’t have to manage.

But let’s not stop there! My experience has been that if we had set expectations for our Millennial Mike, he might have responded by saying, “Why?”

Understanding Millennial's "Why?"

Millennials often ask, "why," when given a task or assignment. When I first experienced this my gut response was, “just do as you are told.” I thought the Millennial, “why,” was their way of questioning my authority. I got defensive. But then I noticed a trend. Millennials ask, "why," all the time. I started to ask myself why are they asking why?

You see Gen Xers and Boomers were raised to respect authority and do what we were told. We believe we needed to do our time in the business world before we could start asking why. But Millennials were raised believing they really can make an immediate difference in the world. They were raised with technology. Millennials don’t know life before the internet. They know apps and software can make life easier and they always take the easy way out.

As I talked to Millennials I learned they were asking why because they really wanted to understand the purpose behind their work. They need to know what they are doing means something. Millennials also want to see if there’s an easier way. They want to leverage technology to increase productivity.

This revelation was mind blowing! Here I was thinking the Millennials were being disrespectful and challenging my authority when they just wanted to understand their value and share their thoughts to be more productive.

Understanding Millennial's Why & Leverage It

I have spoken with many executives about their Millennial issues. I’ve found they are eager to share their experiences and are actively looking for understanding. The stories have been amazing and I will continue to share them in future blogs. You can’t make this sh*t up. Here are my thoughts on three things you can do today to begin understanding  Millennials.

First, I want to challenge you to look at things from different perspectives so that you can understand, attract and retain the amazing minds of Millennials.

  1. Remember their definition of common sense is different than ours. Clearly articulate your expectations as if Millennials were from a foreign country whose culture is very different than ours, because their culture is different.
  2. When they as,k “Why”, don’t get defensive. Instead appreciate they are trying to understand how they fit into the organization. Acknowledge that they may have some very creative ideas on how to increase productivity.
  3. Watch what happens when you listen to their ideas! It’s like giving a wilting plant miracle grow. In time they really start to bloom to be assets to the organization.
Want to Learn More about the Art of Understanding Millennials?

Millennials are currently the largest generation in our workforce. You may think you don’t need to deal with it and they just need to suck it up. Well you need to understand that this massive generation will change how we work, think and collaborate. The Boomers are retiring and by 2025 Millennials will make up 75% of our US workforce. Not only will they dominate the employee ranks, they will also be the people buying our goods and services. By ignoring Millennials, you will be jeopardizing your organization's future! But don’t worry, I am here to help you learn what I learned the hard way.

As an executive coach, I feel it is my duty to help every organization create a Millennial friendly culture. I have created two Millennial training programs to help you. One has an IT focus and one has a Finance focus, because those are my worlds. If you are not in IT or Finance, no worries, I promise you will learn something you can leverage immediately to attract, understand, retain and inspire top Millennial talent.

The future of your business may depend on understanding Millennials.

Act now!

Register Now for a Complimentary Understanding Millennial Training

For more information and to register for one of my training sessions, contact me at hcole@lodestarsolutions.com

If you are serious about addressing the Millennial issue in your organization, I host on-site workshops to create a roadmap customized for your organization. 

If you have a great Millennial story please reach out to me, I would love to hear it and share ideas how you can handle the situation. Email me at hcole@lodestarsolutions.com.

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