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January 16, 2017updated 17 Jan 2017 2:08pm

What a 13 year old would write in your digital transformation strategy

Gerry Carroll looks at the findings from the annual Realtime Generation (RTG) survey by Logicalis UK, considering what today’s typical teen would want in an organisations digital transformation strategy.

By Ellie Burns

The digital transformation of UK plc and the public sector will empower us to live better, healthier, smarter lives. But whose insights and experiences are informing digital strategy? A pre-Internet generation that values the opportunity, but to whom digital is still widely a foreign language? Or digital natives, those who have been immersed in digital their whole lives?

Logicalis’ Realtime Generation survey reveals the digital footprint and behaviours of 13-17 year olds, or ‘realtimers’, if you will: our future workforce, customers, and students, the consumers and recipients of digital transformation strategies.


Why should we care what Realtimers think?

Today’s 13-17 year olds spend on average nine hours a day digitally engaged – either collaborating, consuming, publishing content, or coding their own solutions. 41% are currently studying for a qualification in computer science. 56% want the ability to create or commission their own apps to use on a company network or device. Knowing how to use ICT programmes is considered the no.2 workplace skill, 79% believe understanding data and applications will be important in their future career.

Within the next decade your newly recruited workforce will eclipse today’s expectations of a digitally literate worker. A lifetime online and digitally immersed means they have the potential to radically transform productivity and effectiveness at every level of your organisation. They’ll be like ducks to water to your digital transformation strategy.

More importantly, they’ll expect and want to work in a digitally progressive organisation – one that exploits computerisation to enable their workforce and deliver a better service, product or experience to its customers. Will your organisation meet Realtimer’s aspirations?

digital transformation teenagers
How can Realtimer’s digital life skills inform your digital transformation strategy?

If your organisation isn’t online, socially engaged, mining data, and operationally constructed to maximise business intelligence, in their view, you’re a laggard. As far as Realtimers are concerned, offline is off-radar.

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According to Realtimers then, what should your digital strategy incorporate?


Data –

Mine information insights. Why wouldn’t you? Why haven’t you? Up to two thirds of Realtimers are happy to share data to receive a better service or product, 56% expect to digitally monitor their health, and 37% to share that data with medical professionals. 75% use the Internet and social media to shop, download discount vouchers, or ‘like’ a retail or brand to secure preferential offers.

Realtimers will take it for granted that organisations use the wealth of online and offline data about its customers to deliver a better product or service, and incentivise. Why wouldn’t you, for instance, want your physician to monitor your health, diagnose, and prescribe the right medication based on their insights? How better to do your job than to understand implicitly your customers?


Innovation –

Creating digital-ready infrastructures that allow you to plan and implement future innovation is essential. Realtimers are averaging nine hours a day digitally engaged. 93% own smartphones. Within the next 15 years, most Realtimers believe we’ll be using drones, smart clothing and fabrics, virtual reality fitting rooms, and holographic screens. Digital is their lifestyle and, in their future, the Internet of Things will be as standard in every ‘thing’. Your organisation’s IT function will need to operate and serve innovation at ‘the speed of digital’.


Security –

19% of Realtimers have been hacked, 7% have tried hacking, and 37% have been targeted by an Internet scam. Teenage curiosity coupled with their sophisticated digital knowledge is potentially a threat to the security thresholds we create in society and our organisations. However, they’re equally better educated about security risks: 44% have reported inappropriate or suspicious online behaviour, and they’re well educated from pre-school upwards. This is the Realtime Generation’s Green Cross Code.


How we learn, work –

56% want to create or commission their own apps to use on Higher Education or company infrastructure, 69% expect to work flexibly, 90% watch video tutorials, and 79% like using digital tools for learning. Instinctively mobile and digitally collaborative, Realtimers will probably think it unproductive and culturally archaic to commute daily to an office. Furthermore, the computerisation of factories, warehouses and delivery services, for example, means these environments could be easily managed and maintained remotely.


Realtimers give us the opportunity to learn from an instinctively digital and digitally literate generation. We can draw on their collaborative, consuming nature to more efficiently and effectively teach and work, and nurture their skills to fulfil careers that don’t yet exist. To Realtimers digital is a lifestyle: it’s up to us to mine their knowledge and insights to inform our digital transformation strategies and enable their future.


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