COFES 2012: Social Software and Gen-Z

One of the roundtables I attended during last week COFES 2012 was about social software and cloud. The session was moderated by Jim Brown of Tech-Clarity. “Social topic” was much less in focus of COFES 2012 compared to 2010 and 2011. I’ve been intrigued by the combination of social and cloud under the same hood.

How are the Cloud and Social Computing Changing Business for the Next Generation? The Cloud and Social Computing have already begun to change the way business works and poses many new challenges. It has also opened the door to entirely new business models and opportunities. The first waves of digital natives hit the shores of businesses about 10 years ago and are rising up the corporate ladder. What happens when the next wave—cloud and social computing natives—start impacting business. How is your business likely to evolve?

The core of the discussion (and I unfortunately had to leave a bit before the conclusion) was mostly about usage of different social tools in the business. Below, you can see few twitter messages that were flying around this discussion.

College age perspective on social media for business – LinkedIn is an application with no emotion. Interesting perspective. #COFES2012

— Jim Brown (@jim_techclarity) April 14, 2012

RT @jim_techclarity Led #COFES2012 session on when social comp/cloud-native gen takes over. Avg age in room 103 — Randall S. Newton (@GfxSpeakRSN) April 14, 2012

#COFES2012 when social meets business disc @vuuch points out business twitter is better organized around deliverables / interests

— Marc Lind (@MarcL_) April 14, 2012

“Engineers are not naturally open to sharing & collaboration” – baffled by lack of acceptance of social media in business context #COFES2012 — Christian DE NEEF (@cdn) April 14, 2012

The age of people in the room made a clear reflection in their opinions. In that context, the interesting message was made on twitter about average age of attendees – 103. It is clearly a joke, but what stroke me is a huge difference in response and level of acceptance of social tools among different generations. Boomers and Gen-X are very concerned about security. Gen-Y and later are considering tools like Twitter and Facebook as a natural part of their environment. Below you can see few pictures from this roundtable.

Gen-Z and social software

Social is now at the place where email was 20 years ago. It was a time when email messages were type-written by special assistant. Today, it sounds ridiculous. The same is about social networking and communication tools. The new-generation type – Gen-Z is coming. Navigate to the following link in wikipedia to read more. Here is my favorite passage:

Generation Z is highly connected, as many of this generation have had lifelong use of communications and media technologies such as the World Wide Web, instant messaging,text messaging, MP3 players, smartphone, Tablet Computer technologies, Social networking,[25][26] earning them the nickname “digital natives”.[27] No longer limited to the home computer, access to the Internet is now increasingly carried in their pockets on mobile Internet devices such as mobile phones.

What is my conclusion? In my view, social software is unstoppable. The same was true for all great inventions of the previous century. The most interesting will happen when Gen-Y and later Gen-Z will come to work places. They will bring a new culture and a different way to communicate. Vendors must take a note. The 5-year implementation cycle of enterprise software tradition is going to be dismissed faster than we can think about that. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Picture credit renjith krishnan /

5 Responses to COFES 2012: Social Software and Gen-Z

  1. Dave Ault says:

    Say Oleg, are these the same GEN Z guys that HR people are telling me about that expect to have lots of time each day while getting paid for their personal social media? Last time I looked a company was expected to be profitable and they are avoiding these social media wonders however they can.

    It is todays workplace equivalent of the chain smoker who disappeared all day to smoke while leaving those who did not to pick up the slack.

  2. Dave, I had a chance to work with many “smokers” in the past. Some of them used to be extremely productive and some of them not. What about freedom? It is so easy to check how much person did in every company. Personally, in my field (software development), I can see many people successfully solving technological problems by interaction with peers via social net. I don’t see any problem. This is my opinion. YMMV. Best, Oleg

  3. “Collaboration” is almost a kind of buzz word when it comes as a feature of a PLM solution. But really, people collaborate by whatever means they have. I guess the question is, whether there is a business justification to integrate social media into your workflows; and, if so, what of that data should be captured, categorized, stored, and made retrievable?

  4. Duane, Agree completely. Let’s split “social and collaboration” buzz into small pieces – business justification, data sharing, etc.Thanks for commenting. Best, Oleg

  5. Friendly says:


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