It’s Time To Put The Millennial Argument To Bed

April 8 2014 12:00:00 PM Add/Read Comments [3]
Last year my colleague Ray Wang introduced The Five Generations of Digital Workers.  Expanding upon this excellent work, I've just published a new report:
Segmenting Audiences By Digital Proficiency: Using Knowledge and Comfort with Technology as a Framework for Digital Transformation

The proliferation of digital technology is causing businesses to go through one of the largest shifts since the Industrial Revolution. This digital transformation forces organizations to rethink everything about the way they do business - from the way they manufacture products to their sales and marketing strategies, even the way they communicate with employees and customers. Unfortunately, many companies start planning their digital transformation by discussing the needs of the various generations of people that will be affected by this change. While people of different generations may indeed have different wants and needs, age alone should not be the determining factor used in planning these transformation projects. Instead, Constellation recommends using a combination of a person’s knowledge and comfort level with technology, a characteristic referred to as Digital Proficiency. This report looks at five types of digital proficiency and helps guide organizations on how to tailor their digital transformation to each category.

The following chart shows the various categories of relationships of how comfort level and knowledge can be combined with respect to a person's technological savvy.

Using this framework, Constellation outlines five levels of digital proficiency and discusses the various characteristics of each category.

Table of Contents
  • Purpose and Intent
  • Executive Summary
  • Challenging the Myth that Age Affects Technological Savvy
  • “Content” Contains the Information We Create, Consume and Share
  • “People” Represent the Audiences We Interact with
  • “Actions” Are the Tasks that Enable Us to Get Things Done
  • Define Digital Proficiency by Knowledge and Comfort
  • Knowledge Comes from a Combination of Education, Experience and Accessibility
  • Comfort Stems from Beliefs, Desires and Trust
  • The Five Types of Digital Workers Reflects the Future of Digital Segmentation
  • Start By Determining Digital Proficiency
  • Recommendations: Tailor and Customize Experiences Accordingly
  • Scenario 1: Internal Collaboration
  • Scenario 2: Customer Support and Marketing
  • Parallax Points of View

Download the report snapshot here.

  1. Dan Keldsen
    1 | 10/27/2014 12:01:41 AM

    Hi Alan - that's a nice illustration of the continuum, and what it takes to move from quadrant to quadrant. What I started finding in collaboration workshops I was running starting around 2010, was that people could move much more quickly and completely than the long-held myths of "can't teach old dogs new tricks" or "I'm afraid of technology (or social interactions, etc.), and I always will be)." People don't participate in the new (fill in the blank), because people who are NOT early adopters, need guidance, reasons, and absolutely, knowledge and comfort.

    I coined the term Slingshotting as one of the Six Forces of The Gen Z Effect, that suddenly propels large numbers of people straight to the cutting edge. For fans of the Chasm model, it pulls mainstreet and laggards EN MASSE into the fray, and all of a sudden, there is an entirely new norm. For everyone.

    Nice job on #digitalproficiency - very much in alignment with what I've been working on as well.

  2. Bilal Jaffery
    2 | 10/29/2014 2:00:27 PM


    I am in full agreement with this analysis. It's all about the mindsets.