Think of the characteristics that define any generation and Millennials stand out for their use of technology. The first generation to grow up as digital natives – they tend to have an instinctive grasp for how technology works without having to refer to the “manual” (an outdated concept which only exists online anyway!)

Millennials are the NOW generation, scrolling and posting at speed, unaccustomed to waiting for anything. They demand super-fast connections, processing speeds, mobile apps and service now – they certainly won’t be hanging around for you to get back to them 2 days later.

But when it comes to business technology, does being super-competent with smart phones and social media mean you will make a natural user of ERP and does the current look and feel of most ERP systems match the expectations of a millennial workforce?

Here are 5 areas to consider.


Access anywhere

Modern cloud-based ERP is accessed via an internet connection which means digital natives will love cloud native software. These days we all need to work away from the office a lot of the time, so access anywhere is vital. Anyone still using on-premise systems will look like a dinosaur to a millennial workforce – you have been warned!

User friendly interface

Well designed and easy to navigate – millennials have been spoiled by Apple’s enthusiasm for great design and this is now something they look for as standard in their technology. Personalised dashboards, with a choice of colours and day to night modes are plusses.

Simple to set up

An out of the box ERP like SAP Business ByDesign is a great choice for the millennial crowd as the off-the-peg ethos will appeal. Anything that takes many months to set up means you risk losing your audience and frankly tests the patience of all age groups. Look out for even quicker to implement, fast to value modular systems. These are the future and will allow for a world of almost continuous adaptation. No need to wait – which is great for millennials.

Ease of Use

A certain amount of native tech savvy will go a long way along with the “growth mindset” that is taught in schools. After that, with a business system like ERP, some training is going to be required. Millennials like the self-service bite sized chunks approach and vendor companies who supply that do well.

Collaboration Tools

We’ve all been through the pandemic and those who coped best were comfortable working from anywhere, using their favourite collaboration tools. Whether it’s coffee shops and Slack or Teams from your bedroom, everyone from primary school kids to the chief executive knows how to do it now. An ERP which allows you to work together, across departments, avoiding siloed information is a winner.

Real-time Reporting

Most millennials would laugh at the idea that you once had to wait overnight for reports. The fact that the latest data is always available in real time will be a base level expectation for many people today.

The same goes for reporting and analytics. There is now an expectation that you will be able to drill-down into the detail via smart interfaces. Predictive technology still has the wow factor – so dig into technology like SAP Analytics Cloud for some clever predictive analytics!


So much of this stuff is basic common sense and without it, all the ping pong tables in the world won’t make your workforce happy. When you track a deal across all departments or view your customer’s transaction history to serve them better, then everyone benefits. What’s more, with the new generation of bots bringing you easy to set up automation for the most routine and boring admin tasks, you can free your graduates to do more interesting work and give them a chance to use their brains – after all, that’s why you hired them.

N.B. Don’t forget to entertain them in the pub with tales of how companies used to run on entirely on Excel spreadsheets – that should give them a laugh.

As part of the Sapphire Systems group our vision is to be the leading Digital Operations Platform provider – creating digitally-cohesive organisations that accelerate your digital future. We provide a one-stop-shop for IoT and enterprise software integrations that fuels data into any type of ERP system.

In Cloud Solutions has a specialism in the mid-market ERP solution SAP Business ByDesign. Lucy Thorpe is head of content and social media, presenter of the Growth Business podcast and is a former BBC journalist.