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article imageQ&A: Developing apps for baby boomers to use Special

By Tim Sandle     Jun 5, 2019 in Technology
There are some 41 million baby boomers in the U.S. workforce, many of whom are grappling with an ever-changing workplace filled with strange, new apps, software and processes. App developers need to take note, says Matt Fairhurst of Skedulo.
While there are a host of how-to articles out there about helping older workers get up to speed with new technology, there are surprisingly few on how to actually develop technology that is more Baby Boomer-friendly. This unbalance puts too much onus onto older employees, according to Matt Fairhurst, the CEO and co-founder of Skedulo (which is a workforce scheduling app).
According to Fairhurst there are some key barriers to adoption when the workforce includes older employees who may not be as tech-savvy as their younger coworkers, as he explains to Digital Journal.
Digital Journal: How important is digital transformation for workplaces?
Matt Fairhurst: Digital transformation is incredibly important for companies that want to use technology to innovate and create new ways of doing business and delivering value to their stakeholders. When looking at the business processes and models of today, companies have to choose whether it's appropriate to deploy technology that will incrementally improve methods that already exist or technology that will fundamentally transform these existing methods and have far deeper impact over a shorter time frame. Not every problem or process requires complete transformation, but the rapid advancement in technology available to organizations today has anchored the need to continually evaluate if digital transformation is the best option.
DJ: Is digital transformation just about the technology?
Fairhurst: No, with digital transformation, you also have to fundamentally consider improvement and change to business process and models. Technology is the catalyst, facilitator and agent of change, but its impact is limited when its deployed simply for technology's sake.
DJ: Are all workforce demographic groups coping with new workplace technology?
Fairhurst: Change management and adoption has to be a fundamental part of how digital transformation is achieved. Accessibility, comfort and familiarity are all parts of ensuring the highest possible rate of adoption among a workforce that’s made up of all different demographics.
DJ: What strategies should employers out in place to help older workers?
Fairhurst: If your company has older workers, you should consider your tech’s accessibility and your workers’ familiarity with the tech. Improved accessibility and familiarity within older generations of workers can help them adopt new technology at speed. Without dedicated focus and planning, it's easy to disregard the usability, trust and accessibility requirements of workers of all ages.
DJ: How about developers, what should they be thinking of when they design business technologies?
Fairhurst: Developers should be thinking about how the new business technologies they are developing works with all the other technologies that are in place and if they are accessible to workers of all ages. As new things are added and removed, it is important to revisit the initial intent for digital transformation and tie it back to the problems being solved, to make new technologies a net positive. And it’s important to ensure that your technology can be used by anyone in the workforce, no matter their age or familiarity with the tech.
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