Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>

Eric Krapf | May 18, 2015 |


Why Millennials Like Deskphones

Why Millennials Like Deskphones They may love their FaceTime, but there's something to be said for an object representing job stability.

They may love their FaceTime, but there's something to be said for an object representing job stability.

I was chatting with a Polycom executive at Microsoft Ignite earlier this month, and since he was a Polycom executive, we naturally spent some time talking about deskphones. He told me that Polycom had just participated in a very large enterprise rollout of Lync Enterprise Voice -- tens of thousands of seats -- and that more than half of the end users had requested deskphones. Then he made an interesting comment about Millennials.

Millennials, he told me, often want desk phones.


Really? Those FaceTiming, smartphone-loving, no-patience-with-grandpa's- technology-having Millennials want deskphones? Apparently so, this exec told me. The reason? A deskphone means permanence. It's not going anywhere, so hopefully neither are they.

In a similar vein, I was on a panel at Interop Las Vegas with Nemertes Research analyst Irwin Lazar, who pointed out that the Millennials he works with hate the idea of jumping among a proliferation of smartphone apps that all do basically the same thing. Their attitude is: Just give me the application I need to do my job.

I've always been skeptical of all the conventional wisdom about Millennials in the workplace. People who are relatively new on the job want stability, and they want to learn how to do the job right. That has to be even more true of Millennials than previous generations, given the tough job market in which they've struggled to get a foothold.

That doesn't mean they won't use workarounds -- but then again, who doesn't? Do you know many 50-year-old knowledge workers who eschew Google Docs because it's not their company's official office productivity application? I don't. People use Google Docs because it provides an efficient way to share and collaborate on a document.

Likewise, plenty of middle-aged workers hate their phone systems. No one of any age who's used a smartphone can ever really reconcile themselves to the mysteries and contortions of dealing with a PBX-based phone system.

So it's back to the deskphones and the stability they promise. That's a real thing. Does it mean your enterprise should sink 500 bucks a pop into a contraption whose only purpose is making Millennials feel secure? Clearly not, but it's also true that deskphones have always had an intangible, emotional aspect to them.

We're often reminded that phones, when they were the only office communications device, conferred status in proportion to how many buttons they had. And that, too, was a real thing. It wasn't buttons for buttons' sake. A phone with a lot of buttons told anyone who saw it that you were someone who was in demand -- someone who people were clamoring to talk to, someone who people would wait on hold to talk to. Anyone who'd actually keep five or more people on hold at once is not someone I'd want to get to know very well, but the medium was the message.

Furthermore, no one pretends that more contemporary classes of communications devices aren't as much about status as they are about moving sounds from one side of the country to the other. As best I can tell, nobody's existence requires that they buy an Apple Watch -- but a lot of people clearly think they need one.

Not to mention the fact that deskphones really are a more enduring investment than other types of devices. No one ever drops a deskphone, and even if somehow you did, it probably wouldn't break. A deskphone isn't going to accidentally fall into the toilet. And in hoteling environments, multiple people can use the same deskphone. Try offering to share an over-the-ears headset, and people will politely decline. Try offering to share an in-the-ears headset, and see if that person ever gets within 10 feet of you again.

So take this all as yet more evidence that the deskphone isn't dead. It's one of many communications devices that your enterprise users may need.

Follow Eric Krapf and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
Eric Krapf on Google+


August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

June 6, 2018

The two largest strategic vendors-Cisco and Microsoft-have been busy making changes to their enterprise communications roadmaps, incorporating collaboration applications as fundamental components.

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.