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BYOD step 4: use existing knowledge and resources

Mobile technologies have proliferated to the point where it’s impossible for any service desk team to know every detail about every smartphone and tablet, the various operating systems that power them, and the applications that run on them. Not only would it mean an unrealistic investment in training, but also it would take an enormous (or superhuman) team to retain this amount of information.

You already have what you need

Happily, none of this is necessary. The chances are your service desk staff already have the knowledge you need, and are probably supporting one another, and your users, informally.

One of our clients, law firm DLA Piper, introduced BYOD after a hardware refresh made it clear that the lawyers wanted to use their own technology. The firm’s European service manager David Greene says, “The majority of the support teams already use Android and Apple devices, and they are able to guide our people to get the best out of these technologies.”

Keep the service desk relevant

Of course, it’s not just the support team who know about these devices – end-users do as well. In fact, some companies worry that their end-users are already so adept at using mobile devices that when these devices become prevalent in business the users will no longer need support from IT. However, this is unlikely to happen in practice because users, however expert, are focused on the devices and apps themselves, and are always going to need help in connecting their devices securely to corporate systems, for example. David Greene also reports that many staff need help in getting the most out of the newer devices.

A more real concern is that a knowledge gap between the service desk and business users will open up in the future, because users are working with new platforms all day while service desks are still tied to older technologies. Therefore, it’s important to encourage service desk staff to work with those same Apple and Android platforms that the business has, as well as conventional business systems.

Pool your resources

Your support team need expertise in the use of mobile platforms, and their integration into the corporate environment, but they don’t need specific knowledge of every device, environment and app. Taking your IT department and user base as a whole, the chances are that you have knowledge of most technologies somewhere.

The challenge is to make the most of this existing pool of knowledge. You can do this by encouraging the de facto subject matter experts to share their knowledge: for example by providing virtual spaces where everyone in the organization can collaborate and share knowledge.

Gerry Sweeney

Written by Gerry Sweeney

Gerry founded Hornbill in 1995 and has been responsible for the architecture, design, and planning of the products and technologies that form the core of Hornbill's solutions today.