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BYOD step 6: embrace the opportunity to transform ITSM

Service desk teams are under intense pressure to get BYOD right. If they succeed, the benefits will be far-reaching.

By following the steps I’ve outlined in earlier posts, you can create a collaborative environment that delivers cost-effective support for an expanded range of technologies. Not only will this strengthen the service desk’s position and that of the IT function as a whole: it will also create a whole new model for IT as an implementer of innovative technologies and services, because its technicians will be freed from routine support tasks that users can do for themselves.

Shifting the focus to innovation

Surprisingly few businesses today look to their IT group for technological innovation. Most use it to operate and fix commoditized services that don’t offer any significant value.

That has to change now if IT is to survive. Everyone expects to have a working phone, PC and network connection these days, so IT must deliver value through innovation – just as a gas or electricity supplier now has to provide additional products and services, like energy-saving apps, to differentiate itself from competitors.

What sort of innovation should IT be undertaking? It could be anything that’s needed to enable business change, or make the business work better. The obvious example is supporting new ways of working, such as today’s trend to merge personal and working lives through remote and flexible working. Clearly, this trend depends on successful use of mobile devices, and is closely tied to the BYOD concept. So that’s one more reason to embrace BYOD.

Aligning IT and business – at last

This new model of IT as innovator can create the elusive business/IT alignment which has been a pipe-dream for so many years.

In fact, it would be better if we could stop talking about “IT” and “business” as two separate elements. These are not two trains running on different lines and occasionally stopping side by side for the passengers to have a chat. In reality, we’re all on the same train. And once it’s recognized that the primary function of IT is to innovate, then IT can be seen as the engine of the train.

An opportunity to grab now

Service desk teams need to move fast to show that they are willing and able to deliver the IT services the business needs to work in new and more effective ways, otherwise users will quickly see them as irrelevant. A number of strategies can help here:

•    Improve customer service – make sure you’re seen as friendly and approachable, something that has not always been the case for service desk teams, or IT generally.
•    Use collaboration, self-service and automation to free your technicians to deliver business-relevant services, not routine support.
•    Also consider offloading support tasks to device and software vendors.
•    Raise the profile of the service desk – those who work there should know that they have a central and valued role in the business.
•    Encourage users to choose the devices they prefer, and help them to get the best out of them.
•    Listen to users to find out what they really want from IT – and then change what you offer accordingly.

BYOD may look like a threat to the service desk and to IT, but, if approached the right way, it’s an opportunity to transform our role and image for the better. We can move away from the less interesting parts of our jobs, and instead put the effort into becoming a proactive, value-creating part of the business.

That way, senior management and the user community will come to accept that we really are all on the same train – and that the train depends on us to get it to its destination on time.


Gerry Sweeney

Written by Gerry Sweeney

Our CEO, Gerry Sweeney, founded Hornbill in 1995 and launched our very first product Supportworks, a Helpdesk tool used by IT teams. Gerry is an industry beacon for innovation, ensuring the Hornbill platform has the fastest release cycles to deliver the market with the latest in workflow automation, service management and collaboration.