Hornbill Blog

Fear of the BYOD invasion

A study from Hornbill suggests 40% of the working population are already using unauthorized technology for work purposes. Different studies show different results, but the evidence for a BYOD invasion is all around us: tablets and smartphones, predominantly either from Apple or powered by Google’s Android, have become ubiquitous in business.

The speed at which these devices have entered the workspace has presented an IT support challenge, and no one could have expected an expanded, well-defined support facility to emerge overnight. With BYOD evidently here to stay, however, there’s no excuse for ignoring this issue any longer. Nonetheless, surprisingly few organizations have worked out how they’re going to deal with it. The main reason, I believe, is fear.

The real fear is not the one that’s discussed

Service desks most often cite fears over security and data protection as the chief reason why they are reluctant to accept BYOD. But the real fear, I would argue, is that IT, and specifically the service desk, will lose control of IT once users are allowed to choose their own devices and services and make their own arrangements for support.

This fear of losing control is intensified by IT’s history of locking down technology. We’ve spent a long time trying to establish control: for example, we standardized desktops because when everything is the same we can apply a common approach to resolution. Now, however, the mindset that’s needed is the complete opposite of this one.

Business’s expectations of IT are changing

In a sense, there’s good reason for the fears, because people are already increasingly bypassing corporate IT. As an example, I use an iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air, and have sourced my own productivity apps, and use them happily on my own.

The time I’m going to need IT is when I want help with IT usability and productivity issues, or with linking my devices to corporate facilities – or when I need to use technology in innovative ways to support business change. And in many organizations the IT function and service desk would currently struggle to provide that.

Six steps for transformation around BYOD

IT and the service desk can survive, and even benefit from, the BYOD trend, but doing so will require a radical change of mindset. IT management will have to create a proactive, customer-orientated service desk and an IT function that focuses on innovation.

In the following blog posts, I’ll set out six steps that can help you achieve that transformation for your organization:

1.    Acceptance
2.    Stop, look and listen
3.    Define what you support
4.    Use existing knowledge and resources
5.    Self-service and collaboration
6.    Embrace the opportunity to transform ITSM

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