IS BYOD the scourge of the service desk, or could it become the saviour? If we look at how service desks have evolved over the years, surely this is just the next logical step?
The reason why BYOD causes such a dilemma for service desks is that for so long, IT has sought to standardise as much as possible, and with good reason. Working with standardised platforms and not having to second guess what hardware and software set up they are dealing with makes implementation easier, reduces cost and risk, and makes it easier for IT support to resolve issues.
Yet more and more people have the latest smartphone, the latest tablet. The need to be connected at all times means that devices are widespread and workers find ways to connect to work environments with their own devices.
So how do we stop BYOD from being a scourge to be quashed and restricted? By accepting that consumerisation is the way forward. The knowledge gap between IT support and users has shortened quite considerably and whilst no-one would reasonably argue that security and data risks are irrelevant, it is time to look beyond blanket restrictive practices of the past and imagine a future where these two elements could co-exist.
People will not stop buying new technology as it comes out (users and IT support staff alike). But above all there has to be an acceptance that the “break/fix” service that used to be the mainstay of IT support has given way to a consumer-first mind-set – just take a look at how service management tools now make interaction with the service desk more intuitive, with self-service portals and collaborative workspaces.
There are ways to provide support beyond the bare bones of IT, by encouraging peer-to-peer support, or publishing knowledge articles to communities. After all, BYOD is a business decision, and if that decision has been made, we should demonstrate acceptance and provide positive indicators that the service desk is looking to make a more meaningful contribution.