Going with a bring your own device (BYOD) plan is a great way to both meet your enterprise’s growing mobility needs, and to increase employee satisfaction. But a BYOD implementation is not without its challenges. One of those challenges is the issue of support – who’s responsible for what, where, and when?
Central to the BYOD plan is that employees provide their own mobile devices to work in the enterprise environment. You cover some of the costs of them doing so and provide the tools necessary to let them do their job for you on that device. But what happens when somebody needs help with their device?
The beauty of BYOD from IT’s perspective is that you’re offloading some of the cost and complexity of dealing with end users’ mobile devices, freeing up time and resources for you to do something of much higher value. But those benefits can swiftly disappear if, instead, you find your department suddenly having to support every mobile device and operating system out there because of the freedom of choice you’ve provided your end users.
These devices are now vital tools which your users depend on to get their jobs done, so it’s not like you can just shrug off support as a matter between the user and his or her carrier and/or device manufacturer. You’ve got to be able to help when things go wrong, and you’ve got to meet two contrasting demands in so doing – support the wide variety of devices and operating environments that BYOD enables, and not spend the budget and resource savings you realized when going BYOD on supporting your users in their new environment.
This situation can put IT in a familiar but uncomfortable situation – stuck in the middle as end users push from below for greater support and enablement while management pushes from above for reduced service and support costs.
The first consideration is your overall enterprise support policy, which needs to be re-written for BYOD-related concerns. This policy needs to define what platforms and devices will be supported under the BYOD policy and be clear as to what you will support and troubleshoot. Enterprise application performance? That’s your territory. Problems with the carrier your employee has selected? They’ve got to take care of that. E-mail, calendaring and contacts? That’s on you. Device went for the dreaded late-night toilet bowl swim? Sorry, your replacement device is a personal issue.
For many businesses, the best way to deal with the challenge of supporting BYOD, to make sure end users are adequately supported in their newfound BYOD freedom and to make sure IT doesn’t get bogged down in the day-to-day work of supporting them, is to contract help desk support to a third party. Companies like Rogers provide Mobility Help Desk services that can help meet end user expectations and reduce overall costs of support.
Managing support in a BYOD environment isn’t necessarily easy, but with some planning, the right policy, and a little bit of help, there’s no reason why your business can’t meet the objectives that IT, business leaders, and employees have when starting down the road to personal devices in the enterprise.