Bring Your Own Device

Why BYOD Is a “Result” for ITSM

Bring your own device (BYOD), or even BYOX appears to be an emerging norm in many organizations. It is a function of multiple factors:

  • An IT savvy workforce (that’s good),
  • The lower cost of computing technology (that’s very good),
  • The emerging ubiquity of WiFi access (also good),
  • The acceptance of cloud services and Apps (still good), and
  • The expectations of people who get great IT service in their non-work environment, and expect the same when they get to their desk (bit of a challenge).

In my own experience, because I carry and use multiple devices, having to adhere to an organization’s IT infrastructure and rules is often much more of a pain than a benefit, and I would suggest that applies to most other users as well.

To use the same devices we have trained ourselves to use, and we are so familiar with that we cannot stop ‘playing’ with them in front of the TV, for our daily work purposes is a ‘no-brainer’. It should also be more productive than the PC and associated enterprise applications. For organizations to say ‘no you must use our equipment’ is akin to asking a left-handed person to scribe with the right.

All Human Resources textbooks talk about working with people’s strengths so why, when it comes to technology, do we not exploit what people already know?

Well there is history here. We have designed our networks, even our buildings, around a person sitting at a desk with a ‘standard’ PC, an electrical socket and 100MPS Ethernet connection. People ‘outside’ this norm have to use VPNs etc. This should theoretically be great for IT service management (ITSM) as everything is defined and controlled. But it isn’t. It divides users (or as I prefer to call them ‘customers’) into those who are ‘on premise’ and those who are ‘remote’, adding a layer of complexity in rolling out new applications, and often causing confusion when an issue arises.

People like their own devices, and will often make strenuous efforts to get them working with an organization’s systems, without any support from the organization itself. If discovered by the organization, this is often castigated, rather than recognized as:

  1. the employee wanting to do a good job for the organization,
  2. an example of someone with skills that could be exploited, and
  3. the identification of an additional device that can be used successfully with the organization’s systems

Organizations need to accept that the ‘genie’ of IT knowledge is ‘out of the bottle’. BYOD and the consumerization of IT means that the customer is now in control.

But from an ITSM perspective, this is not a bad thing:

  • Users experiencing problems with their personal device will make a bigger attempt to resolve their own issues before automatically reaching out to the support team
  • ‘Technology refresh’ should not be as expensive or extensive
  • System design from network to webpage should only need to work to one set of standards

So what is my approach to BYOD? – BIO (bring it on!)

Successful internet businesses such as Google, ASOS and Amazon, have designed their online products to be accessible from the widest range of devices – that doesn’t mean they have let their security slip. Content that needs to be secure, such as payments, is. Publically available information isn’t. I cannot count the number of times that I have found a company’s canteen menu for the day behind one or more firewalls.

BYOD plays to customer’s strengths and enthusiasm, and from an ITSM perspective this is a big bonus.

My 3 suggested tips for approaching BYOD:

  1. Ensure that your infrastructural architectures treat everyone as a ‘remote user’ even if they are in the office
  2. Make support staff aware that not every employee or associate is sitting in front of a black or cream PC with a 100MPS Ethernet connection, may be by letting them (the support staff) use their own device to provide the support they deliver
  3. Encourage the use of particular devices through subsidies – but if you can’t work with Apple iOS or Google Android, please note you will likely be in for major amounts of calls/work

Yes BYOD is a challenge to many organizations with ‘historic’ infrastructure. But it requires working to universal rather than proprietary standards, and isn’t that the nirvana for ITSM?

Image Credit

This blog was originally published on the HDI website.

Posted by Joe the IT Guy

Joe the IT Guy
Joe the IT Guy

Native New Yorker. Loves everything IT-related (and hugs). Passionate blogger and Twitter addict. Oh...and resident IT Guy at SysAid Technologies (almost forgot the day job!).

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