Mandated BYOD by 2017: The end of internal tech support?

BYOD is the buzzword in business IT at the moment, but is there more to it than just easily spouted rhetoric by a few industry influencers?

A study by Gartner would suggest there is. It predicts that 38% of organisations will stop providing mobile devices to employees by 2016 and 50% will mandate a BYOD policy by 2017. That’s a significant enough portion of organisations for IT professionals to stand up and take notice.

So what does this mean for the tech side of businesses? On our ITIL courses, we emphasise the difficulty in managing multiple and diverse platforms from both a support and security perspective, something which BYOD only increases.

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With BYOD getting more and more popular, does this mean that the traditional model of internal IT support and service management will have to be entirely scrapped? Or can it adapt to the challenges it faces with BYOD and continue to be the technical bedrock of any business?

Why BYOD Could Spell the end for Internal IT Support

BYOD throws up all sorts of issues for businesses, and in particular, for the IT crew. In the time of blanket company Blackberry's and uniform Dell PCs, IT support was in the most part, a lot simpler: if you could fix a problem on one machine, you could probably fix it on any of them.

These days, to be able to provide full IT support to an organisation, you’d need to be an expert in Windows, iOS, Android and maybe even Blackberry OS. People like this don’t exactly grow on trees.

That’s not to mention being experienced with a swathe of different brands and devices within these systems as well: knowing how to solve an issue on a Windows 8 PC might not automatically mean you’ll know how to solve an issue on a Windows 8 phone. An HTC One is different to a Samsung Galaxy S4 etc

Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t IT professionals who could easily work their way around most/any device, it’s just that these people will have to be highly skilled. And skills come at a price.

This is really the crux of the issue.

Currently IT support and service workers range from the highly skilled to the semi-unskilled. Often, internal IT Help Desks will have more individuals that lean toward the unskilled side of things with perhaps a manager or two who are more skilled. This means the organisation can justify paying the majority of the team a lower salary, which means less costs for the business.

The more skilled (and diversely skilled) a worker is, the more the company will have to fork out. If BYOD then requires multi-specialists, the costs of hiring will go up.

This is only one of the issues that BYOD throws up. Factor in security and payment/remuneration issues, and BYOD becomes a real headache for employers and workers alike.

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The Solution?

Organisations may have to start looking externally for their support and service solutions. Plenty of companies offer support for various platforms, devices and software and because their sole purpose is to ‘sell’ IT support, they can afford to employ more costly specialists. In fact it’s integral to their business plan.

Another potential avenue is to pay for support for each individual platform, from the platform-makers themselves. Apple offer business support for their iOS for example.

The issue with this is that it can be costly to use brand services and even more costly to use multiple ones.

It may be the case that companies do just have to bite the bullet and pay more to employ more skilled IT staff. While it may prove to be expensive, it won’t be as bad as paying for multiple external support systems and comes with the added perks of being in-house (quicker solutions, greater contextual understanding of the business).

With a solid service strategy and skilled workers, BYOD becomes much easier to deal with. A great way to improve skills and understanding of IT service strategies is to earn an ITIL qualification. Our Foundation Course is the ideal place to start and our Service Strategy and Service Design Training are perfect for learning how to cope with the challenges posed by BYOD, among much else.

Conclusion

So internal IT support may not be dead, but the industry will likely have shape up and get more skilled in the process. BYOD can be manageable but it takes those with plenty of understanding of the intricacies involved in providing comprehensive support to multiple and different devices for it to be accommodated effectively.

For some further reading, it’s worth checking out Gartner who offer some great tips and advice for Help Desks needing to adjust to and manage BYOD.

So really, BYOD isn’t the end for internal IT Support at all. In fact, things are just getting interesting.

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