It Infrastructure | Business Technology | It Strategy
Many companies today are grappling with the decision to welcome a BYOD policy into their IT infrastructure. But the decision to embrace the policy is only the first step in your journey to a flexible, adaptable and efficient mobile workforce. After implementing BYOD solutions, you need to adapt your business IT support to sustain this mobile technology.
Quick recap: What is BYOD?
The modern business is a mobile business.
Your employees are spending less and less time chained to their desks and more time on the move: staying in the office one day, working from home another and closing a deal in Taiwan the next. And it’s all possible thanks to mobile technology.
Mobile technology is getting more and more personal.
Mobile business technology is more often being used on employees’ personal smartphones, tablets and laptops. The idea of a company-purchased desktop computer is quickly fading into antiquity.
This is a bring-your-own zone.
To keep their mobile workforce lean and cost-effective, many companies are implementing the BYOD policy: Bring Your Own Device. This way, the business owner isn’t the one buying the new phones, tablets and laptops. The employee purchases their own, all according to their personal preferences, tastes, price limits and functionality demands.
One more quick recap: What are the pros and cons?
- Increased productivity
- Decreased hardware investment
- Decreased support costs
- Data Ownership issues
- Increased security investment
- Decreased support productivity
For explanations of each of these costs and benefits, as well as key challenges and opportunities associated with BYOD, check out our former post on the pros and cons of a personal-device policy for your business IT infrastructure.
So you agree to BYOD… Full-speed ahead?
Not so fast. After deciding that BYOD is the right business technology solution for your mobile workforce, you need to assess your risk factors – the most crucial being your technology support. If you have just one IT expert, or even a small team of IT consultants, the transition to BYOD will be a bumpy ride.
The challenges that BYOD brings to your table.
When you rely solely on an internal IT team, you’re putting a lot on their shoulders.
- They need to know it all.
Your tech team has to be up to speed on a wide range of devices, and a potentially more complex infrastructure. But it’s not enough that they be familiar with every device out there. They must also be able to walk people through troubleshooting and steps to get necessary information. Imagine your help desk being barraged with a mountain of emails and calls when employees try to sync their email to a personal device, or when they’re trying to get network access from their smartphone, tablet or laptop. This is a job that probably requires a bigger and broader team.
- They need to have soft skills.
With the extra help-desk issues that BYOD ushers in, the need for accessible, patient and “people-friendly” IT support escalates. Effective, instructional and pleasant communication must take place so that your employees are using their devices productively. If end users don’t feel supported by IT support, they’re going to resist coming to them with issues. And when a small bug (that could have easily been fixed!) becomes a big-time problem, it’s going to cost your company time and money.
- They can only do so much at once.
Your in-house IT team must know and accept that they’re only able to work on one issue at a time. Remote sessions with a managed IT services company multiplies your support capital. Just think how much time and frustration you’d save if you could work on multiple issues using two or three monitors.
- They’re getting pinged left and right.
With all the modes of communications out there – email, chat, phone, etc. – your users certainly aren’t lacking in ways to reach your support team. A maelstrom of chats, emails and calls disrupts your in-house team and saps their efficiency. Not only that, though: A cascade of communication compromises documentation. Tech support needs to know how to respond to each inquiry, how to document each step up to resolution and which right channel to use. And it’s all got to be consistent and secure.
- They need to know when to say, “No.”
If they’re running low on bandwidth or fuel, your in-house IT support needs to make decisions on what they can and should take on. When they’re drowning in issues, they must be comfortable simply saying, “No.” There should be concrete guidelines in place that dictate when the owner of a personal device should go to the vendor (i.e., cracked iPhone screen) and when they should go to your support team (i.e., corporate software or network connectivity issues). These expectations must also be made clear to the end users.
Even if your IT department feels prepared and confident, many issues are only considered when they crop up. And that’s too late. That’s when you’re left floundering and fumbling – without the deliberative game plan and ancillary resources you need to pick up the pieces and, most importantly, move forward.
Bolster your in-house team with a professional technology support team to strategize your BYOD policy and make your transition to a mobile workforce as smooth and successful as possible.
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