Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
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BYOD: Is a mobile device like a toaster or a PC?

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BYOD: Is a mobile device like a toaster or a PC?What a thought. Personally, I’m a big toast fan — cannot get enough of the stuff — so this headline absolutely grabbed me at last week’s UCISA BYOD event in Birmingham, UK. This event itself is a tremendous testament to the thousands of IT staff at UK universities findings meaningful ways to embrace the risks and opportunities of BYOD. This is the one industry sector that’s way ahead of its peers not only because it needs to be but because it wants to be.I’d like to showcase two presentations from the event that highlight how universities are helping (yes, helping) students use their own devices on-campus.

Nick Skelton and Chris Mayo from the University of Bristol spoke about AskIT, a ‘forum for staff and students to share help and ideas about Mobile IT.’ It allows and encourages students and colleagues to share their experiences to help others and provides a wealth of information on how to use personal devices to access services. You can ask questions, share ideas, report a problem and much more.

But what really grabbed me is the university’s honest statement that although its IT team is comprised of mobile IT specialists, it may not know the ins-and-outs of every mobile device. AskIT encourages users to ask questions of each other — more than likely, someone else will have the same device and will know the answer to your question. AskIT therefore becomes a group knowledge centre where everyone learns from each other, taking some of the burden off IT.

Simon Furber from Brunel University in London spoke about the university’s Connect Portal, which was established in 2004 (2004!) with the aim of putting everything students need in one place. It’s through this portal that students register their personally owned devices to access the Brunel network. Once registered, students and staff can sign-up to services, contact support, identify a fault and access Self Help videos.

What grabbed me about this offering is the IT department’s willingness to engage with students and to offer support via the portal and face-to-face. As they say, they want to guide not prescribe and to add value and help when things go wrong.

I’m sure there are hundreds of examples of similar offerings at universities around the world so share your offering. We’d love to get a discussion going and to facilitate the sharing of best practice. If you’d like more help with BYOD, have a look at the A Guide to BYOD article from ServiceDesk360.

Lastly, and just for the record, I think mobile devices are more like toasters. Has someone created an App for toast?  Yes, someone has!!

This blog comes courtesy of Steve Beavis a senior solutions consultant within Cherwell’s UK team.

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