Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
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BYOD: Too Busy Fighting Fires

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If you’ve been following along with my series on BYOD, you know that we kicked things off with my opinion that BYOD is just a fad, but that mobile device support is the future for IT in organizations. As I stated in my original blog, I think the correct term should be “Bring Your Work to Your Device” or, if we want to get real fancy, BYW2YD…Or maybe not.

From there we began to explore five different ways to deal with the issues that arise when our employees bring and use their personal devices at work. We are also operating out of the mindset that our employees really do want to do their work and are using their device to increase productivity to accomplish their tasks for the day.

  • The first issue we discussed is what I termed “Same Game, Different Playing Field.” In that blog we addressed the issue of productivity when it comes to BYOD.
  • The second issue we explored is what I termed “Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat it Too.” We discussed the issue of security and how different employees will react based on their need for security.
  • The third issue, as you can see from the heading, is “Too Busy Fighting Fires.”  In short we are talking about mobile device support.

Typically the scenario plays itself out this way:

IT says, “Sure let’s go ahead and incorporate a BYOD policy.” Everybody shows up with their mobile device set up to be used for email VPN, WebEx and just about anything you can imagine. Two days later, or a month, these exact same people are contacting the service desk and saying:

“My email doesn’t work on my phone.”
“I can get my WebEx to launch from my tablet.”
“When I try to connect to the network from my android, it doesn’t connect.”

Now what? Most likely, IT goes ahead supports it. The problem is that they’re doing this for hundreds of employees.

Soon the end of the month comes, or the end of the quarter. The CIO is sitting with the CFO and other C- levels at the meeting, and questions are being asked.

“What are your IT support people doing?”
“Who really needs all these people in IT; it doesn’t look like they’re doing very much…”

Suddenly proof of all those “little fires” IT has been handling doesn’t exist. IT has no way to track support for personal devices that are brought into the work. They are either locked into a category of other or simply not tracked at all.

The bottom line: IT is right back where it started — fighting fires, i.e. being pulled into fixing emergency situations or dealing with an issue but never getting the recognition that they deserve. And why is this? Because your hard work is not being tracked anywhere within your service management solution.

In my opinion that’s just wrong.

What IT needs, and only a few vendors including Cherwell provide, is a way for IT to track mobile devices within the CMDB so that when an end user or employee contacts the service desk, an incident or service request can be logged against that CI/asset. Now, when employees bring their devices to IT to register them or have software installed, IT can quickly register the mobile device within the CMDB. Within the CMDB, there’s a checkbox that says it’s a personal device, killing two birds with one stone. Now the end user is getting the support they need and the CIO can accurately show how much time is being spent providing mobile device support for personal devices, which, from what I hear, is quite a bit.

Any thoughts?