The Business-Technology Weave

Aug 31 2012   2:31PM GMT

Crucial Considerations when Going Mobile, Pt. III – Tech Support

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott

In continuing our series, as companies consider mobile enablements, or an increase to a measure of already existing mobile dependency, there are a wide range of issues that must be addressed.

Recognize that a measure of user-initiated troubleshooting is imperative.  Certainly as concerns formal mobile tools – that is, those owned and issued by the org – users should be capable of performing some measure of maintenance and troubleshooting on their own.  As a backstop, the HelpDesk is available when problems exceed users’ capabilities, and/or when a mobile asset fails completely, and needs replacement by the dispatch of a new device to the field.

However, in the case of BYOD environments with personally-owned devices, users had better be well-versed in the use and troubleshooting of their own tools.  If the modern org is investing significant business processing on users’ own devices, keep in mind that any HelpDesk or other help function can be significantly stretched:  It’s one thing in days past where a HelpDesk and associated tech folks supported a defined, finite, set of technical assets, and was charged and trained by the org in the support of these devices.

It’s quite another thing to expect a HelpDesk to support an explosion of device types – to say nothing of users who acquire a new device without informing anyone; a device which may exceed the org’s capacity to support it via appropriate knowledge.   Therefore, BYOD policy should plainly state that the authorization to utilize personally-owned devices includes the agreement that the user can support their own device, AND knows how to avail themselves of outside tech support from the vendor of their device.  Either that, or a requirement to bring new devices to IT for assessment and approval, with corresponding charge to the HelpDesk to familiarize with the device.  (Be certain, though, that IT-supported help does not violate Terms and Conditions of users’ devices from the manufacturer).

Get these understandings in order now.  Consider the alternative:  It’s one thing for a mobile-user to tell a friend, “Sorry I couldn’t reach you – my new SmartPhone was acting up.”  It’s quite another to say, “Sorry about that late report, boss… my phone was messed up”… or a similar communication to a client.

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