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Supporting BYOD: Is It Time for Your Help Desk to Draw the Line?

From the experts | Posted on June 21, 2013 by Mustafa Ebadi

One of the promises of BYOD is that it reduces help desk tickets, which allows IT to spend less time fixing problems and more time driving business value.

However, as more employees bring their own devices to work, IT departments are seeing an increase in tickets. These tickets – which cover everything from device compatibility to security – increase the burden on already overworked support teams.

Does this mean it’s time for your help desk to draw the line when it comes to supporting BYOD?

Before you hang a giant “closed” sign in front of your help department, ask yourself this … why are help desks overwhelmed with BYOD-related tickets in the first place? When you dig deeper into the reasons, it’s because many of them don’t have a solid plan or the right tools in place to support BYOD.

Here are seven tips that have helped us build a strong foundation for BYOD at Softchoice, while minimizing the number of help desk tickets we see.

1. Use virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)

One support option that decreases help desk tickets is VDI. We use VDI extensively at Softchoice, because it allows us to securely connect a variety of devices to our network while controlling updates and patches. If something goes wrong, we easily connect with the device and troubleshoot it.

2. Draw the line with the types of devices and applications you will support

With the huge variety of devices on the market, you won’t be able to support everything. It’s up to you to draw the line and decide what you will and won’t support within your VDI. At Softchoice, we realized that we can’t support every notebook from a hardware perspective, as we have only certain replacement parts available. The essence of BYOD is that users have the freedom to choose their own device, but they must take responsibility if it breaks or needs to be replaced.

In addition to devices, you must also consider which applications you will support. For example, will you support consumer applications such as iTunes or Skype?

3. Put the right security tools in place

To keep your network secure and reduce your help desk tickets, provide updated patches and anti-virus definitions for all your users’ devices. Also consider whether users will work with their own devices or a cloud portal such as Citrix Xen.

4. Get an idea of the extras you will need to make BYOD work

When we launched BYOD at Softchoice, many people brought in MacBook Air laptops. However, the device didn’t have the ports they needed to plug in additional monitors. Had we tested the dual monitors on the VDI client, we would have been aware of the problem in advance. Be sure to test your VDI with all obvious devices to learn if you need to purchase extra accessories, such as cables.

5. Help users help themselves

One way to reduce your help desk tickets is by giving users an FAQ when they sign up for BYOD. The FAQ should include details about the program, as well as technical information that helps them get set up and troubleshoot common problems. Another option is to use a private social network like Yammer to connect users with one another for light support needs. We’ve done this at Softchoice for Mac users, and it’s worked well.

6. Form a BYOD task force

When it comes to BYOD, your stakeholders go beyond IT and the C-suite. That’s why it’s crucial to bring everyone who will be impacted by your BYOD strategy – such as finance, HR, marketing and users – into the planning phases to get their perspectives and buy-in.

7. Get continued feedback from your users

Since IT evolves quickly, it’s critical to survey your users – formally or informally – on an ongoing basis. This will let you know how their BYOD needs are changing and what you must do to better meet these needs. The feedback you get from users is invaluable when it comes to improving your levels of service.

When you put these strategies into place, you’ll decrease the number and severity of your help desk tickets. Many of your tickets will pertain to the VDI as opposed to critical security issues or fixing things that are out of your control. This means that IT will spend less time supporting personal devices and more time driving business value.

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