Amongst the discussions around Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – users bringing their own devices to work – there is a lot of coverage of the security and licensing issues. One area getting little attention is the support of a wide range of devices.
If an organisation purchases and issues IT equipment it has control over the hardware manufacturer used, the operating system type and version, the installed software, and so on. Once it opens the door to BYOD this control has disappeared.
Support teams trained and experienced in the “standard” equipment will now be exposed to new, and potentially unknown, technology. A wall-to-wall Windows house will get pockets of Linux users and enclaves of Apples. Not to mention to vast range of smart-phones and tablets that seen to be announced on a daily basis, and are often withdrawn just as quickly.
As an aside I have experience of this. For 20 years my employer has given me a Windows laptop to use. So when I get a call from my mother about a problem with her ancient Apple Mac I can offer little help. It’s not that I’ve got anything against Apple’s products; it’s just that I don’t get to use them!
So how do you support this “Tower of Babel”? Well there is some good news – an employee using his or her own equipment is doing so through choice, and they’ve chosen that equipment because they like it. That preference will be based on use and experience of that equipment, so you can assume that they know something about it.
An essential tool to support BYOD is a knowledge base. In this way your disparate communities of users can share tips and solutions on their own equipment. And this information will be available to your support staff as well.
Self service and a good knowledge base are excellent aids to productivity in their own rights; BYOD will make them indispensible.
Follow Alan Jones on Twitter: @AJatRMS
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