Finding the right tech support balance for BYOD environments is a challenge for a lot of companies, says Michele Pelino a Forrester principal analyst who specializes in BYOD policies. "As companies evolve their mobile strategy, the big question is: 'What are the implications for the help desk?' "
Some firms avoid some problems by proactively educating employees, through lunch-and-learns, and frequently asked questions on common BYOD problems and how to avoid them. Others establish formal help policies that clearly define the kinds of support employees will—and won't—receive from the IT department for their personal devices.
TDS Telecommunications Corp., a telephone and Internet services company based in Madison, Wisconsin, follows a limited support model, and so far it's working, says Karl Betz, director of infrastructure risk management and security. TDS's BYOD policy allows employees to use personal smartphones for email and calendar tasks. Betz's team will help employees connect to the network, download the apps and set up passwords. But after that, his team is done, he says. "Phone stability falls to the employees."
So far support calls have been minimal, but Betz worries that, as he expands the policy to allow more workplace applications on smart phones and adds laptops, tablets and other devices, support calls—and associated help-desk costs—will rise. "The more we diversify the devices and platforms we allow, the more we nickel-and-dime ourselves to death meeting user needs," he says.