Mobility Service Desk - The Touch Point

POSTED BY : Sr. Director - MS Azure CoE
Thursday, February 5, 2015

How do I access ERP on my iPad?

How do I view Office 2010 presentation on my new Blackberry device?

My Android device does not allow me to set a pattern lock.

I have lost my mobile during my business trip. What should I do now?

In three of the above four hypothetical calls to service desk, the devices are owned by the employees. The growing factor of concern is the under equipped service desk to handle such calls to end users' satisfaction.

Call it Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or Consumerization of IT - the mobility wave has arrived. Mobility is characterized by the ever growing mobile workforce, the growing heterogeneity or the continual fragmentation of device vendors and device operating system, escalated expectations of end users and 'Appification'. And couple this trend with a Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) enabled workspace; mobility is the way of future workforce and workspace.

This inevitability has started to place unprecedented demand on IT and traditional service desk. IT has its work cut out -
· A balancing act of giving freedom and retaining the control to adhere to security and compliance needs and

· Adopt a dual approach, policy driven and technology based, to support a heterogeneous mobile device environment

That brings us to service desk. The pace of technology change is constantly challenging the enterprise service desk. The expectations and the demands of the workforce from their service desk to support their new work environment i.e. virtual and mobile are shooting through the roof. HDI, the leading technical service and support community has recognised this 'phenomenon' and is urging enterprise service desk teams to be prepared to handle the onslaught. The service desk, with its focus firmly set on services, needs answers to the following questions:

· Is there a mobility policy in place - which lists the devices supported, not-supported, SLAs etc?

· Are we adequately skilled to support mobility environment - mobile devices, applications on mobile?

· Are there right operational procedures in place - knowledge base, FAQs, device specific manuals?

· Is the team staffed to right level to handle call volumes?

· Do we have the 'right' tool (Mobile Device Management) to troubleshoot device issues, handle device specific queries and ensure security as demanded in the policy?

There is a pressing need to facilitate answers to the above questions. The need could be met by a specialist service called Mobility Service Desk. A Mobility Service Desk is characterized by

- A team of mobility management specialists

- Over The Air (OTA) capable mobile device management platform to handle heterogeneous devices

- 24*7 support to remote workforce

- Seamless co-existence with an incumbent service desk

Let us pre-empt a few common arguments against Mobility Service Desk

Low mobility user base 

Analysts forecast 70%-75% of global workforce will be enterprise mobile users by 2013. Mobility enables modern workforce to forge a balance between personal and professional lives. Mobility also helps them affect an increase in productivity. The trends portend a staggering increase in mobile workforce.

The device base for support is easily met by current IT and Service Desk

Probably true in a restricted policy situation in which only the corporate sponsored mobile devices are supported. Device populism is forcing its way into corporate. This necessitates a change in policy to accommodate employee owned devices. With this the number of device types to be managed simply multiplies. A leading analyst predicts, as a thumb rule, as the number of device types (e.g. Blackberry, iOS, Windows Mobile) grows beyond two it is a call for a strategic approach to mobile device management. IT has a Hobson's choice - to design an employee friendly inclusive mobility policy.

Low call volumes

To start with the average mobility calls per user are low compared to the traditional desktop or laptop support. This could be true for two reasons Firstly, the current mobility landscape in the enterprise is very homogenous in terms of device versatility e.g. Blackberry only. In few cases, the device specific issues are resolved by carriers with little or no intervention by Service Desk. Secondly, e-mail is the only application mobilized and supported.

A heterogeneous device landscape i.e. smart phones with multiple different OSs and versions and tablets lends a new dimension of complexity. And the end user expectation of "There's an app for that" is driving the growth in number of mobilized line of business as well as enterprise applications. An enterprise app store is already a reality. With this the support issues attain new scale of complexity and place significant demands on Service Desk technicians.

The moot point still is " your service desk Mobility-support ready?" The answer has started to blow in the wind in the form of Mobility Service Desk specialist. A multi-vendor, issue or technology specific service desk environment is an established practice. A Mobility Service Desk provider will let your service desk confidently scream - "Droids. iPhonics. Crackberries. Bring 'em on."

In hindsight, the article should have been titled
- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mobility

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Benil George P J
Sr. Director - MS Azure CoE
Infrastructure Management