When planning a move to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), it’s
natural to think that the influx of new devices into an enterprise could overwhelm
the IT help desk. Involving the user
community more in device provisioning and support can free up IT staff for more
mission critical tasks. It also gives the organization and device owners a
mutual stake in the success of the BYOD program.
I’ve been following the concept of BYOD user self-provisioning
and support for some time now. The current state of mobile and security
technologies make it possible. However, an IT department needs to have strong
relationships with each segment of their end user community to make BYOD
self-provisioning and support a reality.
When I spoke with David Applebaum, senior vice president of
marketing for Moka5, a leading enterprise
mobility management (EMM) vendor for Avoid using a one-size-fits-all BYOD security policy, I had a chance to discuss
BYOD self-provisioning and support with him.
Know your BYOD user community in the office
“This is where we really go back to horses for horses,” says
Applebaum. “You have folks like admins, the less technologically sophisticated
folks. ”It’s the less technologically
savvy user that seems to get left out of so much current BYOD thinking and get
lost on many other product and services roll outs, so I was happy to see how
Applebaum breaks users out for BYOD self provisioning and support.
He says, “They likely aren’t doing a lot of traveling. At
the end of the day, they are probably a lot more deskbound than other people in
“Secondly, they are also doing some consistent and common
activities on a daily basis,” Applebaum says. “There’s probably not a lot of
variance in their day. They are using word processing, the accounting programs.
There is not what I would call a lot of discretionary computing.”
Because of the way these users work, Applebaum recommends a
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to support their BYOD devices. These users
work within a known workflow and parameters using a specific number of
“By and large from their own perspective they are probably
aren’t the ones who will be bringing in their new tablets to try to do work on,”
Applebaum states. “They are probably strictly going to use them at home for
personal entertainment and things of that nature.”
Meet the middle management and knowledge workers
It’s when you support middle management and knowledge
workers with BYOD devices when your IT staff might have to start doing more
outreach to the user community.
“It’s the folks I would term more middle management where
you’ve got folks who are in slightly more knowledge worker related roles,” says
Applebaum. “ They have some authority within an organization and think they are
more technical than they are.”
We all know the users that Applebaum describes here. He puts
it aptly, “They are going to come in, have their tablet, and say, ‘hey isn’t
They are the users who have enough knowledge to do a little
bit of damage and tax your limited IT help desk resources unnecessarily.
“They are going to do it, just to do it,” Applebaum advises.
“That’s where you got to get into a scenario where you have to say, ‘We aren’t
going to support you on this if you get into trouble. It’s going to be on your
Eventually, these users may get frustrated and drop out of
your BYOD program if they exceed the support boundaries you place on them.
Give the technically savvy what they need (and make friends with
“And, then for the folks who are technically savvy, give
them what they need,” advises Applebaum. “This is where you download it,
they are probably already involved in chat groups and other kinds of
things for solving technical problems. I know from my personal experience, a
lot of very technically savvy folks just cant wait for IT. Look at how long it
takes a typical IT department to answer a trouble ticket.”
I would also add that technically savvy users are much-needed
allies for a BYOD initiative regardless of how responsive your IT department is
to trouble tickets. These people talk up their latest device and new apps with
their co-workers. Often times, they also have the trust of their co-workers
making it easier for some users to ask them questions before even thinking
about contacting the help desks. Make friends with the technically savvy for
the good of your BYOD program.
Applebaum’s recommendations for BYOD self-provisioning and
support aren’t out of bounds for many organizations if it is part of BYOD
planning from day one. While I advocate BYOD self provisioning and support
because it makes both the device owner and their organization on the hook for
their BYOD initiative’s success, it also makes plain economic sense in these
times because it can lighten the IT department’s support load over employees’
Download Tech Pro Research’s BYOD policy to use as a template for your organization’s BYOD guidelines. Tech Pro Research is TechRepublic’s premium content sister site.