Companies Turn to Self-Service for Employee Device Support

By Sarah Fister Gale

May. 28, 2013

Portage County in Ravenna, Ohio, launched its first bring-your-own-device pilot program earlier this year, and problems are already cropping up.

“We have situations where end-users go to the wireless service provider to troubleshoot connectivity issues with our network before contacting us,” says Brian Kelley, the county’s chief information officer. The problem is that employees aren’t aware of the network’s unique configuration, which means the solutions they get often don’t work, he says. “Then we find ourselves arguing with the end-user over who is right—us or the service provider.”

Such help-desk challenges have become a costly conundrum for companies rolling out BYOD policies. Information technology leaders want to support employees, but they don’t want to dedicate valuable resources to fixing phones that freeze because of buggy game apps or trying to explain why the company email system won’t work on a laptop that still runs Internet Explorer 1.0.

It’s a dilemma, Kelley says. “The whole point of a BYOD policy is to provide the end-user with the technology they need to do their job, but how can you do that if you don’t support it?”

Sarah Fister Gale is a writer in Chicago.

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