Mobile Devices: The New Support Frontier for IT
A guided support model meets employee expectations and increases IT effectiveness
Recent years have brought a huge shift in the workplace around mobility. Smartphones and tablets are now essential work tools for employees in many types of organizations and many lines of work. But where do these employees turn when they need help with an app or setting, especially if they use their personal device for work purposes?
Expectations are growing among employees, and IT leaders should realize they need to provide robust tech support for both corporate-owned and personal mobile devices used under a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. However, a recent IDG survey of IT leaders found that most recognize they are not fully equipped or prepared to support mobile devices.
Although 84% of survey respondents believe their company’s current support for mobile device users is sufficient, nearly all (87%) believe they need more support technologies, tools, and staffing. In a word, this expansion is necessary to keep up with the growing importance of mobility for business activity.
How the Business Benefits from Mobile Device Support
In the same vein, providing new or expanded technical support for mobile devices, especially employees’ personal devices, is table stakes. But there’s good news: companies can realize several business benefits by adding mobility support capabilities to current help-desk services. Benefits include:
- Increase employee satisfaction. When employees can use their mobile devices to work productively—and with the confidence that timely and knowledgeable support is available when they need it—their satisfaction and loyalty to the company increases.
- Solve problems quickly. The ability to share the screen display and push configurations and settings on a mobile device reduces troubleshooting time, increases the rate of first-call resolution, and minimizes downtime for employees.
- Help users everywhere. Remote access to a mobile device means telecommuters, in-the-field workers, and mobile employees won’t have to go into an office or service center, or ship their device, to get help.
- Manage staff expansion. The efficiencies gained from a guided support model can reduce the need to increase IT sta levels to support employee mobility. In addition, faster resolution of mobile device problems can free time for skilled technicians to work on higher-impact projects.
- Prepare for the future. A dedicated system for mobile device support helps IT adapt to the changes that come with new operating systems, apps, and hardware as well as new use cases for employee mobility.
New choices for mobility support will also deliver higher business value if they reflect the experience and perspective of today’s employees. The User’s Perspective A critical element in employee job satisfaction is the quality and ease of accessing IT support for all technologies that employees need to do their work. IT recognizes this expectation, as indicated by 86% of IDG survey
Employees not only expect IT to support their mobile device, but they also expect a support experience similar to what they receive for their consumer technology. These expectations start with 24/7 availability of support resources—ranging from self-service documentation to live support—something which only 27% of surveyed companies are providing directly. The remaining companies are either outsourcing after-hours live support to a service provider or are offering only on-site services for mobile devices.
Employees are also accustomed to receiving a choice of support options, including self-help documents and troubleshooting as well as live assistance from a support technician by phone, online chat, and remote access. These employee expectations are understandable, but they present challenges for traditional IT support operations, tools, and processes.
Challenges for IT Support Teams
In the IDG survey, respondents identified four top support issues for mobile users:
- Problems with device login to the company network
- Configuring and accessing a
- company email account Incorrect hardware settings
- Difficulty in using work-related mobile application
Yet IT may not have up-to-date tools to deliver support for these issues to all employees, across all devices, in the form they expect. Many companies still offer user support only by phone or email, methods which can slow problem resolution and increase staffing needs.
This may be why 60% of survey respondents believe more staff is the answer to improve mobility support. Also driving this response may be the limitations of their current support tools. “Mobile device support often involves issues that require the ability to talk someone through a series of settings or for the technician to see what the user is experiencing,” says Chris Savio, senior product marketing manager at LogMeIn.
“When technicians have the ability to see and resolve these issues remotely, they can also teach users how to handle the problems themselves, which reduces future support calls.” IT leaders also want better capabilities for remote device diagnostics, 24/7 support availability, mobile chat, and device screen sharing. These capabilities are separate from but complement the features that may be found in a mobile device management (MDM) system used to manage company-owned devices.
Understanding Basic Break-Fix vs. Advanced Guided Support
Mobile device support has often been provided by companies under a rudimentary “break-fix” model: If something about the device isn’t working, bring it in and we’ll fix it. This model was fine when mobile devices were primarily an added convenience for phone calls or occasionally checking emails while on the go. But for today’s employees, mobile devices are a must-have tool for doing significant and regular work through email, messaging, and business apps.
With mobile devices so deeply ingrained in the everyday activity of so many employees, the “old-school” break-fix model is no longer adequate. Instead, the new model of guided support enables companies to deliver a fuller suite of support services, with a better experience for both users and support technicians. However, IDG found that only 37% of companies currently offer guided support with remote support tools.
The guided model is similar to how support is typically provided for personal computers, where a technician can remotely access and change system settings, run applications, and see what appears on the screen in real-time.
For mobility support, the guided model extends this concept with several core capabilities. The company can offer support for any device and operating system that might be in use among employees. This capability is essential for companies that have a BYOD program, where it isn’t feasible to pre-deploy software and settings on employees’ personal devices.
Remote access features allow technician activities such as retrieving diagnostic information, changing device settings, sending files and links to the device, screen sharing for apps, and online chat with the user. These features are available in a dedicated support app that the user downloads to the device. Remote technician access allows for simpler and faster problem resolution than providing written instructions and screenshots in a download document or email exchange.
The guided support model can leverage knowledge gained over time to automate solutions to common problems. For example, the technician can send a ready-to-go setting to the user device with a single click in the support tool.
As with any support model, guided support is enhanced when problem and solution information is collected and monitored in one place, typically a help desk ticketing system. To that end, the mobility support tool should offer out-of-the-box integration capabilities with the company’s ticketing system or an application programming interface (API) for developing a custom integration.
Finally, guided support must be delivered with appropriate security protections in place, especially when accessing and making changes on an employee’s personal device. Encryption protects data while permission-based access manages what a technician can do on the device.
“The demand for mobile device support continues to grow,” says Savio. “The guided support model provides the flexible and speedy platform that IT will need for adapting to new mobile device support challenges.”
The Right Model for the Right Mobility Support
Companies are leveraging mobile devices to increase productivity and facilitate better communication with their employees. However, realizing these benefits means companies must also deliver quality support for all mobile devices used by employees for their work, whether those devices are owned by the company or the employee. The real-time, hands-on guided support model offers a key IT strategy to meet rising employee expectations for mobility without increasing IT staff levels—and while delivering a better support experience for everyone. Contact Musato Technologies to learn more about our innovative IT services.
An article first published by LogMeIn