BYOD Service Desk?

This week, thanks to my friend and technical reviewer, Efraim Moscovitch, I listened in on a webinar on service desk software designed to support Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) devices such as tablets, smartphones, and personal laptops. I was struck by how little has changed in the service desk realm in the last twenty years. When the ITIL books came out in the 90s, the big things in service desk design were support processes and integration with infrastructure management tools. In those days, we scrambled to support ITIL incident and problem management processes and to integrate with network management tools like Unicenter and Sun Net Manager. A blink of an eye later, we worried about moving the service desk interface closer to the analysts and users; in other words, browser based clients. Now, to support BYOD, developers are scrambling to support mobile device management tools, incident and problem management processes tailored to BYOD, and service desk apps for mobile devices. The wheel keeps turning.

This state of design and development both disappoints and encourages. It is disappointing because you would think that someone would come up with something really innovative in service desks instead of churning the same old ideas. It is about time.

But it is also encouraging. The innovations of the 90s successfully tamed the wild distributed system environment where mission critical servers sat under the receptionist’s desk and networks were cabled after hours by accountants and sales managers. The chaotic BYOD environment has similarities to the distributed system wilderness; tailoring traditional service desk tools to BYOD promises to be equally successful.

In working on my coming book on service management in the cloud era, I have been thinking a lot about service desk support for BYOD and I have developed some ideas about it. Service desk architects and managers may find them valuable. I hope to write about some of them here.

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