iPads, iPhones Hit Help Desks Hard

Consumer gadgets are on the rise at companies, leading to an increase in help desk support needs. But help desks lack the resources to support the consumerization of IT.

What happens when your iPad goes on the fritz? Take it to an Apple Genius, of course. If it's an iPad used for work, though, you'll probably ring up the help desk first—and this means CIOs better be ready to support consumer products.

There's just one problem: While the help desk is being tasked to do more in the age of consumerization of IT, additional resources are not forthcoming.

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At least this is a key finding in PC Helps survey of nearly 500 IT leaders across healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, education and retail about their pain points of consumer gadgets in the enterprise. More than 65 percent reported no increase in support resources, despite nearly 70 percent experiencing a significant increase in demand for the help desk.

And we're not just talking about company-owned consumer gadgets, either. More than 40 percent of respondents reported that their companies allow employees to bring their own devices. It's an emerging trend called BYOD (bring your own device) that is wrought with IT challenges.

Consumer gadgets can be anything from Apple iPads to Android smartphones to BlackBerry PlayBooks. The overwhelming majority—more than 85 percent—have seen an increase in the use of iPhones and iPads, according to PC Helps.

Slideshow: 15 Ways iPad Goes to Work

So why not defer Apple gadget lovers seeking support to an Apple Store Genius? After all, Apple Stores have a little-known employee, called a business manager, who functions as a resource for business users. Also, some Apple Stores have customer briefing rooms featuring Apple-minded vendors with a business angle, such as Parallels, a desktop virtualization solutions provider.

But CIOs can't expect the CEO and other high-level executives to trot down to the Apple Store whenever their iPads start acting up. Besides, iPads and iPhones are mission-critical devices that require the highest and quickest level of help desk support.

Bottom line: CIOs at companies that allow iOS devices, either company-owned or BYOD, will have to invest in some kind of internal Apple support. Just don't expect an increase in resources to go with it.

Tom Kaneshige covers Apple and Networking for CIO.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Tom at tkaneshige@cio.com

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