Killing the Help Desk Softly - or Blowing It Up
A "bring your own support" movement is sprouting up within BYOD programs as employees become more self-sufficient. Is this a death knell for the IT help desk? One possible savior: an enterprise Genius Bar.
Fri, March 22, 2013
By 2016, we'll see a 25 to 30 percent drop in user-initiated contact volume.
I see a scenario where service desk contact volume goes down over the next three years, and IT groups mistake this as solving complexity. In reality, all of the users are personal cloud-enabled, BYOD-enabled, consumerization-enabled—and IT loses its relevance.
What's driving this decrease in overall volume? How does BYOD fit it?
Part of it is that you're dealing with a tech savvy workforce that can figure things out in a pinch. The Millennial worker is not prone to pick up the phone and call [the help desk] to troubleshoot their issue. The U.S. Department of Labor says that half the workforce will be Millennials by 2015.
(For more on this, check out CIOs Look Ahead: Millennials, Consumer Tech and the Future.)
With BYOD, it's how organizations approached support. They told employees to provide their own support—and users were able to do it. Consider a company down in Georgia that rolled out a BYOD program, told employees it could not support their issues because of the device proliferation, and gave them a SharePoint portal to support themselves.
Over time, the portal grew an iOS group, BlackBerry group and an Android group. No SLAs in place. People governed themselves. It worked out, and a year later the service desk went into the communities, parsed the information, and is now able to support them based on the shared information.
We talk about a bring-your-own-device world, and inside this is a bring-your-own-support world.
So "Bring Your Own Support" trumps the help desk?
A lot of this is off IT's radar. I can't call my service desk if I have a Dropbox issue, because I'm not supposed to have Dropbox. If you look at iPads, I don't call Apple's service desk when I have an issue. The first place I go is to the community, to Apple forums. I'll get feedback from power users.
There's also the comfort level of social collaboration; we do it in our personal lives. You'll get feedback right away and a broader range of perspectives. Social collaboration is persistent, too. That is, an issue addressed two weeks ago is searchable.
Mobile is also a platform for social interaction. If I always have my mobile device on me, then I always have a window into support. I can go on these communities through my mobile device, if my primary device is down.
This scenario is beginning to play out in the enterprise. We're seeing organizations build peer-to-peer support models, whereby users network and connect with each other. If a user has a Salesforce issue, they know all of their colleagues can probably help them out better than the service desk. There's a community built for Salesforce users that can be crowd-sourced to support that volume of queries.