Amid the clamor of "bring your own device" (BYOD), a question lurks in the background: "What happens to technical service and support?" Concerns for the tech support function encompass the extremes, from agents being overwhelmed with calls, to their becoming inhabitants of a help desk ghost town.
On the one hand, it’s easy to imagine a flood of calls as employees attempt to access wireless networks or synch their e-mail, especially in companies that permit the use of any device type. At the same time, as more people own smartphones, they are increasingly accustomed to resolving issues independently, through online forums, communities and other means of self-support.
By 2016, says Gartner analyst Jarod Greene, help desks will see a 25% to 30% drop in user-initiated call volume, as BYOD drives a companion trend of BYOS, or “bring your own support.”
So far, with more companies embracing BYOD, no clear answer has emerged. According to an iPass/MobileIron study, 81% of companies now allow personal devices to be used in the office, and 54% have formalized BYOD policies.
What is increasingly clear, however, is that demand for tech support is still strong. In Computerworld’s 2014 Forecast survey, help desk/technical support was No. 2 on the list of in-demand skills, with 37% of respondents planning to hire for this skill.