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Even in 2016, some of the most lingering questions about Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) outside of security are around user support. No self-respecting help desk supervisor is going to want to see their numbers get dinged because of one Android flavor or another.

An old client of mine once taught me about call deflection with help desks and call centers. It’s when you put the training, processes,and efforts in to ensure an end user doesn’t have to call the help desk for technical assistance.

Here are some ways to support BYOD users with maximum call deflection:

1. Run as close to an airtight on-boarding process as possible

One way to support BYOD users with maximum call deflection is to run an airtight device and user on-boarding process for your program. While no on-boarding process is going to survive the first wave of devices, you need to put in the staff, tools, and methods to adjust your on-boarding processes.

Some hidden elements of just such an on-boarding process might include:

  • User documentation
  • Automated versus user driven
  • BYOD policy in place and signed off by the users
  • Easy opt-out for employees who don’t want to participate in BYOD

2. Know your limitations

As BYOD keeps chugging through 2016, organizations should now know their limitations are going to be in a better position to support their users. Such limitations might include:

  • In-house technical expertise especially with mobile devices OSes
  • Budget
  • Security, in particular, endpoint management

While on the surface, BYOD may seem like a bolt-on for existing infrastructure when in fact some real technical and budgetary traps are laying in wait for organizations..

Another limitation to keep in mind is what apps your help desk will support. Companies running on Office 365 can be in good shape here managing their limitations but others running on more legacy technology stacks need to make some decisions on what systems will be open to BYOD access. Reasons limiting access include:

  • Licensing costs
  • Additional security software costs
  • User training

3. Know your user community

I’ve written in the past to keep the HR department out of BYOD because I think the IT department needs unfiltered contact with the end users they support. If a user brings in a smartphone or tablet with calling/data plan they pay for, by all means, they need to be given a seat at the table and treated as a full stakeholder in the BYOD effort.

Knowing your BYOD user community best comes with direct relationships with power users and other respected employees that are out there doing the work, not with some arbitrary HR layer put in between the end users and IT staff responsible for supporting mobile devices.

You also need to find users who are vested in BYOD. Users who want it. I have an uncle who had a successful career with a major telecommunications company back in the pre-smartphone days. When cell phones were first becoming affordable to everybody, he was asked to give his cell phone number to his manager. My uncle said No. Among his reasons was that if the company wanted to contact him, they could give him a company-paid cell phone to carry. Trust me, people like him still exist. They’ll never support your BYOD effort without protestations. You aren’t going to get value out of your limited support dollars with this user.

If you have users like my uncle within your organization, you need to be as much of an advocate for them as you are of employees who are all in with BYOD. Otherwise, those users could be a drag on your support team. Do what you need to avoid even the impression of mandatory BYOD.

4. Create user documentation

Using a smartphone or tablet isn’t second nature to everybody including snake people. Supporting BYOD users with maximum call deflection means an upfront investment in user and process documentation. Typical documentation includes:

  • Device setup guide or job aid walking the user through security settings and what the company may have installed on their personal device
  • Documentation that lays out the user responsibilities for device support
  • App documentation

Bottom line

The bottom line for supporting BYOD users with maximum call deflection is to break down the silos between users and IT. Users with a vested interest in going BYOD will always be easier to support then users being dragged into the initiative.

Hi! My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. I’ve worked with clients like NetApp, Dell, and NeuStar to develop technical, training, and thought leadership content. My articles have been published by TechBeacon, Projects@Work, CNET TechRepublic, Network World,,, and others. Follow me on Twitter:@willkelly.

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