Q&A: On the Go

Steve Pike Explores the Intersection of Mobile Technology and Walk-up Services

Steve Pike is director of device and mobility services for CompuCom®, where he develops the company’s mobile support offerings. With a background in telecommunications engineering, his experience and expertise spans mobile technology, cloud computing, software as a service and IT services. #reimagine caught up with Steve to learn how mobile technology dovetails with walk-up services.

1. More organizations are implementing IT walk-up service centers. How has the spread of mobile technology been a factor in this trend?

SP: More end users are using smartphones and tablets to do their jobs. Even in corporate environments where the devices are issued by the company and the types of devices allowed are locked down, it still means a lot of operating systems, hardware platforms and apps.

Traditional service desks weren’t designed to support all these devices, and they maintain an SLA model designed around desktops. Service desks will remain a key part of IT support, but walk-up service centers are better equipped to support devices the end user carries. As more employees use mobile devices, we’ll see more walk-up service centers.

2. What about BYOD? Do walk-up services help in managing personal devices used for work?

SP: End users are trying to figure out how they can use the devices they’re familiar with in their personal lives to access things like corporate email, file shares and SharePoint®. Companies will have less and less control over the device.

Walk-up service centers like our Solution Café® can help manage BYOD. When end users stop in to get help with accessing corporate resources, the techs can show them how to set up their devices with an IT-approved configuration. That enables them to become more productive and use their devices more effectively at work.

3. Are other strategies, such as “company-owned, personally enabled” (COPE) and “choose your own device” (CYOD), replacing BYOD?

SP: We’ll see more COPE and CYOD alongside BYOD. These strategies help organizations provide end users with greater flexibility while limiting the number of devices the organization has to support.

A walk-up service center can be helpful in this regard. Our Solution Café has a Product Zone where end users can try out new equipment. So, in effect, the enterprise can influence end users even in BYOD environments. Would you rather have end users go to a store, choose a device designed for consumer use and then try to connect to the corporate environment? Or would you rather let them come to the Solution Café and learn about a similar device that’s more enterprise-worthy?

4. What are some ways walk-up services can help employees use mobile technology more effectively?

SP: End users are increasingly tech-savvy, and they often figure things out on their own. But they might not figure out the most efficient ways of doing things. If you can show them, for example, how to automatically access SharePoint when they log in, instead of going through 10 steps, you’ll make them more efficient. And every time you help them troubleshoot a problem, they gain knowledge that avoids a service request in the future.

5. How do you predict organizations will further leverage mobile technology in the next few years, and what role will walk-up services play?

SP: Organizations will use tablets less as multipurpose devices and more as task-specific devices. So they might use a tablet only as a point-of-sale terminal, or only as an inventory device. That makes sense, because tablets were designed as a consumer device. With a laptop, you can create personas so that if I log on with my credentials, I get my environment, and if you log onto the same laptop with your credentials, you get your environment. That’s harder to do with a tablet.

In terms of walk-up service centers, we’ll see a lot more traffic. One thing we’re noticing is that a single service request tends to morph into multiple requests. So an end user comes in because her laptop keyboard is sticking. And while there, she says, “I have a connectivity problem with my smartphone. Can you help with that, too?” That doesn’t tend to happen in a service desk environment.

That might sound inefficient. But we’ve found the exact opposite to be the case, because end users are getting more problems addressed more quickly, so they’re more productive. And the walk-up center itself is more productive. For the Solution Cafés we’ve implemented, metrics show that we’re closing up to 15 to 20 tickets a day in the walk-up service center, compared with five to seven tickets through the service desk.

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