BYOD concerns? It's time to dust off the ITIL service strategy book!

It's time to grab the duster to dust off your ITIL service strategy book
It’s time to grab the duster to dust off your ITIL service strategy book

At this year’s itSMF Australia LEADIT14 Conference I am speaking about what the BYOD revolution means for ITSM evolution. I will be looking at each of the 26 ITIL processes and how they will need to change or adapt in the face of BYOD.

Whether we like it or not, BYOD is here to stay

Recent research by Gartner states that by:

  • 2016, 38% of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers
  • 2017, half of employers will require their employees to provide their own devices
  • 2020, 85% of companies will provide some sort of BYOD program

Despite the challenges that BYOD brings, the proven benefits of BYOD can be recognised with a sound BYOD strategy. Increased productivity, increased staff satisfaction, attraction and retention of talent are some of the benefits that can be realised.

The ITSM processes within the ITIL Service Strategy are pivotal in ensuring that you get your BYOD strategy right.

Start with Strategy Management for IT Services

Is the driver for BYOD within your organisation the result of senior managers wanting to access corporate data on their latest device? Or does it align with the organisational strategy and business drivers such as cost reduction, increased productivity, increased mobility, talent attraction and retention, competitive advantage etc?

How will BYOD enable the organisation to achieve its business outcomes?

Once it has been decided that BYOD is an integral part of the organisational strategy, the strategy for the BYOD service can be defined during the Service Portfolio Management process and documented in the Service Portfolio.

Service Portfolio Management

The Service Portfolio Management approach of ‘define, analyse, approve and charter’ applies to the BYOD service as it does to any other service under consideration as an offering to the organisation.

Questions that need to be asked during ‘Define’ include:

  • Which employees, employee groups or user profiles need access to BYOD?
    Does BYOD extend to consultants, contractors, partners etc?
  • What sort of mobility is required and by which employee groups? Are they home based, office and home, on the road?
  • What types of devices will they want to use?
  • What privileges or permissions do they need?
  • What data will they need access to?
  • What is the risk profile of the data?
  • What applications do they need?
  • When will they need access to resources and which resources?
  • What functionality will they need e.g. initiate web-conferences, run reports on corporate data, access HR systems etc?
  • What integrations will be needed e.g. CRM, ERP etc?
  • What is the best way to engage employees to accommodate modification necessary to their devices for security such as encryption or authentication?
  • How will devices be supported? Do we outsource support? Do we ‘time-box’ support in that support only spends so long trying to resolve an issue and after that the user is on their own? Do we only support commonly used devices?

The list goes on.

Service Portfolio Management will also need to look at what will be contained within the BYOD policy. The trick – and easier than it sounds – is to come up with a common-sense policy that allows employees to use their devices without jeopardising security.

The reason I say this is that recent research of 3,200 employees between the ages of 21 and 32 (the Gen Y demographic) revealed that more than half (51%) of the study’s respondents stated that they would bypass any BYOD policy at work. We have to recognise that these workers were raised to consider access to information a right, not a privilege. They are accustomed to being connected to information – and one another – at all times.

There is not enough space in this article to go into detail about what should be included in a BYOD policy but there is much available on the subject via the Internet.

When the BYOD service has been defined, analysed and approved, it can then be chartered. Service Portfolio Management will need to ensure that the provision of BYOD as a service remains viable and where it is not, consider whether elements of the service can be retired.

Financial Management

You’ll need Financial Management to investigate the cost of providing a BYOD service including the Return on Investment  (ROI) and Return on Value (ROV). Whilst organisations may realise cost savings through reduced hardware purchases and perhaps support costs, there may be increased costs in additional security and administrative systems and infrastructure investment.

Organisations may have to provide equipment allowances such as employee interest-free loans for new devices, stipends etc. and allowances for applications purchased for work-related purposes. These additional costs need to be weighed up against the inherent purchase and support cost savings of BYOD along with the ROV of employee engagement, retention, satisfaction, and productivity.

Financial Management needs to consider aspects such as – who pays for the device usage? If an organisation only wants to recompense for work related calls and data, this could put a large burden on the financial team who will have to validate all claims. This poses a challenge to forecast and manage cash flow.

Business Relationship Management (BRM)

BRM is crucial in the establishment of a BYOD service and determination of the business need behind why people want to use specific devices. Is it just a new fad or is there a real business driver? BRM should work with the business to look for business efficiencies and technology advances that can make jobs easier or provide benefit to the organisation.

Demand Management

This will be pivotal in determining the demand for the service? Where and when will the demand come from?

At itSMF Australia 

So that is just a taster of how the Service Strategy processes will need to operate to support BYOD. If you want to hear how all the other ITSM processes will have to adapt for BYOD, come and hear my presentation at LEADIT14. We haven’t even touched on Information Security yet!! You can find out everything you need to know about the conference here.

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Review: Absolute Software for Integrations

This independent review is part of our Integrations 2013 Group Test.

Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch A restful and subtle interface with an inclusive service management solution that wraps around a comprehensive endpoint management solution.
  •  They offer a comprehensive set of connectors out of the box to a number of sources
  • An element of true CMDB federation exists by way of their mapping in real time with wizard driven interfaces
Weaknesses Like many vendors they are beginning to explore new areas of innovation – take-up can be slow within the customer base. They are finding a similar dilemma for other vendors in that it takes one enterprising organisation to start embracing an element for it to fly.
Primary Market Focus Based on the information provided, Absolute Software typically sell to medium-large organizations.They are classified for this review as:Specialised Service Management Suite – Offering ITIL processes and proprietary discovery tooling and Data Integration Points

Commercial Summary

Vendor Absolute Software
Product Absolute Service
Version reviewed 8.0
Date of version release September 10, 2013
Year founded 1993
Customers ~1,200
Pricing Structure Pricing is based on the number of technicians
Competitive Differentiators
  1. They offer a number of integrated functions within the tool including Remote Control and Chat functions
  2. They have focussed a lot of attention on a comprehensive Mobile Device Management strategy across Android and iOS
  3. They recognise that everyone has tools and to avoid “swivel-chair management” – they provide connectors to any third party data source.

 Independent Review

Absolute SoftwareAbsolute come from a mature security endpoint management point of view and so for a company that made all its money through licencing, they have gained an ITSM partner, via acquisition and now have 10 ITIL 11 processes to their name and they use ITIL terminology on their Tabs.

The majority of their revenue is focussed on licencing, and the focus on the product is for ease of deployment and not as much reliance on selling the supporting services.

It is a refined looking interface with a subtle use of colours to make records standout and they provide a lot of integration out of the box – their ethos is very much focussed on getting the job done.

Their background is recovery, compliance and security and their coverage to manage endpoints covers all bases.

They partnered with and acquired the Livetime service management solution but in addition they developed their mobile device management.

As such they do offer the full package on a smaller scale than some of the big hitters and they offer everything you would expect.

Even though they have heavily integrated their own product suites into their service management solution, they recognise that they are competing in markets where a vast array of tools exist.

They offer the ability to connect to any third party data source, and focus on allowing that data to be manipulated, mapped and managed within Absolute. They offer possibly the truest federation of data in a CMDB and recommend using their wizard driven interface to manage the incoming data.

There is something to be said for the restful design of their service management interface. Somehow the subtle colour coding works effectively when compared to perhaps more vibrant displays.

Integration and specific recognised criteria

Absolute Service comes with the ability to integrate into many different systems using their proprietary Asset Management Integration Engine – this allows for real time transformation and mapping of the data.

They supply integration with all third party authentication and authorisation systems. LDAP/AD integration is built in to the product along with integration to single sing-on products.

They provide both inbound and outbound web-services including to their applications on the Android and iOS platforms.

Security Controls

Security controls are through role based authentication and privileges on the user record within the application.

Pre-Deployment Integration

Their administration system allows for out of the box connections for a great many systems to pull in the initial information – everything is controlled by switches and there is no coding required. It is all interface driven.

Their first step would be to connect to the LDAP directory, to map properties across. They do have the capability to take in CSV bulk-uploads but they recommend the wizard-driven mapping process.

Asset and Configuration Information

Their Asset Management Integration Engine connects to any third party source, extracts the information and maps it directly into the CMDB.

As they deal with multiple sources, the data builds in the CMDB to provide a true sense of data federation, and new mapping fields can be created on the fly.

Absolute also have their own discovery tools to find any device attached to an IP address across servers, workstations and mobile devices.

The information is visible in real time

Support Services Integration

  • Remote Control

Absolute Service has Remote Control capability embedded into the solution and is selectable from the endpoint record.

  • Major Incidents

They allow customers to have access to RSS feeds, which can be built into any view – whilst there might not be much take up for single instance customers, but is a useful feature where Managed Service Providers are working with multiple Absolute versions

  • Support Chats/Social Media

As with Remote Control, Chat is directly embedded into the application and users can authenticate against established social media applications such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Resource Management Integration

As part of their mobile device management, Absolute can link to a location to allocate work to a local technician.

Within the Change Management application, a scheduling system shows a holistic view, including where people are on leave, and more importantly the workload of targeted individuals.

Additional Areas of Integration

  • Escalation to third parties

Their use of web services is a good example of where incidents can be written to a third party system (for example, where a service has been outsourced to an MSP).

  • Mobile Device Management

Often BYOD is not managed in a unified way and now with a potential mix of iOS and Android devices, they provide management through homogeneous profiles, which is then implemented within their service management solution, so that pulls of profiles can be device initiated.

  • Event Management

Where Absolute have installed their own software, they can monitor and manage devices in real time, and can use web services to also connect.

Absolute Service Customers

From the Absolute Service Brochure

  • An IT Service Management solution that combines people, process, information and technology so that IT services can align with the needs of the business.
  • With a data-driven view of the overall business, IT can assess the potential business impact of each service request.
  • Easily integrates with existing enterprise infrastructure for Asset Management, Authentication and Single Sign-On, Calendaring and Messaging

In Their Own Words:

With a data-driven view of the overall business, IT can assess the potential business impact of each service request. This is important since a simple hardware failure can have serious productivity and profitability implications to other parts of the business. With Absolute Service, IT has the necessary insight to respond appropriately.

With Absolute Service, IT is able to:

  • Satisfy service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Intuitively group and resolve multiple requests with a single solution
  • Identify and avoid costly business interruptions
  • Migrate to the latest version with a single click

With Absolute Service, organizations are able to:

  • Save over 80% by configuring the solution
  • Pay once, not forever
  • Avoid costly long term consulting expenses
  • Save development time and better reallocate resources

The intelligence of Absolute Service relies on the underlying CMDB. The CMDB federates data from multiple data sources already in place within the organization, including:

  • Most IT asset management systems such as Absolute Manage
  • Directory servers such as Open LDAP, Active Directory, Open Directory, and others
  • Single sign on and identity management services

Analyze the potential impact of each service request to pre-empt interruptions to productivity and profitability by focusing on those service requests that could be impactful to other areas of the business. Absolute Service provides IT with the intelligence they need to analyze the potential impact of each service request.


Further Information

This independent review is part of our Integrations 2013 Group Test.

Majority Of Service Desks Not Supporting BYOD

Dell KACE claim the majority of service desks can't or don't want to support BYOD

Dell KACE has released a survey this month which claims that “a majority” of IT support team help service desks are unwilling to support employees who want to bring their own device (BYOD) to work.

This UK-based survey suggests that as many as 56 per cent of IT professionals believe their IT service desk is ill-equipped to deal with user-owned tablets entering the network.

Why the #FAIL here?

Dell KACE says that this is either because they:

  • can’t or
  • don’t want to support them

But is there much value in analysis of this kind with “loaded” questions to a mere 149 survey respondents?

Some 27  per cent of the survey respondents said that while their service desk can support traditional devices, they cannot support tablets. Furthermore, 18 per cent said their helpdesk can’t easily support any user-owned devices and 11 per cent said they don’t want to support any new devices.

“I find it worrying that organisations have a ‘can’t or won’t’ approach to BYOD, this growing trend across organisations places additional pressure on IT to provide support,” said Seann Gardiner, sales director, at EMEA Dell KACE.

“It is critical that IT is able to easily manage the practice of more devices coming inside the enterprise from outside the organisation. An effective BYOD strategy supports employees. It can increase individual employee’s productivity, which can have a positive effect on an organisation’s performance. Companies should be looking closely at how they manage employees’ BYOD attempts, in order to boost their organisation’s overall productivity.”

On the subject of whether their service desk is integrated with the rest of their systems management tools, 20 per cent of IT professionals said their companies have still not integrated their systems and a lot of other tasks are carried out manually. The research also reveals that more than a third (36 per cent) of IT professionals say IT problems are tracked using spreadsheets and emails, or a ‘home-grown’ system.

  • Some 52 per cent believe the service desk is seen as ‘the face of IT to the business – so our service levels matter’.
  • A further 20 per cent said it was not seen as a strategic part of IT and 17 per cent said ‘users only see us when they have an IT problem’.

Gardiner said, “Service desks need to be more integrated with other system management tools in order to have a strong overview of all their IT. Manual tracking of IT issues using spreadsheets and emails introduces a big cost overhead as well as taking a lot of time. If you can’t see all IT problems, you can’t fix them. To help organisations perform well, IT must automate systems management tasks which will save time and money. Integration is absolutely key in an environment where the application and device landscape is diversifying”.

Our survey said…

The firm confirms that participants here included front-line IT professionals, IT managers, IT executives and others – all taken from what is claimed to be a “wide range” of company sizes and industry verticals in the UK.

Does Dell KACE have an agenda to push here? Perhaps so, but not to the degree that the firm is trying to also plug a product as its system-management solutions and family of appliances are designed to work at a higher level in most senses. That being the case, we may well have more BYOD dangers on the road ahead than we even realise as of now.