Bring Your Own help desk

Posted on: November 2, 2012 by Jan Krans

When I joined Atos, light years ago, I was very pleased with my new job, but had some mixed feelings about the provided hardware and related operating system. I have worked with Macs forever as from the last years of university and, in fact, in all my jobs. The all-time high for me was in my role as an ICT manager, responsible for a complete Mac environment, from desk tops to servers, 1997.

So it was a matter of days before I decided to bring my own Laptop to the Atos environment and from then everything worked fine, although I was bit disconnected. Ok, I did manage to get internet working and thereby access to email was arranged through a web client, but printing, network shares and native applications where unknown territory for me. So then, with some horror, the black tank was booted and I could perform the necessary actions in for me an alien zone, uploading my documents to the central systems, downloading what I needed, do some printing etc.

I have to admit over the years I got integrated, because I was working on a one man island for too long and decided to use my PC laptop more often and got used to it. Until serious PC problems where hassling me from time to time, most of the time colleagues or the help desk provided the right solutions. But one thing was sure some precious time got wasted and irritation was growing in time. To be fair, sometimes I was more nervous whether my laptop would perform well during presentations than about the presentation itself. So the day I saw a colleague working with a non-windows machine when walking the office, I got excited and started a conversation. This techy guy had everything working. He was fully connected with his own laptop of choice and offered me to help to get connected with my own device. He did some configuration and I could work again with my preferred laptop.

A few weeks later I had to deliver a presentation for some colleagues of the corporate IT department in the Netherlands and I had a real decision to make: on which laptop to do the presentation? I decided to go for my own device and when I placed my laptop on the conference table, the leader of the pack smiled and said “That’s not an Atos device.” I answered “Everything works, so why shouldn’t I.” His reply was one I didn’t expected “Because we allow you to. We decided to shift security focus from a more device centric to network and data point of view, because in our vision allowing employees to bring their own devices leads to higher employee satisfaction and therefore a higher productivity.” He was so right, I’m feeling very happy working with my own laptop, tablet and phone, which are all more secure than ever before and I have to admit it also effects my productivity in a positive sense.

Our bring your own movement was steadily growing over time and because we didn’t get any formal help desk support, we created our own help desk by making use of community software. All knowledge related to our preferred device was shared within in the community and thereby collected in one central location. So if something wasn’t working, you could search the shared knowledge base and if the solution wasn’t found, just drop a question and one of your peers would certainly share the right solution. In this way, the bring your own community got completely self-supporting; no formal help desk was needed.

The key take away of this post is, if you want to implement bring your own device within your organization, be sure there is a way people can organize themselves in a community. Enabling them to establish their own help desk, which will lead to high quality peer support motivated by the willingness to help and share which is grounded in their freedom to work with the equipment of their choice. Benefits for the organization as a whole can be found in higher employee satisfaction and productivity, less repair costs for devices and savings on help desk support.

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About Jan Krans
Director Enterprise Collaboration, Social Collaboration & Knowledge Sharing and member of the Scientific Community
Jan Krans is Group Director Enterprise Collaboration, Social Collaboration & Knowledge Sharing, a member of the Scientific Community and a Lecturer at The Hague University. Jan is specialized in new ways of working in combination with social business and he likes to surf. Not only the web, but also waves and wind, to get a clear mind and to be connected to nature’s forces. Do you want to be in contact? Just send a tweet to @Vivjan or drop a line at

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