Disabled Technology Is Useless Technology

In a new study from HDI and Atlassian, respondents were asked if their current IT service management (ITSM) tool is available on mobile devices. I was surprised at the answers.

Before we get to that, however, let’s consider some background:

  • The iPhone debuted in January 2007, well over 10 years ago (and BlackBerry had been around for years before that)
  • In July 2013, HDI released research called, Support-on-the Go: Using Mobile Devices to Provide End-User Support
  • Several predictions say that by 2020, 70 percent of the US workforce will be mobile

The use of consumer-grade mobile devices within organizations is nothing new or unusual. Most of us are living our lives by getting our information, paying our bills, and doing almost everything else on our smartphones and/or tablets. But there’s apparently a lag in ITSM.

ITSM, tool, mobile

                                                    Source: The State of Today’s IT

The State of Today’s IT study revealed a few surprises:

  • Less than half the respondents report that their tool is available on mobile devices
  • Almost one-third own an ITSM tool that does not have mobile capability
  • Over one-fifth have tools with mobile capability but have not enabled it

Having access to the organization’s ITSM tool on mobile devices is especially valuable for desktop support teams, who are often out and about in the organization and susceptible to so-called buttonhole or drive-by work. If they do encounter spontaneous requests, requests for additional work, or unexpected escalations, technicians do not have to wait until they are at a desk to get the information into the tool or update the ticket as needed.

A much more realistic view of how much work is being done can certainly help managers justify staffing levels, and having all work documented produces far more accurate reports for metrics. Having a mobile interface is also valuable for managers, who can look up ticket status, work accomplished, and the flow of work from wherever they happen to be.

Here are some questions I would ask of those respondents whose organizations haven’t enabled the mobile capability:

  • Was availability on mobile devices something you included in your requirements for the tool?
  • What is the primary reason you do not have this enabled?
  • Budget restrictions
  • Inability to get management support
  • Security concerns
  • Skills to enable it don’t exist on the teams involved
  • It’s simply not needed

Is this just the tip of the iceberg? We’ve all been told that the iceberg we see is only a small portion of the real iceberg, most of which is hidden underwater. Could it be that there are more ITSM tool features that haven’t been enabled? We’re sure there are.

The world’s most powerful computer, when not switched on, is a large paperweight. Technologies that are not enabled are useless.

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