Why MDM and ITSM need to play nice

Every IT professional knows that bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is here to stay. Analysts at Gartner report that about half of the world's companies will have adopted BYOD programs by 2017. Even heavily regulated industries are opening the door to mobility and allowing employees to choose their device of choice. So what does this mean for IT service management? 

For most organizations this shift will require fundamental changes, especially when it comes to IT services. Even the basic ITSM infrastructure will need to be adjusted to accommodate a new landscape of employee-owned (and even corporate owned) laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

But while these changes are underway, IT is still accountable for delivering on service level agreements and maintaining employee productivity.


Here are the key areas you should consider when it comes to mobility and ITSM:

Mobile Device Management

With so many different form factors on the network, mobile device management (MDM) has become a mainstay for most organizations, providing IT with the means to secure and manage these devices.

And since endpoint security and management are the responsibility of IT, it’s imperative that your MDM technology integrates with your ITSM solution.

This connectivity will support data flow from the MDM application to the configuration management database (CMDB) within your ITSM environment. Administrators will be able to monitor and provide support to mobile devices using the same ITSM infrastructure across the board for a consolidated view of the business and even perform end point actions. 

Impact to ITSM Processes

For companies with process-based ITSM programs, every step of the lifecycle framework will need to be reassessed with MDM in mind. This includes rethinking service strategy, design, service transition, and operation.

Each ITSM process may need to be adapted to incorporate the unique requirements of MDM. This can include issues such as separate protocols for employee-owned devices, different services added to the service catalog, new update workflows, and mobile-based service offerings.

BYOD Security with ITSM

Many organizations implement BYOD policies because of security concerns with these devices. But the same organizations will often overlook the enhanced security capabilities that can be achieved using their existing ITSM infrastructure.

By developing systems and processes at the service level that mitigate risk, IT can become the champion of preferred devices. This can include adapting service strategies when on-boarding and off-boarding employees as well as decommissioning employee-owned devices.

This may also require revisiting the service catalog to ensure potential issues with existing security measures such as mandatory certificates, passwords, tokens, biometric locks, secure VPN access, and other issues specific to mobile devices are considered.

Where to Begin

Begin with the BYOD policy that your organization has in place. If your company doesn’t have one, then the implementation of a BYOD policy should be your first step before considering anything else.

Use the specific rules within your BYOD policy to define ITSM processes and procedures. For example, if employees are not permitted to access corporate networks with a jailbroken or rooted device, create an ITSM procedure to manage this type of incident when it occurs.

Additional processes can incorporate mobility issues such as password failures (which can require a very different approach on a smartphone versus computer), new employee enrollment, decommissioning mobile devices, and other common requirements. 

Mobility for IT

Don’t overlook the ITSM administrators. Just like every other employee, they want to be empowered to do their work on a device of their choice from the office, onsite or outside regular working hours when a rapid response is required.

Your ITSM solution should be able to provide this capability with HTML 5 browser support, allowing administrators to be productive from a computer, tablet or smartphone device.

The Path Forward

BYOD and employee choice have become a permanent part of the IT infrastructure for most organizations, so your only choice is to be prepared (or be caught unaware).                                                                          

These types of initiatives increase employee productivity while allowing IT to be enablers. Even HR has jumped onto the bandwagon using progressive practices like BYOD to attract and retain the highest quality talent.

With ITSM backing MDM in support of employee choice and productivity, user satisfaction will increase, workflows will flow, and the company will benefit.

Most importantly, when executed and supported correctly, MDM and ITSM can create efficiencies and cost savings that can be directly attributed to IT, converting it from a cost center to a solution center.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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