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Trends and opinions for improved IT service management and client management

Posted By: Mareike Fondufe
23 Jul 2014

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) WhitepaperThe last of our four-part blog series on Enterprise Mobility Challenges discusses how you can empower your employees.

The shift toward personal device ownership and the consumer-like nature of mobile platforms lends itself to user self-sufficiency.  This strategy provides users with the tools and information to be able to help themselves, rather than traditional forms of self-service that focus on providing answers to common questions.

Enterprise Mobility end users should be able to provision their own devices; this will help to reduce the number of service requests IT receives. A consolidated application delivery system, such as a mobile AppStore, can provide a “one-stop shop” experience for accessing all business applications, virtual applications, and web applications. Similarly, data can be stored and distributed through a secure share or other centralized repository. All provisioning procedures should include approval and authentication processes to ensure resources are only accessed by authorized personnel.

Sometimes, however, end users will require admin assistance.  Users should be able to easily initiate a service request and provide all details of the incident for support personnel to understand the problem.  Since users have a wide range of technical abilities, it is often not practical for administrators to talk them through a problem resolution (particularly if the device they are having problems with is the smartphone they are talking on).

To simplify this process and enable prompt problem resolution, administrators should have remote access to all supported endpoints, allowing them to see and resolve any issues. In the event a device is damaged beyond repair, all business data on it should be backed up and easily recoverable

For more information about the four biggest Enterprise Mobility challenges and how to resolve them, register for the complete whitepaper

Posted By: Mareike Fondufe
18 Jul 2014

The last two blog posts discussed how to define mobility best practices and policies, and how to support employees on multiple endpoints.  This post, the third in our four-part series, covers how you can maximize your security to reduce your overall risk.

BYOD poses many security risks, but certain steps can be taken to alleviate them.

Inevitably, devices will be lost or stolen. Because of this, it’s important that you have defined your policies for replacement or compensation, as well as your security protocol for protecting stolen data.

One best practice is to ensure that you have the ability to remotely wipe all mobile devices used by employees, ensuring that sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Backup and restore capabilities can also help reduce the risk of lost data, and device location services can help locate a lost device without having to involve IT.

Employee-owned devices may sometimes bypass inbound corporate filters, leaving them vulnerable to malware. Adding security layers to mobile devices can help prevent this, but you should anticipate resistance from your users. As always, be sure to consider legal privacy requirements before instituting security policies for personal devices. 

For more information about the four biggest Enterprise Mobility challenges and how to resolve them, register for the complete whitepaper 

Posted By: Mareike Fondufe
15 Jul 2014

Our last post covered how to resolve the first challenge of Enterprise Mobility: defining best practices and policies for your organization.  Today’s post discusses how to support employees on multiple endpoints.

Once there is a clear understanding of your organizational and security requirements, you need to understand your users – where and how they access corporate information and resources, and what devices they are using to do this.

Today’s enterprise workforce is dependent on multiple devices: according to industry analyst EMA, 87% of all business professionals employ a PC, along with either a smartphone or tablet (or both). [EMA: Supporting Workforce Mobility: Best Practices in Enterprise Mobility Management, October 2013.]

The biggest impact of mobile devices on IT is not the volume of devices, but the style of support that is necessary. BYOD limits the scope of service IT is required to provide, and puts more of the responsibility on the end user. The variety of mobile devices (i.e., iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc.) and the frequency with which they are changed also limits the breadth of platform expertise the IT staff can realistically possess.

Mobile platforms place more control in the hands of the user. If the user owns the device, IT can’t push changes and configurations autonomously;  the end user plays an active role in the process. This means that some updates will be more critical, and thus the mechanisms that enforce compliance will vary.  Policies that define which types or models of devices will be supported and the extent to which IT will provide technical support for these devices must also be covered.

For more information about the four biggest Enterprise Mobility challenges and how to resolve them, register for the complete whitepaper

Posted By: Mareike Fondufe
10 Jul 2014

EMM WhitepaperOver the next few blog posts, we’ll discuss how to take your Enterprise Mobility challenges and turn them into business advantages.  Today’s post focuses on the challenge of defining company-specific best practices and policies for mobility.

Every business is different, and therefore no two mobility strategies will be the same.  To be successful, you must:

  • Understand your organization’s expectations before you tackle mobility and bring-your-own-device (BYOD).
  • Identify your mobile use cases and define specific guidelines and policies based on what’s right for your organization.
  • Determine what information and applications each department needs access to.
  • Outline security procedures important to each business unit.
  • Understand the regulations governing data usage and data access in the countries you operate in.
  • Look into your specific data usage requirements, and any regulatory or compliance requirements.

Once you understand your internal policies and future requirements, you can begin to draft your Enterprise Mobility and BYOD policy framework.  Make sure to coordinate with your legal department to learn the impact of privacy regulations.

For more information about the four biggest Enterprise Mobility challenges and how to resolve them, register for the complete whitepaper

Posted By: Kevin J Smith
07 Jul 2014

When it comes to choosing a cloud versus on-premise IT Service Management (ITSM) solution, is a cloud-based model inherently superior? CIOs and IT managers have been wrestling with this question for some time now. This question can be difficult to answer, because no two organizations are identical, nor are their ITSM requirements. They don’t fit neatly into one or the other deployment model.

If a business unit is leveraging an ITSM solution that is adequately supported by on-premise technical resources capable of customizing and updating ongoing services management requirements, does it make sense to deploy the solution in the cloud? Probably not. But what if that business unit operates remotely out of a branch office that has little to no technical support? Can a case be made for a cloud deployment? Absolutely.

So, what are the key questions you should ask yourself when choosing a cloud versus on-premise ITSM deployment?

questions to ask when choosing a cloud versus on-premises ITSM deployment

To learn more and see our recommended questions check out this page: http://www.frontrange.com/heat/products/cloud-on-premises-deployment

Posted By: Kevin J Smith
26 Jun 2014

Sedgman, an Australian engineering firm in the mining industry, has long been subject to the cyclical nature of commodity prices. The industry has been in a downturn recently, causing Sedgman to reassess spending in every department—including IT.

Sedgman, Australian engineering firm, moves to HEAT IT service management platform

Sedgman found that its ServiceNow IT management platform was providing more functionality than the company could use at a price it could no longer afford. IT manager Andrew Reid turned to FrontRange HEAT, the most affordable, flexible, advanced, and complete solution available. The results were immediate.

“We were already paying less money for the HEAT Service Management platform on the very first day,” said Reid. “The move to the HEAT platform paid for itself within the first year.”

Reid soon found that by replacing antiquated paper processes with easy-to-use forms in FrontRange HEAT, the business was able to save huge amounts of time. “On average, a typical service request in HEAT takes no more than two or three minutes, which is a time savings of about 80 percent from a paper-based service request,” said Reid.

FrontRange HEAT is also empowering Sedgman employees with more services while easing the burden on IT. With HEAT Self-Service and Service Catalog, employees now have Web-based access and control over IT and business services, so they can easily submit new service requests, report service incidents, track progress, and even find information on their own that would normally require a call to the service desk. And they can do it in the way they prefer, whether using the self-service portal, the phone, or email.

Access an infographic or the full case study now to see how FrontRange helped Sedgman change IT and business for the better.

View the infographic >>

Read the case study >>

Posted By: Steve Gardner
12 Jun 2014

World Cup 2014With today marking the start of the 20th edition of the world’s biggest sporting event, it’s interesting to think what kind of effect the tournament could have for businesses. Of course it depends on where in the world you’re located, but there will be plenty of football fans and patriotic supporters keen to keep on top of the action during traditional working hours. It’s fair to say that in the past four years a lot has happened in the world of streaming and viewing habits – can you believe that the Apple iPad had barely just launched when the 2010 World Cup kicked off in South Africa?

Regardless of what kind of strain that streaming the games might have on network performance (and productivity!), big events like the World Cup are inherently likely to result in a drop in headcount as people take time off to watch, or even visit the action if they’re lucky enough. When these events take place during the summer months as they often do, the situation is compounded by the fact that people are already taking holidays.

IT managers could well be worried that a critical drop in headcount in their teams will unavoidably see the time it takes to handle service requests rise, affecting productivity across the entire business and therefore putting their department under the microscope.

The best way to address this is to make sure that employees can self-service as much as possible for routine IT issues like setting up new users, installing software or resetting passwords. If, for example, a new employee starts – to cover for someone travelling to Brazil maybe – it should be as easy as possible for the HR team to set them up solo. This means no calls to the IT department asking them to set up their workstation, the tools should be in place that this can be done in just a few clicks.

By empowering areas of the business to set up their own services and manage appropriate requests without having to rely on IT, unplanned for or unavoidable dips in manpower can have much less of an impact on the running of the organisation than you might initially expect. We can only hope that the players in Brazil don’t have too many productivity issues to contend with!

Posted By: Kevin J Smith
02 May 2014

Total Wine & More is the largest independent retailer of fine wines in the U.S. and operates 100 stores in 15 states. But the fast-growing retailer had a problem, and it had nothing to do with spirits.

Like many businesses, Total Wine & More found that their aging IT helpdesk solution was unable to keep pace with today’s rapidly escalating demands. Staff could input tickets, but those requests were often missing vital information or languished in the wrong queue. Getting meaningful reporting meant Total Wine managers had to export data and manipulate it in Excel. They had a backlog of 500 service tickets, and morale on the desk was low.

Total Wine & More infographic

But in less than 60 days, all of that changed. Total Wine & More turned to FrontRange HEAT Service Management, and soon found themselves with a helpdesk solution built for today’s IT needs.

With FrontRange HEAT Service Management in place, Total Wine & More received 300 fewer service calls in the first quarter of operation. They cut down on misassigned tickets by 90%. And they empowered their users with easy-to-use dashboards and helpful reporting tools.

“Our users love the new HEAT system,” says IT service desk manager Candice Peacock. “Managers love having the information they need in easy-to-use dashboards and reports. Our retail employees can easily see if there is an outage with a key system, such as point-of-sale, and what they should use as a workaround.”

Access an infographic or the full case study now to see how FrontRange helped Total Wine & More change IT and business for the better.

View the infographic >>

Read the case study >>

Posted By: Mareike Fondufe
30 Apr 2014

Recent finding from MarketsandMarkets on BYOD and the Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) market show some exciting statistics. The research predicts the global market for BYOD and EMM to nearly quadruple over the next four years. In fact, North America is expected to be the largest region for market growth and MarketsandMarkets predicts a global compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.6 percent taking the current $72 billion market valuation to $284 billion by 2019.

Managing mobile devices and BYOD

According to the report, “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) & Enterprise Mobility Market,” the global BYOD market is broken into 5 segments: Mobile Device Management, Mobile Application Management, Telecom Expense Management, Content Management and Email Management.

This acceleration of growth is in large part due to the increase in cloud infrastructure adoption, reduced hardware costs, emergence of the mobile workforce, growing smartphone adoption worldwide, across a growing number of industry verticals and regions. Security and compliance are also on the minds of many enterprise decision-makers.

Together, these factors are influencing organizations to adopt a comprehensive EMM strategy.

To learn more, head over to MarketsandMarkets.com to download the study.

Posted By: Anonymous
28 Mar 2014

Roberto Casetta, FrontRangeEmpowering a mobile workforce is essential in any modern enterprise to meet business goals and remain competitive. Mobility increases end user productivity, agility and job satisfaction, resulting in improved business performance. Although workforce mobility is most often associated with the adoption of portable devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets), the topic is actually more applicable to the portability of IT services. The core goal of mobility is to enable users to access business resources – including applications, data and other services (such as email, messaging and databases) – from any device at any location at any time.

Ironically, most end users have already embraced mobility concepts and incorporated them into their regular work experience. In fact, according to research by industry analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA),roughly 58% of mobile device users and 29% of laptop users actually purchased the devices themselves and brought them into their workplace.

No longer content with being chained to an office environment, workers are demanding unprecedented mobile access to business IT resources.  In many cases, IT managers have been caught unprepared to support the influx of new requirements for supporting mobility. Introducing enterprise mobility is therefore primarily a challenge for IT operations to accept changes to its processes that will foster improved workforce productivity.

However, introducing process changes to support mobility is not a trivial matter. IT administrators are already exceptionally busy meeting existing server and desktop support requirements and service level agreements, while meeting security and compliance objectives. Typically, IT administrators spend the bulk of their time on reactionary “firefighting,” often requiring an inordinate amount of out-of-hours support. This leaves little time to implement new procedures for extending support to an additional set of mobile devices and operating systems.

Further resistance to supporting enterprise mobility comes from the fact that IT administrators are used to having complete control of the endpoints they support and are often reluctant to allow end users the freedom to select and use devices without restrictions.

To be effective in supporting workforce mobility, IT administrators must focus on the secure delivery of services, rather than maintaining control over the endpoints. Devices also still need to be managed, but just to ensure they are optimally configured to perform business tasks, rather than fully governed by IT operations. This can be a difficult concept for IT administrators to accept as they must let end users take some or all responsibility for their own devices.

Enterprise mobility management processes shift the role of IT administrators to focus primarily on the secure and reliable delivery of business IT resources in order to empower end users with the flexibility to perform business tasks on any device with which they will be most effective.

Transitioning IT Operations to Support Workforce Mobility

In order for IT administrators to successfully enable enterprise mobility, management processes must be adopted that effectively reduce administrative efforts and costs while enabling broad but secure end user access to business IT resources.  Methods for achieving this can be logically segmented into three key areas.

Consolidate Management Processes and Resources

All user devices used to perform business tasks – including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop – should be monitored and managed from a single unified console.  Begin by discovering configuration and status details on all devices and recording them in a consolidated asset data repository.  This enables a holistic view across the support stack to facilitate a rapid identification of issues and provides administrators with the strategic information necessary to make informed decisions on optimal configurations and proactive improvements.

Business applications, data, and services should also be consolidated onto enterprise servers (rather than distributed on endpoints) and then delivered to remote devices as a services. This creates a single point of management for business resources, greatly simplifying tasks such as patching, updating, and configuring.  By shifting the primary management focus towards securing and delivering IT resources (rather than physical devices) administrators are able to address business-facing challenges while reducing support efforts.  Additionally, delivering business resources as services allows end users to provision them on any device they wish.

Isolate Business Resources from Users’ Personal Resources

To ensure users have the freedom to employ their devices (whether employee or business-owned) in any capacity they choose, only the business resources that are served to the endpoints should be subject to enterprise restrictions.  To enable this, business resources must be isolated from personal applications and data.  The most common processes for achieving this include ‘containerisation’, virtualisation, and application wrapping.  Regardless of which method is employed, the ability to move between business and personal resources should be simple and intuitive to the end users to ensure they remain productive.  In this way IT administrators can enforce business requirements on the isolated resources without impacting or diminishing the users’ ability to perform personal tasks on the devices.

Enable End User Self-Service

End users should have the ability to provision their own devices with little or no interaction with IT operations.  This can be accomplished with a consolidated application delivery system, such as a mobile AppStore, that provides a “one stop shopping” experience for accessing all business applications, including static applications, virtual applications, and web applications.  Similarly, data can be stored and distributed via a secure share or other centralised and commonly accessed repository.  All provisioning procedures should include approval and authentication processes to ensure resources are only accessed by authorised personnel.

In Summary

At the core of enterprise mobility management is the need to enable a secure, user-focused delivery of IT resources and services.  However, this cannot be effectively implemented unless it also includes processes for minimising administrative efforts.  By not trying to “drink the ocean” in supporting everything installed on every device employed by every user, and instead focusing on the secure delivery of business IT resources as a service, administrator time is used more efficiently – the number of user requests are greatly reduced, management complexities are minimised, and the need for out-of-hours support becomes a rare event.  In reducing requirements, administrators are freed up to implement new and enhanced business-facing IT services and transform the delivery of endpoint management services into being proactive, rather than reactive.

 

Article originally appeared in ITSM Review on March 11, 2014

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