How to Save IT from Wireless Help Desk Nightmares

By John Shea  |  Posted 2010-09-30

How to Save IT from Wireless Help Desk Nightmares

It isn't surprising that IT professionals are expected to wear different hats for various IT issues and responsibilities. But the truth is, many end up fielding incessant calls to address employees' wireless device and plan complaints or other time-consuming requests. These user requests can easily eat up 70 to 90 percent of an IT professional's workday.

With the explosive growth in mobile devices, and along with it the increased need for support services, the IT team is trying to manage a critical area without specific wireless expertise. Their other assigned job responsibilities are eclipsed by activities such as trying to stay up to speed on the latest mobile devices, platforms and plans. As a result, the IT department operates inefficiently and becomes distracted from larger, strategic company issues. Meanwhile, IT staff frantically tries to keep up with one-off requests.

Outsourcing wireless help desk services is one way to ease the burden on IT. Here are five reasons that this best practice strategy works.

Reason No. 1: The complete package

An outsourced wireless help desk can work in tandem with a wireless expense management (WEM) solution to handle all steps of the corporate mobility life cycle and eliminate piecemeal service for an employee base. This includes offering a self-service wireless portal that addresses employees' needs from their initial device request (making sure their selected phone is approved for their role) to helping them choose a rate plan that aligns with the company's carrier volume discounts. The portal is integrated with the company's WEM solution to ensure that all new data and updates are centrally captured and tracked for reporting.

Wireless help desks also handle ad hoc troubleshooting, resolve repair and warranty issues, and ensure that security measures are taken. For example, they can issue an over-the-air (OTA) remote kill to a device if the device is lost or stolen, and provide integrated Mobile Device Management (MDM) capabilities. Additionally, mobile device recycling with a no-landfill policy is also available for securely wiping devices.

How to Save IT from Wireless Help Desk Nightmares

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Reason No. 2: Ensures high-quality service with low impact on IT

It's hard for the IT team to maintain a positive reputation when it's struggling to fight fires and unable to focus on other priorities. Typical enterprise IT teams are not equipped with the advanced skills needed to address the array of wireless ordering, as well as the mobile device and application issues that typically flood a help desk. Nor can they possibly stay up to speed on the ever-expanding range of devices and mobile applications that continuously hit the market.

Conversely, when wireless help desk is outsourced, IT manages the outsourcer and builds service-level agreements (SLAs) into the contract to generate consistent results, without having to do all the legwork. For example, a large financial services company in the United States successfully secured SLAs that required their outsourced wireless help desk to yield a minimum "four out of five" rating for customer satisfaction results, and required wireless help desk personnel to pick up calls in under 90 seconds at least 85 percent of the time.

These types of measures allow the IT department to focus on revenue-generating and protecting programs rather than burning time troubleshooting to resolve wireless problems-and likely taking a customer satisfaction hit in the process. Instead, managers can redeploy IT staff to complete higher priority projects in their core competency areas.

How to Save IT from Wireless Help Desk Nightmares

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Reason No. 3: Proactively avoids a heart attack bill

Excessive charges from unexpected international usage or unanticipated text usage on devices without text packages can result in a very high wireless invoice-that is, a "heart attack" bill. By using real-time wireless usage management to catch unanticipated wireless behavior the moment it happens, a wireless help desk provider can then take immediate action to curb the activity.

Real-time wireless usage management uses agent software on the mobile device to report usage back to the help desk in a variety of areas, including voice, data, text, roaming, etc. This data is then automatically compared to the company's wireless contracts (and other information) so that action can be taken immediately to curb excessive costs.

For example, if a global company has an employee based in the United States who flies to London on a business trip without an international rate plan and tries to make a call when he arrives, the wireless help desk can receive an alert as soon as the call is initiated. It can then take immediate action to add the international plan or send a message to the employee asking him to refrain from using the device while abroad.

How to Save IT from Wireless Help Desk Nightmares

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Reason No. 4: Offers round-the-clock availability and expertise

An outsourced wireless help desk offers employees 24/7 access to subject matter expertise on the latest mobile devices and plans. It also offers them access to scalable call centers depending on changing support needs, which dramatically eases the burden on a company's IT department. This greatly accommodates global employees who may not be working in the same time zone as the company's internal IT department.

Reason No. 5: Provides seamless device replacement

Wireless help desk providers can offer immediate device replacement when needed, often with overnight delivery if the particular problem isn't resolvable via phone or remote access. This eliminates the need for an IT department to keep a large stash of the latest devices on hand. Plus, they do not have to deal with a high volume of impromptu shipping logistics.

A company's wireless help desk services typically span a broad range of needs that often require specific expertise and time-intensive activities. With internal IT resources already stretched thin on various responsibilities, these additional services can paralyze the entire department.

Organizations that choose to outsource their wireless help desk services can utilize their internal IT department's services for more mission-critical programs that leverage their specific strengths and will, ultimately, bring more value to the organization.

John Shea is Chief Marketing Officer at Rivermine. John brings over 17 years of high technology experience to Rivermine. Prior to Rivermine, John served as vice president of product marketing, management and corporate strategy for Nuance. John joined Nuance during its early stages in 1998 and helped ramp the company from four customers to over 1,000 during his six-year tenure. He was also heavily involved in Nuance's initial public offering, which resulted in a market valuation of over $5 billion.

Earlier in his career, John was a member of the initial Intel Pentium Processor marketing team that helped ramp product shipments from zero to over 10 million units per quarter in two years. He has also held marketing and technical positions at OnLive Technologies and Booz, Allen & Hamilton. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Master's degree in Business Administration and Management from NorthWestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management. He can be reached at

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