Research from LANDESK announces that almost three quarters (73%) of organisations now have self-sufficient IT-savvy employees, super users, who assist other users in the workplace. However, only half (54%) of organisations are providing their super users with the resources they need to take pressure off the service desk. These super users often solve common problems, helping other employees avoid logging issues formally, thereby allowing the service desk team to focus on more pressing problems such as Shadow IT.
“When given the right control, super users can often provision their own software, hardware or other services, administer software updates and can solve simple problems without needing support,” says Nigel Seddon, Area Director, LANDESK. “With the right privileges and equipment, a modern day super user can quickly help to reduce pressure on the service desk and, more importantly, help peers with IT. Although organisations are recognising that these users exist, many service desks are still only just on the road to empowering them, despite the benefits it could have.”
The research, carried out in conjunction with the Service Desk Institute (SDI) highlights that Shadow IT remains a continuing issue within 40% of organisations. With 41% of organisations also lacking a formal “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy, Shadow IT may simply result from ambiguity in many cases. However, being unable to make the most of corporate IT – because of a lack of assistance from super users, for example – may also cause users to bring their own device into work in order to carry out their job with more familiar and easy-to-use IT.
“It’s well-documented that the launch of iTunes did more to reduce illegal music downloads than any restrictive steps, and BYOD policies and super users may well have the same impact,” continues Seddon. “If users can’t make the most of their own corporate IT and don’t know if they’re forbidden from bringing their own, Shadow IT is a natural outcome. A combination of a well-thought out BYOD policy and IT-savvy employees enabled to help other users can educate, inform and put people back at the heart of the IT agenda, as well as easing the burden on the service desk.”
Although many organisations are still concerned about BYOD, 29% of service desk teams plan to support it in the future, showing that there is an understanding of the need for change. With the number of devices increasing, and Cisco estimating that by 2020 the average user will have 6.58 devices, service desk teams are already becoming more innovative in the way they enable users and approach challenges.
Tessa Troubridge, Managing Director of SDI concludes, “It’s positive that service desks are being more innovative in the way they incorporate users. If an organisation takes the opportunity to offer super users added responsibilities, service desks will have more time to dedicate to planning current and future technologies.”
The research also highlighted that despite the pressures of BYOD and enabling super users, many service desks are making the time to look to the horizon. According to the research, one in five organisations have plans to support future user technologies such as Google glass, smart watches and 3D printing.