University service desks are said to be ahead of the game when it comes to managing "bring your own device" (BYOD) schemes, according to research.
A report from UCISA (University and Colleges Information Systems Association), the Service Desk Institute (SDI) and Cherwell Software, says service desk professionals at UK higher education institutions (UKHEs) "lead" their wider industry peers on the use of social media, support for BYOD, industry best practices, and service desk staff recognition.
The "UKHE Service Desk Benchmarking Report" says the sector faces a number of tough challenges, including high customer expectations, when considering increased tuition fees, funding cutbacks, a student population born at the start of the internet era and the consumerisation of IT.
The report found that 81 percent of service desks provide staff with help when it comes to gaining qualifications, compared to 65 percent of the wider industry.
It was found that 80 percent of UKHE service desk staff will enhance their careers with formal qualifications within the next 12 months. And 70 percent of UKHE service desks have adopted ITIL best practice frameworks compared to 62 percent for the industry.
In addition, 57 percent use Twitter and 27 percent use Facebook to communicate with their end users.
UKHE service desk managers report their top challenges for 2014 include dealing with increasing business demand for services combined with managing customer expectations.
"This sector is a vastly interesting one to study and benchmark," said Peter Tinson, executive director of UCISA. "UK universities continue to face massive funding cuts, but they are also being asked to deliver more so it’s interesting to see how service desks are rising to the challenge and meeting the growing IT demands from their customers."
In regards to BYOD, one of the biggest trends in the service desk space, the HE sector lies way ahead of its counterparts in the wider industry - 42 percent of respondents in SDI’s wider benchmark report support BYOD compared to 92 percent of respondents in the UKHE benchmarking survey.
The biggest BYOD challenges identified by UKHE service desk professionals include managing expectations, determining the extent to which user owned devices will be supported, and data/information security.
The UKHE Service Desk Benchmarking Report was produced following a survey of UK universities and higher education colleges during October and November 2013, which drew 100 responses.