How an Internet of Things company overcame its BYOD challenges

Silicon Labs aims to power today’s digital lifestyle with energy-friendly, mixed-signal integrated circuits (ICs) for smart home applications, including security systems, smart meters, smart thermostats, appliances and lighting control.

Increasingly, its chips are part of the fast-growing market for smart watches, fitness trackers and other wearables, while its broadcast audio and video ICs have long been used in televisions, set-top boxes, and consumer and automotive radio products.

Founded in 1996, it has revenues of $580 million, and more than 1,000 employees and 10 research and development locations around the world.

>See also: Why the Internet of Things is more than just a smart fridge

Mobility is fundamentally transforming how the company works — not only for salespeople and road warriors, but also for back-office operations like IT support and business administration.

As Silicon Labs adopted a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, more workers wanted to access core business applications from their mobile devices, including service desk applications. As mobile device usage grew, it turned to a mobile-friendly service desk solution, opting for FrontRange ’s HEAT Service Management in the cloud.

“Silicon Labs is moving to a BYOD strategy, so all services must be available from mobile devices,” says Michael Skinner, systems administrator at Silicon Labs. “As part of our BYOD initiative, deploying HEAT Service Management in the cloud was very attractive.”

The solution allows users to submit incidents from any device or computer with a web browser, and analysts in the field can resolve issues without the hassle of getting a VPN connection back to the corporate headquarters.

“When we have an emergency, we get our workflow rolling on a conference call, and one of the first steps is to submit a HEAT Priority 1 ticket,” says Skinner. “It’s pretty painful for someone on the helpdesk to login remotely at 3am. Now, with HEAT Cloud, it’s easy to login to HEAT via a web browser.”

Moving to a cloud-based service desk has enabled Silicon Labs’ IT team to improve the workflow and speed it takes to resolve problems when it matters most, as well as reduce maintenance and administrative overhead. There is no longer a need to buy and maintain servers to support the service-desk application.

The company has particularly found the solution’s voice automation to be helpful in providing around-the-clock support to its global workforce. “One of the reasons we chose HEAT was the integration of the IVR system,” says Skinner. “Our users are accustomed to being able to unlock their accounts through the phone system.”

Skills-based call routing helps IT ensure that service desk calls are handled quickly and efficiently. Integration with the company’s phone system also enables the IT staff to make companywide announcements, such as notifying users of a major outage or service restoration.

Using a mobile-friendly service desk solutions has not only has improved day-to-day IT operations at Silicon Labs, but also enabled greater business agility by improving the company’s overall service management operations, says Skinner. As well as service desk operations, it also uses the solution for its human resources, chip design, facilities and finance departments.

“One of the main values of HEAT is the approval process,” says Skinner. “We have 80 approvers, not all of whom are daily users of the application, but who must interface with the solution via the workflow approval process.

>See also: Making the Internet of Things a business reality

“If anyone wants to request access, such as for a new hire or for an application such as SAP, the manager can approve the request through email or HEAT self-service. It’s a big time saver, and our business users have appreciated it.”

As Silicon Labs’ business service management practices continue to mature, the company will continue to implement release management processes with the solution to ensure that it can deliver new releases and functionality quickly while mitigating the risk of change.

In addition, Silicon Labs plans to advance its configuration management processes, including the use of configuration items, to ensure the smooth introduction of new business services and capabilities.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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