What is a Service Desk and why is it important to your company?

Have you wondered what a Service Desk is? Are you curious as to how a Help Desk fits into your IT demands? Do you question what the differences are? Do you not know which one will benefit your company the most?

Join our four part series to gain a better understanding of the Service Desk, the Help Desk, and the differences between them:

  • What is a Service Desk and why is it important to your company? (see below)
  • What is a Help Desk and why is it important to your organization?
  • What are the critical differences between a Service Desk and a Help Desk
  • When should you use a Service Desk vs a Help Desk or do you need both?

What is a Service Desk and why is it important to your company?

A Service Desk, understands that information offers companies strategic advantages and it ensures proper mechanisms are in place for the data to be analyzed, produced and distributed seamlessly. The best Service Desks manage information delivery by utilizing Information IT infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices to deliver these services. The Service Desk is the first contact in an organization for any and all IT questions.

According to ITIL, the definition of a Service Desk is – A the single point of contact between users and IT Service Management. Tasks include handling incidents and requests, and providing an interface for other ITIL processes. The primary functions of the Service Desk are incident control, life cycle management of all service requests, and communicating with the customer.

Another definition of Service Desk is a center that provides a Single Point of Contact between a company’s customers, employees and business partners. The Service Desk is designed to optimize services on behalf of the business and oversee IT functions. Thus, a Service Desk does more than making sure IT services are being delivered at that moment, it manages the various lifecycles of software packages used to provide critical information flow by utilizing ITIL best practices.

These best practices enable an IT service provider to ensure end user data is being delivered consistently under many different scenarios. Since the Service Desk is a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) it understands that there are many reasons services can be interrupted. A Service Desk has the means within its hierarchy to monitor and manage each layer of service from beginning to end. These layers are classified by:

Network Operations: The ability to monitor all network devices and connections remotely. A Service Desk manages and monitors incident reports, traffic, performs network reviews, implements backups and manages change on the network. Thus, a Service Desk ensures the infrastructure of the network is optimized to meet the business needs of the enterprise.

Systems Operations: The ability to perform core systems management tasks. Core systems management include performance monitoring, installation of patches, change management, account management and support for specific platforms, Linux, Unix, etc.

Database Operations: The ability to maintain and optimize database tasks. Performance monitoring, fault monitoring, log reviews, access management, and change control for database software such at Oracle, DB2, etc.

Security Management: The ability to protect the enterprise from external/internal threats. A Service Desk will perform vulnerability scans, monitor IPS logs and map this data to the information security related regulatory mandates.

All of the functions above are delivered by utilizing various types of hardware, software and delivery process. All of these functions have to work together in a seamless manner and each has it’s own lifecycle and the Service Desk will manage them. Thus, when one hardware platform, software package or process needs to be replaced with newer technology or practices, the Service Desk will manage the transitions ensuring maximum data delivery.

By performing the tasks outlined above, a Service Desk improves user satisfaction by:

  • Minimizing business impacts of service failures
  • Proactively managing use of the IT network of ITIL best practices
  • Resolving incidents and requests with minimal delay
  • Communicating with the end user

As companies switch their IT service management from technology based to process based, the they are able to integrate their IT needs directly into the corporation’s overall strategic plan. The Service Desk plays a strategic role in this transition. The Service Desk allows companies to be less dependent on specific technology and enables them to easily connect with business partners moving forward by focusing on processes. By switching the IT focus on processes the infrastructure delivers value add to the corporate users and customers. Once the services and processes are defined, the Service Desk monitors them and the company focuses on it’s strategic and tactical business plan.

A good Service Desk improves a company’s customer satisfaction by allowing the company to implement their business plan. A good Service Desk improves a company’s satisfaction by managing IT costs while managing the lifecycles of the IT processes and by utilizing ITIL best practices. A good Service Desk communicates effectively and efficiently with each end user. There are many more things a good Service Desk does well, it is the next step in allowing your company to focus specifically on your business plan.

Next week: What is a help desk and why is it important.

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