What Is a Help Desk?
A help desk, in simple terms, is a tool that helps to organize customer questions and requests and direct those questions to the right person in your organization so they can be handled quickly and efficiently. Chances are good you may have even used this term interchangeably with service desk, and in some contexts, using help desk and service desk to get at the same general context is perfectly fine. However, a help desk is not exactly the same thing as a service desk, and there is a history behind the distinction that merits understanding (at least a little bit).
History of Help Desks
The help desk, as a general concept, goes all the way back to the early days (the 1980s) of the digital revolution, when the first wave of personal computers was making its initial impact on the workplace. At that time, this initial wave of users was encountering the first set of roadblocks when it came to getting all they could get out of their machines. Back in those days, the IBM PC was the personal computer of choice, and IBM PCs ran DOS.
DOS is a fantastic tool when placed in the right hands. But early PC users, though more tech-savvy in their own way than many contemporary users, were not quite as developed in their skills as their counterparts working in the fledgling IT departments of their time. And, while early IT workers staffing the first help desks didn’t have much more available technology than the users they were trying to help, they knew more about the hardware and operating systems of the day than their coworkers. Because of this, they were typically made available to help troubleshoot both common and uncommon issues – and at that time, that was just about all they did.
Evolution of the Help Desk:
Help Desk vs. Service Desk
Fast forward next to 1989, when the concept of the service desk first springs up. In 1989, the computer industry in the United Kingdom, working alongside the government of the UK, first published ITIL, or Information Technology Infrastructure Library. This library contained the concept that would become known as the service desk. According to ITIL best practices, the service desk was an intrinsic part of both an organization’s IT department, and its overall business operations.
Whereas help desks had worked with users on one issue at a time, service desks would do more to drive both the impact and efficiency of IT departments and the users and organizations they served. The role of the service desk is to continually evolve alongside advancing technology, continually becoming more integrated in the operations of its organization. It does this by acting as a point of contact for service requests and user issues (as the help desk did before it), but also serves as a nexus for IT problem management, and any and all configuration changes impacting the organization as a whole.
The service desk strives to enable business processes by providing integrated support, adapting that support to the evolving needs of the business, the industry, and the user base that it serves. Its primary function is still to restore the productivity of the end user by meeting that user where they are (technologically speaking), and helping them to resolve the issues that they are facing. However, it does so within a larger context of function that drives the success of the organization as a whole.
Core Help Desk Software Features
Utilizing an IT help desk software solution can help your organization thrive in a wide variety of ways, including automation of several key processes and functions. This effort will help you drive productivity while freeing up precious resources and budget dollars to spend on advancing your mission as an organization.
Three key areas in which your software solutions could be working for you include IT ticket management and risk detection, automated and integrated asset management, and enhanced usability driven by visual reports and access portals.
One of the biggest benefits of help desk software and employing other software solutions, comes in the form of the lift it can provide your organization in productivity. Web-based IT issue tracking, ticket management, and automated risk detection, as well as other software capabilities, give you the opportunity to track issues in ways you may not have dreamed of before, letting you quickly identify, investigate, and resolve underlying problems that lead to the recurring issues that often slow down productivity in the first place.
Another key help desk software feature is the seamless tracking of every asset (IT and otherwise) across your organization, assisting with the onboarding, assignment, management, and retiring of assets throughout their lifecycle.
Samanage’s help desk software was conceived of and designed with usability at its core. It was born on the cloud and lives on the cloud, updated for usability and functionality on a rolling and continuous basis. It simplifies and automates service requests while reducing support workload and helping your team provide superior service.
Easily understood reports and dashboards that give your team insight into what is happening in real time for IT Issue tracking purposes, and throughout the history of incidents, rollouts, and other major events and pushes are another key built-in feature of our IT help desk software.
How Can Help Desk Software Improve Your Business?
You are probably aware of the many ways that enhanced help desk software capabilities can help you improve your service levels and fulfill your various missions as an organization. The benefits of help desk software are myriad, and include managing clients with a customer or user database; improving scheduling of tasks and IT personnel; improving your service levels and speed of service through automation and other improvements, such as issue and ticket tracking; reducing waste by utilizing electronic documents’ user-directed forms; and providing access to service while also improving service levels through remote access to reporting and help desk functions.
IT issue tracking may be one of the most profound ways in which IT help desk software can help to boost the efficacy and efficiency of your organization. By eliminating recurring issues and by drastically reducing the service disruptions they spawn, you can maximize your productivity while doing a more complete job of tracking, managing, and proactively responding to incidents and the problems at their roots.
- Samanage Problem Detection helps you by streamlining your activities and the effort you spend toward discovering problems – automating pattern detection and analyzing historical data regarding incidents and the details surrounding them.
- Samanage’s use of graphic tools for issue management employs an IT issue management system based in the cloud, organizing, prioritizing, managing, and resolving tickets while reporting through the use of a variety of cutting-edge graphic tools that work to help you understand issues and problems.
- Samanage also ties incidents back to the problems that initially spawn them, helping you with risk calculation and problem management planning through a variety of tools that help you turn liabilities into vehicles for improving your service levels.
The best way to improve your business processes is to use an effective help desk or service desk software.Learn More
Samanage's Help Desk Key Software Capabilities
The purpose of ITSM is to provide your organization with the tools it needs to run smoother and more efficiently. With ITSM, IT departments can design, create, deliver, support and manage IT services.
Ensures that your tickets, requests, and various services are driven from a process perspective, automated as much as possible, and easily repeatable with a service catalog that manages your services for you.
Use the Samanage self-service portal to give your employees full transparency to the status of ticket resolutions as well as self-service options.
Samanage provides easy mobile access that allows your employees and your IT team to access the help desk from both sides, anywhere they happen to be.
The Samanage knowledge base gives you the power to document your best practices, and to automate solution recommendations to employees.
The Samanage API allows you to expand your platform, facilitating application creation and the interface between your systems, and the IT help desk software you need.
Thanks to Samanage’s multiple SSO integrations, including Google Suite, OneLogin, Okta, CA, Idaptiv, Microsoft Azure, and Active Directory, single sign-on functionality is easy to set up and manage across your organization.
Additionally, the Samanage help desk solution allows for seamless integrations, including all of the major email platforms. With Samanage, it is easy to build integrations so you can automate tasks, and to share and manage information across your entire organization, and with partnering agencies and businesses.
Benefits of IT Help Desk Software
The benefits of help desk software are as numerous and varied, and their impact upon your organization can be profound. From incident ownership and IT issue tracking to employee-focused capabilities and resources, the potential benefits of help desk software solutions are plentiful. The impacts of help desk software features that allow you to apply data to support your decision making in IT and across your organization are equally numerous.
- Incident ownership and tracking: From start to finish, experience unprecedented control of how you manage the efforts of your IT help desk team to work with employees to identify, prioritize, and manage incidents, regardless of how minor or major they may seem.
- Automations that drive efficiency: Automatically prioritize and route tickets to increase your ability to learn from the incidents themselves, and the process that leads to their eventual resolution. More effectively identify and deal with underlying problems in a more robust manner. Free up human capital, that might otherwise be underutilized manually handling tasks that could be automated, for other projects and deliverables.
- Employee-focused service: Samanage help desk software provides unprecedented levels of employee-focused resources, driving self-service and meeting employees where they work. From mobile access to the help desk self-service portal, employees that already have a degree of technological sophistication are free to self-direct their help desk experience.
- Increased productivity: Reduce time spent on process management, asset management, incident management, and everything else that your team handles by establishing consistent service levels and processing of deliverables. Our help desk solution puts the tools you need directly to work, automatically freeing up both you and your team to drive efficiency and productivity in a variety of ways.
- 360-degree view of data: Samanage is designed to support you, your team, and your organization as a whole by providing stakeholders with the data they need to make and support solid decisions around asset allocation, budgeting, scheduling, and just about any other process, program, or function you can think of — available in a single location. Reports and dashboards make data easy to understand, equipping you to leverage that data to improve your organization.