What is an IT Service Desk?
The service desk, specifically within IT, represents the support that IT provides to employees, or end users, for its products and services. According to ITIL, the service desk is an element of the overall service management structure that serves as a single point of contact between employees and IT technicians. Essentially, the IT service desk is the place your employees go when they have questions about (or issues with) the tools and software they need to do their jobs.
History of the IT Service Desk
The IT service desk (or help desk) of the past was fundamentally different than its present-day iteration. Initially established as a function to support and fix IT issues, it was much more focused on the technology involved rather than the people using the technology. The function of the IT service desk began to evolve with the introduction of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) in the 1990s. ITIL set out to establish a universal framework of best practices around the concept of IT providing services to support end users rather than the technology itself, introducing elements like service level agreements (SLAs).
With the release of ITIL v2 in the early 2000s, the service desk function continued to mature, taking on a prominent the role in incident and request management. Globalization and the transition from on-premise to cloud-based services in the technology landscape have created a ripe environment for the development of comprehensive IT service management (ITSM) platforms. These ITSM platforms can now serve as a centralized management system for the entire IT function.
As the convergence of technology, customer and user experience, and business processes continues to evolve through Digital Transformation, the IT service desk is becoming a key element of the overall business process. This will continue to be the case as the best practices honed in IT over the last few decades makes its way into other departments within the organization that also function as service providers like HR, facilities, and more.
What an IT Service Desk Does
The IT service desk is primarily responsible for managing incidents, responding to and resolving user (employee) issues and requests, and facilitating communication across all departments and employees.
Other areas the service desk can support include:
- Employee Onboarding / Offboarding
- Contract and PO Management
- License Compliance Management
- Risk Management
- Vendor Management
- Internationalization & Globalization
Benefits of an IT Service Desk
A robust and mature IT service desk helps your organization simplify and automate service requests from your employees, reduce support workload, and provide your employees with an exceptional service experience.
Use Smart Technology to Maximize Service Desk Efficiency
With smart technology incorporated into the service desk, your IT staff can focus their efforts on significant business priorities rather than spending time on mundane but time-consuming tasks. Automated ticket routing, AI-powered smart suggestions, and machine learning capabilities help ensure your IT service desk is able to efficiently and effectively deliver services across the organization.
Improve Employee / Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Recent research shows that the vast majority of organizations are looking to expand the principles and best practices of IT service management to departments beyond IT, primarily to improve internal customer experience. And, of the organizations that have already expanded beyond IT, more than half report an increase in customer satisfaction (CSAT).
Provide Transparent Communication
Service level management (SLM) enables your IT service desk to set clear expectations for employees requesting services so they know upfront how long a given request should take to get resolved. Automated notifications can help your IT staff stay on top of service level agreement (SLA) breaches, and you can monitor long-term trends to identify areas to improve efficiency.
Read more about the benefits of IT service management for your entire organization.
IT Service Desk Best Practices
Seamless Employee Experience
The modern IT service desk enables organizations to provide a more meaningful and seamless employee experience through streamlined service management. An employee service portal can provide employees can access to self-service knowledge base articles or the ability to submit service requests via a service catalog across all departments. Service desk integrations with tools like Slack, Gmail, and more also allow your service desk to meet employees where they work on a daily basis.
With a cloud-based IT service desk solution that is built with industry best practices like ITIL in mind, a modern service desk can help you organize, prioritize, manage, and resolve tickets quickly and easily — all from a unified service management platform.
Integrated Asset Management
The IT service desk can be fully integrated with an IT asset management solution. This gives you complete visibility into relevant IT asset data within service desk tickets so you can troubleshoot issues faster.
Service Desk Reporting
View the insights and data you need to make future decisions about your service desk, including incident throughput reports, customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, SLA breaches, and more with service desk reporting.
Using the best practices laid out by ITIL, a mature IT service desk solution can better equip your organization to manage problems, changes, and releases in addition to incident management.