Introduction to Service Desk

Extending the Range of IT Services – In ITIL the Service Desk is considered to be a function, not a process, and it does more than simply log and resolve incidents. Service Desk and incident management are intimately connected but Service Desk has a larger role such that it handles more than just incidents. The Service Desk is a front end function for change requests, service requests, complaints, queries, and any other needs that the end-users have of IT.

There is a very good reason to have a single and consistent face to the end-user community. End-user perception is a critical element of the business’s determination of how well IT performs its job. As such, it is important that IT do everything it can to ensure that a consistent and professional experience is had by all end-users interacting with IT. The best way to achieve this is to simplify and consolidate the points of contact between IT and the end-user community.

For this reason, it is recommended that Service Desk be the single point of contact between end-users and IT. The result is that Service Desk often simply records and monitors the request, while forwarding it to another process group. For instance, when an end-user requests some type of change they contact the Service Desk but the request if fulfilled on the back-end by Change Management.

Customers vs. End-Users

It is important to understand the difference between customers and end-users. Customers are generally managers, with budget authority, who commission and pay for IT services.

End-users are the day-to-day users of IT services. Customers are generally interested in solving business problems and receiving value for their money at given service levels. End-users are generally interested in service performance, fitness for use, and availability.

Call Center

A call center differs from a Service Desk in that the call center is mainly concerned with handling large call volumes for telesales services, where the Service Desk has much larger responsibilities. The call center concept can be used by the service desk as a low cost front end for high volume desks. In this scenario, non-technical customer service representatives receive incoming calls, collect initial information, initiate the proper documentation, and then forward the request to the appropriate process or functional group for processing. This is particularly helpful in situations where the Service Desk takes on its larger role in addition to simply dealing with break-fix issues.

Help Desk

A help desk differs from a Service Desk in that the help desk is primarily concerned with handling incidents and is not a single point of contact for end-users to IT nor does it manage the complete range of requests as does the Service Desk.

About The Author

Ron B Palmer

Ron B Palmer is an internationally recognized expert on IT Service Management who also writes on strategy as it applies universally irrespective of its application in business, war, or politics. Ron’s approach is grounded in concepts such as quality, systems theory, complexity, fractals, and Economics. Ron holds the ITIL Service Manager and ITIL Expert certifications as well as numerous ISO/IEC 20000 certifications.

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