What is a service desk?

Service desks are designed to handle both incidents and service requests. The service desk is a central point for end users to contact IT or any support function. They can report incidents (event that results in a disruption in service availability/quality) and make service requests (routine requests for services such as getting a new laptop, onboarding a new employee). 

They have a more broad and user-centered approach to service delivery. A service desk seeks to facilitate the integration of business processes into the service management infrastructure.

What is an IT service desk?

An IT service desk is a single point of contact between the service provider and the users. ITIL provides a framework to deliver services better, using service lifecycle such as service strategy, design, operations, transition and CSI. IT service desks use the ITIL framework to govern how IT teams create, catalog, offer, and resolve services to the end-user.

Differences between help desk and service desk

A help desk and service desk are very similar, yet very different. There are instances when the two have been used interchangeably, which causes a great deal of confusion. So how are the two different?

As the name suggests, a help desk aims to help you when you have an issue and restore normalcy. Users rely on help desks to assist them with issues such as troubleshooting the printer, or setting up a new system. Help desk is mostly reactive which receives issues from end users and provides resolution. A help desk offers “help” or “break-fix” support, while a service desk assists with break-fix support and service requests. Service desk is responsible for entire IT support and services which includes service request management, change management and asset management. Service desk follows a holistic approach to align business and IT vision. Service desks can be setup to proactively avoid any incidents from occurring. Simply put, a service desk is an extension to helpdesk with an exhaustive set of functionalities and aims for service excellence.

Help Desk IT Service Desk
Offers “help” or “break-fix” support Emphasis is more on a service lifecycle approach to ITSM
Is a component of the service desk, most concerned with end-user functionality and providing incident management to ensure issues are resolved quickly. Extends the help desk by providing a way to accomplish problem, change, configuration, knowledge, and release management, in addition to incident management.
Usually includes a ticketing system which focuses on resolution of the incident They have a goal - continuous improvement of services, to increase efficiency and reduce cost (CSI), by assessing current processes and trends.

Features of IT service desk software

An effective IT Service Desk should enable the agent with the right information to effectively address end users’ needs. It should also be easy to use by the end user, and help them find solutions easily. Here are some of the most important features of a service desk software:

Multi-channel support

The IT service desk software acts as a point of contact between the end user and an agent. Whether the end user wants to report an incident, or raise a request, the service desk software, it acts as the point of contact. It is essential to have multiple points of contact with the end user making it easy for them to get in touch. This could be via phone, email, self-service portal, etc.

Customizable Knowledge base or self service

Knowledge base is one of the most important features of a service desk software. Routine/repeated queries are compiled in this section, giving agents time to focus on more urgent or important issues, and providing a quicker way for the end-user to get a solution.Customer questions should be organized into FAQs or solution articles, that are easily accessible. Filter capabilities to retrieve solutions by category, most frequently asked questions highlighted at the top, auto-suggestion solutions based on the search query, are must-have features in a service desk software.

An efficient self-service portal will have the capabilities to submit a new incident, raise a service request, access the knowledge base, track the status of their incident, view announcements, etc. A customized self-service portal for your end-user empowers them to find information by themselves, reducing overhead for agents.


Automation is a powerful feature in a service desk software that can drastically reduce an agent’s overhead and improve productivity. Repetitive, or routine tasks such as converting emails to tickets, notifying managers of pending or resolved tickets, auto-assigning tickets to the right agents or groups, setting up multi-level approvals, managing SLA violations etc. can be set using automations. Even processes like travel desk approvals, employee onboarding can be automated.

Reporting and Analytics

Dashboards help agents to see data that’s most relevant and important upon logging in. This could contain tickets stats such as pending tickets, new tickets etc. A good dashboard should also give managers key metrics that provide immediate and vital insight into how the service desk is performing.Metrics such as overall agent performance, rate of resolution, first call resolution rate etc.

Another important feature is reporting, which includes pre-defined reports and custom reports. Automatic generation, scheduling, sharing, and exporting reports are related features that are essential.

With big data being the buzzword, analytics is an extremely important feature to get insights and improve service desk performance. This helps consolidate all service desk data and analyze them for patterns and trends.Trends analysis on incoming tickets, how many are resolved, agent performance, utilization of service desk etc. helps to better understand and optimize service desk management.

Multiple SLA policies

Prioritize tickets based on SLA and set rules on escalation or deadlines. Avoiding SLA violations and ensuring maximum SLA compliance is key in delivering quality service desk experience. It is essential to be able to effectively handle violations and those approaching violations by either moving them to another group, or re-assigning them to another agent, or resetting priorities and levels. Escalate tickets automatically or send notifications about SLA breaches by pre-defining automation rules to suit your ticket priorities. Gain visibility into your service delivery by keeping track of your performance against SLAs

Mobile app

In this day of getting things done on-the-go, why should a service desk be behind? Putting power in the hands of your agents, a simple but powerful mobile app will help you get your work done even when you’re not at your desk. Manage tasks, incidents, changes, requests and assets wherever you are internet-connected.

Why do you need an IT service desk software?

Do you really need an IT service desk software? The answer is YES! Not only does it organize information, streamline workflows, and eliminate many manual processes, it also it helps run business efficiently. Here’s some reasons:

Acts as a single source of truth for your end users

Delivering a great end-user experience is critical, but not easy.

Make data-driven decisions

Data and reporting are critical for any business that’s looking to scale to the next level.

They keep your business running

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