What is a service desk?

A service desk is a communications epicenter that makes available a single point of contact (SPOC) between an organization and its employees, customers, business partners and related stakeholders. The duty of a service desk is to make sure that users receive the right help in a well-timed manner.

Service desks are designed to take care of both incidents and service requests. In this context, an incident is an occurrence that results in a disruption in service disposal or quality. A service request seeks help with an unchanging task, such as assisting a user change a password or helping a new user set up in work systems. Other services delivered may include change management, release management and tasks related to configuration.

The service desk is one of three main preferences for the customer and/or user support. The other two SPOC bodies are help desks and call centers. There has often been a misperception about the difference between service desks and help desks. ITIL v2 defines service desk as just another term for help desk. Conversely, ITIL v3 distinguishes between the two, saying that service desks deliver wide-ranging service capabilities, resolve more difficulties in fewer steps and qualify integration of business processes into the service management infrastructure.

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) describes the service desk as an important information technology service management (ITSM) tool. ITIL is an internationally recognized collection of best practices for IT service management.

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Who is a service desk analyst?

The definite job description for a service desk analyst differs a bit among employers, but there are some fundamentals that they all have in common. Service desk analysts work for almost every type of industry; from healthcare to education, and from automobile to finance. When you employ a service desk analyst, you’re hiring someone to be responsible for hardware and software support for your business.

A service desk analyst will have to ensure that software licenses are up to date, keep track of your IT portfolio, and research and troubleshoot hardware and software glitches for users in the rest of the organization. Every so often, a service desk analyst maintains, manages, and modernizes a company’s knowledge database. When new hardware arrives, the service desk analyst will set it up and test it and load the required software onto the hardware. A service desk analyst will have to cater to numerous incoming requests by comprehending end-user needs.

One of the large benefits of having a service desk analyst is that organizations no longer find the need to play “catch-up” with inventory. When the service desk analyst makes use of a ticketing system, problems are pinpointed, and end-users can hold the service desk analyst liable for not fixing an issue for which a ticket was submitted. Good service desk software helps with usage and problem patterns and can support the business with its long term IT strategy. With good service desk software and a good service desk analyst, businesses can track assets better, implement efficient solutions to end-user problems, and build a healthier IT ecosystem.

What does a service desk analyst do?

The primary role of a service desk analyst is that of delivering first level support through taking calls and managing the resulting Incidents or Service Requests, using the incident management and request fulfillment procedures, in line with service desk objectives.

Essential duties, roles and responsibilities of a service desk analyst include, but are not limited to:

In small service desks, it is possible that a Senior Service Desk Analyst will also act as a supervisor – but in larger service desks, it is probable that a committed Service Desk Supervisor/Senior Service Desk Analyst role will be required. Where shift hours dictate, there may be two or more Senior Service Desk Analysts who fulfill the role, typically on an intersecting basis. The Supervisor/Senior Service Desk Analyst role typically includes:

Essential skills of a service desk analyst

Skill Description
Customer service management Handles customer service functions, together with responding to issue reports, access and information requests. Uses results of customer satisfaction metrics to improve services and has positive relationships with customers.
Ownership and initiative Takes responsibility of problems and proactively resolves technical difficulties, making sure that technical solutions carry on meeting business requirements. Takes full liability for actions taken and resolutions made.
Service focus Maintains focus on the whole lifecycle of service delivery - design, develop, deliver and operate. Confirms that a set of IT products, suppliers and vendors are unified to deliver an IT service.
Service reporting Takes management info and combines agreed key performance indicators into product or service measures that reinforce service management of a particular product or service.
User focus Recognizes user needs and behavior based on evidence. Translates user stories and suggests design approaches or services to meet these needs and participates in meaningful interactions and associations with users. Puts users first and can manage challenging priorities.

Measuring the performance of a service desk analyst

Metrics should be established so that the performance of the Service Desk Analyst can be assessed at regular intervals. This is imperative in order to assess maturity, competence and effectiveness, and to establish any prospects to improve service desk operations.

Metrics for the performance of a Service Desk Analyst must be genuine and carefully chosen. It is common to select those metrics that are straightforwardly available, and that may seem to be a potential indication of performance; however, this can be deceptive. For example, the total number of calls taken by the Service Desk Analyst is not in itself a hint of either good or bad performance, and may, in fact, be triggered by events completely beyond the control of the service desk – for example, a particularly busy period for the organization or the release of a new version of an important corporate system can lead to an increase in the number of calls to the Service Desk Analyst. This can show less dependable services over that period of time – but may also indicate increased user assurance in a service desk that is maturing, ensuing in a higher probability that users will seek assistance rather than try to cope without help.

Added analysis and more detailed metrics are necessary and must be studied over a period of time. These will include the call handling statistics (Average Speed to Answer (ASA), Abandoned Call Rate (ABR)), and additionally:

Top tools for service desk analysts

Service desk tools are software that enable the service desk analysts to operate more efficiently and effectively. A service desk — a call center, contact center, or help desk — is a single point of contact for all IT requests and requirements of the end-users.

Help desk tools are distinctive software that actively solve user problems (incidents) and answers user queries, providing a single interface for all client change requests, third parties, software licensing, etc.

Choosing service desk software with the right set of features for a business can be challenging and time-consuming. Here is a list of the best service desk software systems, selected by SaaS experts, to help service desk analysts deliver to the best of their abilities:

  • Freshservice
  • Samanage
  • ManageEngine ServiceDesk
  • JIRA Service Desk
  • Zendesk
  • Track-It!
  • BMC Remedy 9
  • Cherwell IT Service Management
  • Agiloft
  • Re:Desk
  • ServiceNow
  • GoToAssist
  • Spiceworks
  • EasyVista
  • Wolken

The value of service desk analyst in an organization

The Service Desk Analyst is an essential resource of the ITSM function of contemporary companies. As technology takes on a larger role as an integrated part of business progressions and users’ experiences, making sure that the technology services are functioning well and available to those people who need to use them is crucial. The user-centric IT Service desk, with its coordinated workflows, deep organizational knowledge and links into the rest of the IT organization, is the central connection between users and the IT organization.

Every organization is unique and a service desk analyst and tools need to be fully associated with a company’s business needs. Whether an organization is more technology focused and requires an integrated ITSM solution like Freshservice, or takes a broader view of the service desk in supporting IT and other business functions, a service desk analyst plays a significant role in the success of a business.