Help Desk vs. Service Desk: Understanding The Differences
Support matters in IT. Staff and customers need somewhere to get answers, resolve issues and ensure the technology they use is working as intended. This assistance falls under the broad category of IT service management (ITSM), which governs the creation, design and delivery of technology across your organization.
Two systems often associated with ITSM are the service desk and the help desk — in many cases, these terms are used interchangeably. However, while both focus on improving the end-user experience, there is a critical distinction between the help desk vs. service desk support. Here’s what you need to know.
The Help Desk, Explained
The help desk does exactly what you’d think: assist users with their IT issues. From personnel struggling with network logins to customers facing challenges with mobile applications, help desks are designed to identify and remediate emerging IT complications.
Help desks are naturally reactive — something stops working, users file a report and help desk professionals solve the problem. This is typically accomplished through a ticketing system that prioritizes difficulties and lets clients know where they stand in the queue. As a result, help desks are often classified as “break-fix” support; something breaks, they fix it.
The Service Desk, Qualified
While service desks also address IT issues, they have a broader mandate. Help desks provide direct fixes for specific problems, while service desks focus on providing strategic, ITIL based support across the organization by proactively identifying and removing IT obstacles.
Some common areas of practice for the service desk include compliance management, full ITSM integration for lifecycle management and inter-company processes, as well as ongoing communication with end users. In effect, service desks go beyond break-fix IT to deliver ongoing operational maintenance with continuous improvement.
The Difference Between the Help Desk and Service Desk
The simplest way to define the difference between help and service desk support is to understand their evolution. Help desks came first, and service desks emerged later as a new approach under the ITSM framework.
What does this mean in practice? While help desks focus on providing remedies for specific problems, service desks go further to consider the larger needs of the customer. For example, proactive issue detection can help prevent sudden downtime, allowing employees to work without interruption. Dedicated communication with end users, meanwhile, allows staff to resolve specific IT complications and provide advice about how to avoid the same trouble moving forward.
In the service desk vs. help desk debate, there’s no “right” answer — companies need to find the best fit for their needs.
Improve Your ITSM With ITS
IT service management (ITSM) is now critical to business success. Organizations need support that goes beyond reactive break-fix IT responses in order to deliver user-focused, value-driven outcomes across technology stacks.
At Innovative Technology Solutions, we’re ITSM specialists. Our service desk deployments are designed to maximize employee productivity, enhance system performance and enable long-term infrastructure ROI. Plainly speaking, we help you achieve the financial and operational goals that are important to your business.
Integration. Transformation. Specialization. Discover what ITS can do for your business.