Friday, November 9

Swabeng Thoughts at Work: The difference of a Service Desk and an Help Desk

I find this topic pretty interesting even for a fact that I'm not a Helpdesk nor a Service Desk for the time being (I'm a bum =P)

I never even imagine there was a difference of being an IT Helpdesk and an IT Service Desk until I read this lengthy article, I'll try to include some that had impact and I'm sure that some of the tech bloggers who work in the IT industry can relate to this.

A Help Desk focuses on end user needs.

A Help Desk provides incident management to ensure customer’s problems are resolved in a timely fashion. A best practices Help Desk utilizes software to track the incidents making sure that no trouble gets lost. It manages a database that keeps track of the IT assets enabling access on a real time basis to information about software and configuration of the IT system. The Help Desk has the ability to create monthly and annual reports on the number of troubles, the time to respond to the trouble, the time to fix the trouble which could all feed into a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Some of the specific tasks a Help Desk performs include:

  • Computer or Software consultations
  • Change and Configuration Management
  • Problem escalation procedures
  • Problem resolution
  • Single point of contact (SPOC) for IT interruptions
  • Service Level Agreements
  • Tracking capabilities of all incoming problems

A Help Desk is tactically focused and is most concerned about end user functionality. One way of implementing a Help Desk is for the organization to meet minimum requirements to get an end user back in service once the incident is reported. However, a best practices Help Desk utilizes processes and software to minimize the service interruptions both proactively and reactively.

A Service Desk focuses on corporate strategy.

A Service Desk is a Single Point of Contact between users and IT Service Management. It manages information delivery by utilizing Information IT infrastructure Library (ITIL) v3 best practices to deliver these services both with software and defined processes. The Service Desk is the first contact in an organization for any and all IT questions. Best practices Service Desks are process focused and company strategy focused. The processes outlined in ITIL v3 are broken down into five ITIL Core Service Lifecycles.

  • Service Strategy –Evaluate current services and ensure a plan is in place to, modify and implement new and existing services when required.
  • Service Design – Evaluate and ensure a new service will meet current and future needs. Ensure a new service can be introduced into the live environment.
  • Service Transition – Define a plan that ensures no service outages or gaps during a service transition, thus the effects of the transition on the corporation are minimal.
  • Service Operation – Responsible for the ongoing monitoring of a service that is used to deliver services.
  • Continual Service Improvement – Review and analyze opportunities to improve all IT process and functions.

Many companies have a Help Desk without a Service Desk.

There are some instances where a corporation does not require or is not ready for the processes and service offerings of a Service Desk. In that instance a Help Desk will meet the tactical needs of the corporation. The Help Desk will give users a place to contact when they are having specific IT issues. Thus, the amount of time an end user is out of service will be minimized by the Help Desk.

Very few companies have a Service Desk without a Help Desk.

The Service Desk is concerned with the overall IT process and the individual components that function and interact with each other on both a software and process level. One area that is a must in any IT service offering is the ability to manage specific end user problems and issues. Thus, a Service Desk either has to have Help Desk functionality embedded in their Service Desk infrastructure or has the ability to link into a Help Desk offering for the end user. The Service Desk is focused on corporate strategy and ensuring all the IT functions are currently working and will work in the future, they must also have the ability to ensure all end users up and functioning.

A Help Desk is technically focused

As described in one of the previous posts, the Help Desk fixes problems that are taking place at that instant. Any time one of your employees is experiencing problems utilizing your Information Technology (IT) infrastructure the Help Desk is contacted to fix the problem and get your employee(s) operational as quickly as possible. For this immediate response to end user IT needs, the Help Desk must have employees technically trained in the appropriate technologies. The ultimate goal of the Help Desk is to offer first contact resolution as often and as quickly as possible.

A Service Desk is customer and process focused

As described in a previous post, the Service Desk is offers a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) and is focused on managing processes. The Service Desk is outward focused on the customer and inward focused on the day to day processes of the business. The ultimate goal of the Service Desk is to reduce costs by having the appropriate personnel working on problems, by monitoring trends and by managing processes.

Actually, its the company that decides on whether to get the services of a Helpdesk or a Service Desk or probably both. 

If you want to read the full article, just go to this link

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