2021 Trend Almanac: Technologies and trends that will dominate the business and consumer landscape. Get instant access
A Service Desk is a single point of contact (SPOC) between users and an information technology (IT) organization for help with incidents and service requests, as well as day-to-day tasks like access management. Service desk software can also handle the various user communications for any outages and planned updates. The breadth of a service desk typically covers any and all user IT needs, making them invaluable assets to any enterprise looking into digital transformation or an extension of their current service management infrastructure.
A service desk operates as the SPOC for monitoring incidents, answering user questions, providing a communications channel for various service management operations and users, problem management, change request management, and asset management of licenses and support contracts.
Call Centers, service desks, and help desks are often referred to synonymously, but they offer very different and distinct functionality. A help desk's primary focus is incident management and quickly responding to problems and break-fix user needs, while a service desk responds to all manner of IT needs, including day-to-day support for routine tasks. A call center also responds to both incidents as well as routine tasks, however, their scope extends to non-IT-related issues. A service desk is strictly for IT needs.
Service desks often employ knowledge management systems to expedite operational performance and enhance the organizational knowledge base. Service desk ticketing systems operate as an ongoing answering machine, saving all requests based on the time sent and the urgency of that request. Overall, the service desk functions as a cog in the wheel of service management, and while a service desk can function independently, integrating with other software, databases, and monitoring systems can improve their efficiency and value. A service desk is a tool that expedites business process workflow and keeps a company productive with limited outages and service downtime.