Service desk vs help desk vs ITSM

ITSM hero image

When it comes to ITSM, there are loads of terms and jargon. There are three important IT support terms that are often misused or confused:

  • Service desk
  • Help desk
  • ITSM (information technology service management)

What is ITSM?

IT service management, or ITSM for short, is how IT teams manage the end-to-end delivery of IT services to customers. This encapsulates the processes to design, produce, deliver, and support IT services. The key is to believe that IT should be delivered as a service.

You might think that ITSM is basic IT support; however, ITSM teams must manage a wide variety of workplace technology, from computers, to servers, to software applications. In general, in costs of several core processes:

  • Knowledge management
  • IT asset management
  • Incident management
  • Service request management
  • Change management 
  • Problem management

What is a service desk?

A service desk is “the single point of contact between the service provider and the users. A typical service desk manages incidents and service requests, and also handles communication with the users,” according to ITIL. In layman’s terms, it is a communications center where clients may receive help from their IT service providers. 

Service desks also take part in ITSM activities, such as service request, knowledge, and incident management, self-service, and reporting. The IT desk helps customers to resolve their issues, and provides service request management; it offers self-service for customers who want to resolve their incidents independently and quickly, and it provides metrics on the team. 

In general, service desks place heavy emphasis on customers and providing customer service through the delivery of IT help. 

What is a help desk?

A help desk consists of people who provide help and information, typically for electronic or computer problems. The main focus of a help desk is to fix issues, while a service desk focuses on delivering service to its customers. The customer focus found in service desks is missing in help desks. Furthermore, help desks are usually limited to a single ITSM activity, often incident management.

Think of help desks as a subset of service desks.

Service desk vs. help desk: What’s the difference?

  • A help desk is IT-centric, while a service desk is IT service-centric. The service desk has a focus on delivering service to users with customer service.
  • A help desk is focused on incident management, whereas a service desk will not only provide incident management, but will also fulfill service requests and requests for information. 
  • A help desk may be considered as providing a subset of service desk offerings; the service desk was an evolution of the help desk.

The importance of service desk and help desk tools for ITSM

Choosing the service desk software that fits the company the best is important, as it lays down the foundation of ITSM. An adaptable service desk that has ease of use, smooth set up, collaborative capabilities is critical to a company’s success.

For more information on service desks and the like, visit this page, or sign up to see our Jira Service Desk webinar!

Leave a Reply