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HelpDesk or IT Service Desk

Some of my colleagues have questioned our use of the term HelpDesk for a stream of articles and support.  Given that our site objectives are centred around some of the core ITIL Service Management disciplines, then the question (aka customer query) for overlooking "IT Service Desk" is worthy of some discussion. Whilst the ubiquitous Wikipedia provides a fair stab at defining the accepted differences, for this discussion (ie Help Desk versus Service Desk), we'll simplify the differences as:

HelpDesk         -  Provide rapid response to paying customers and end users for information, services and issue resolution, related to company products and services.

ServiceDesk   -  An ITIL function providing a central, single point of contact for all clients and users of a company's services, including IT support services, especially problem, incident and request management.

Our objectives were to maintain a broad scope for discussions covering all aspects of both functions, which will vary from one organisation to the next, large or small.

It is probably fair to say that IT Service Desk is a more appropriate function area for most small, and many medium size businesses, where limitations on support staff numbers usually require over-lapping roles and duties. Thismakes even more sense where "round the clock" support is required. In this day of technical innovation, both HelpDesk and ServiceDesk are coupled with comprehensive computer tools to support the teams and provide smooth and appropriate process workflow and automated communications.

The following diagram may provded one way of viewing the integrated cross-functions provided in a Service Desk, where HelpDesk sub-function focuses on end-user experiences and rapid resolution of requests of all forms from both internal clients and external customers alike.  This is certainly the case in larger organisations where dedicated call centres are established for 24 hour customer support.  Appropriate tickets are raised, and calls are promptly transferred to the required service or support team.



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