The terms help desk and service desk are regularly used interchangeably, even by IT professionals. However, in reality, the two have very different definitions. For this reason, if you’re seeking a resource of this kind, it is very important to ensure that you speak to the relevant service providers in-depth about exactly what you will receive for your money.
What is a Help Desk?
The main purpose of a help desk is usually to quickly and effectively resolve IT issues, outages, and problems with devices. Those manning the help desk will often create or raise a ticket to represent a particular issue, then use a ticket tracking system to keep that issue on track towards resolution. Simply put, a help desk allows you to take a practical approach towards the fixing of device or system issues, either by remotely accessing machines or taking them in for physical maintenance.
It may also be used to give simple self-service advice and help with updates, configuration, and other requirements relating to the digital life of your company. Generally speaking, this tool is used to support an IT team and occasionally other members of staff as opposed to clients or other end users.
What is a Service Desk?
A service desk is more of an umbrella term and, as such, service desk features may include an IT help desk. Not only can those manning a service desk help to resolve IT issues, but they can also provide numerous troubleshooting and self-help resources and run various checks to make sure that the business’s IT infrastructure is performing as well as possible.
It’s also possible for your service desk to make improvements to your business’s digital side, including investigating new programs and systems that might streamline or improve what you do.
This tool can include a library of manuals, guides, and fixes, helping users to discover their own solutions to certain problems and ensuring that the time of IT support specialists is not wasted. Furthermore, it is often possible to send requests to those manning it regarding the acquisition of different devices and types of software. It tends to be used by a wider range of people, with the capability of supporting the needs of clients or end users if required.
Which Do I Need?
The answer to this question depends on the type of company you run in general. However, as a general rule of thumb, smaller businesses may be able to get by easily using a straightforward help desk, while larger, more complex organizations are likely to need the versatility and broad reach of a service desk.
Of course, neither of these statements are definitive. Both resources can be as simple or complex as is required, and, as mentioned above, it isn’t necessarily an either/or scenario. Many service desks include an integrated help desk element in order to cover all bases.