Help Desk vs. Service Desk: Which one is right for your Organization?

HelpDesk vs ServiceDesk

Help Desk vs. Service Desk 

 

When it comes to IT ticketing and workflow, some teams use the terms ‘help desk’ and ‘service desk’ interchangeably. However, there are important differences between these two forms of  technical support.

 

These differences mostly stem from the terms’ origins. The service desk is a more recently introduced concept. It focuses heavily on the rising need for excellent customer service. The help desk, by contrast, has been around for as long as there have been internal IT problems to resolve.

 

To help you decide which one is right for your organization, we’ll dig a little deeper into the functions of each option.

What is a Help Desk?

A help desk, also called a HelpDesk or IT help desk, typically focuses on incident management and problem resolution. The help desk team isn’t necessarily antisocial. However, it is often more invested in solving problems quickly rather than providing friendly service to end-users.

 

Many modern help desks in fact don’t interact with customers. Instead, they focus only on supporting internal IT needs. The help desk tracks incidents, solves problems, performs routing, and generally manages IT ticket workflow. It often is limited to Level 1 & 2 support in enterprise companies with the ability to manage service levels.


 

Help desks handle incidents, which are unplanned interruptions to, or reduced quality of, IT service. This includes things like computers not booting up, trouble logging in, or issues with a network connection. A help desk can provide a quick fix to resolve these issues.

 

When it comes to service requests, such as user requests for information or advice, IT help desks usually don’t have the capacity to meet customer demands. Yet, organizations can’t solely focus on minimizing employee downtime. To ensure positive customer experiences, they must make it easy for users to report issues and provide great customer service while resolving them. This calls for a service desk.

 

What is a Service Desk?

Sometimes called ServiceDesk, this support focuses more heavily on providing high-quality care when handling service requests. A service desk communicates directly with end-users such as customers and can also resolve internal incidents. The service desk handles service delivery by walking users through onboarding or provisioning access to software like Office 365, for example.

 

A service desk considers the big picture and the user experience of technical support. It may provide self-service options like articles explaining how to perform certain functions. Some service desk teams even manage online communities and forums where users ask questions and report incidents.

 

The service desk likely uses a help desk to close tickets and perform service request management. It also does much more. The team works proactively across an organization to improve IT management. If an opportunity to increase technical efficiency arises, you can trust the service desk to pursue it.

 

Ultimately, a service desk is more powerful than a help desk and more valuable for organizations with a growing customer base.

What About ITSM and ITIL?

While learning about help desks and service desks, you may have come across the terms ‘ITSM’ and ‘ITIL’.

 

  • ITSM stands for IT Service Management. This concept goes beyond even the service desk. ITSM includes everything IT in an organization and the planning and development of new IT services.

 

  • ITIL stands for IT Infrastructure Library. The ITIL describes a detailed framework for IT service best practices. It acts as an industry standard in IT, guides organizations in their pursuit to deliver quality services, and increases user satisfaction. Interested individuals can seek ITIL certification through qualified providers.

 

Especially large organizations like enterprise companies may require robust ITSM to manage their complex needs. They may also seek ITIL-certified individuals to include on their IT team.

 

Do You Need a Service Desk or Help Desk?

For a new organization, a Help Desk meets internal IT needs.

 

However, as a company grows, it will need a Service Desk. IT is becoming a business enabler that does far more than just resolving technical issues. This is especially true with the increased need to support users who are working remotely. Dependence on integration to third-party tools has also increased.

 

Management teams recognize that it’s more important than ever to enhance the user experience and improve the quality of services with the help of a service desk. If you’re dealing with rapidly growing demand on IT, a service desk is likely the best option.

 

Identifying a solution helps you build ITSM that enables organization-wide efficiency and increases user satisfaction. A solution that helps you get started quickly and easily make changes or improvements as needed lets you implement best practices without costing an arm and a leg.

Find the Best Service Desk For Your Organization

There are many service desk options available on the market today. However, you don’t want to pay for a system with features that don’t meet your needs. To identify the strongest solutions, here are some key things you’ll want to look for in a modern service desk:

 

  • Management. Be sure your solution manages everything: incidents, assets, problems, changes, contracts, and purchases.
  • Compatibility. Ideal service desks are accessible and usable across devices, including tablets and mobile phones for easily tagging and scanning assets.
  • Security. Check to make sure your service desk provider is compliant with IT security and other requirements.
  • Visibility. Robust solutions offer dashboards, reporting, real-time data, and business intelligence you can use to help make better decisions for your company.
  • Versatility. Service desk technology should be able to handle individual accounts as well as make bulk updates and changes when needed, like auto-resolving related requests.
  • Integrations. Does your organization already use warranty check software and other third-party solutions? A service desk that integrates with them means smoother implementation.
  • ITIL Practices. A service desk that uses best practices can be trusted.
  • ITSM Capability. This especially goes for large or growing companies.

Whether your organization is small or large, we have the right Help Desk/ Service Desk with advanced capabilities that can grow with your organization . BOSSDesk is a highly-ranked integrated ITIL service solution noted for its ease of use and customizability. With U.S.-based support and affordable pricing, organizations can meet all their Help desk, Service desk, and ITSM needs in one place.

          Get a free Demo of BOSSDesk Cloud or On Premise today! 

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Why Service Request Management (SRM) Matters

Service Request Mgt Blog2

Service Request Management (SRM) - Why IT Matters

A laptop computer - by itself - provides little value.

Think about it.  At the risk of stating the obvious, without an operating system, productivity software, network connectivity, anti-virus and security software, web browser, user account, and other enablers, a laptop computer is little more than an expensive paper-weight.

But let’s take this one step further.

Unless you are purchasing a laptop computer for your personal use, you likely aren’t thinking of all of the various individual enablers that might be needed to make the use of that laptop valuable to you when making a service request.  All you have to do is register a service request with your service provider and ask for a laptop computer.  As part of fulfilling that request, all of the needed enablers are included.  

This above scenario is a simple, but great illustration of why Service Request Management (SRM) matters.  SRM is all about delivering products and performing service actions that enable service consumers to get things done.

Why is good Service Request Management so important?

Service Request Management is one of the most visible service management practices within an organization.  And whether the SRM practice is formally defined or not, every organization is practicing SRM.  The question is “how well is SRM being done?”

Done well, SRM is a “satisfier” and drives positive user and employee experiences.  Improves efficiency and efficacy, 

Done poorly, SRM is a source of cost-overruns, unmet expectations, needless bureaucracy, and damaged reputations.

Yet, in many organizations, SRM is taken for granted

Seven good reasons why good SRM matters

In many organizations, SRM could be considered the “store front” for a service provider. Many organizations develop self-service portals that are inviting, well-organized, and simple to use. But good SRM is much more than just a self-service portal.  

SRM provides a standard, consistent channel through which service consumers and service providers interact. The SRM practice provides a means for accessing and realizing value for both service consumers and service providers.

Here are seven good reasons why good SRM matters:

  • Captures and measures the demand for IT products and services.  Is IT providing the right kind of products, support, and service actions at the right levels and at the right times?  What are the trends in service requests?  Are there opportunities for improvement? Good SRM provides the means for finding the answers to these questions and more.
  • Provides the key pillar for automation.  Many organizations would like to automate routine actions, but often fall short because of a lack of understanding what needs to be automated in the first place.  Simply put, you can’t automate what you don’t understand.  Defining request models – the repeatable and consistent steps involved in fulfilling service requests – is a critical first step for enabling automation and orchestration of service requests.  
  • Provides the operational fulfillment of organizational strategy.   Senior management defines the strategy and the budget for the use of technology within the organization. This strategy then becomes the basis for the design of services and the associated service actions and products for consuming those services.  It is the SRM that provides the tangible, day-to-day means for delivering those products and service actions by which the organization realizes achievement of its business strategy.  
  • Enables positive user and employee experiences.  When users can easily and effectively request and receive the products and service actions that they need to do their jobs, that leads to positive user (UX) and employee experiences (EX).  
  • Sets good expectations – and then delivers on those expectations.  Often the source of frustration for both service consumers and service providers is that sometimes neither party is clear in regards to what they should expect when it come to service requests.  Good SRM practices clearly articulate and publicize what both the service consumer and service provider should expect with every service request. 
  • Provides the ability to demonstrate adherence to or compliance with policies.  By using the standard products and service actions delivered by the SRM practice, consumers within an organization can be assured that they will be following applicable organizational policies.  So, whether it’s a password reset, delivery of a new smartphone or laptop, or any other request, the products and service actions delivered as part of the SRM practice are designed to comply with organizational policies. 
  • Provides the basis for effective self-service.  Most service requests are well-known and occur frequently.  These kinds of service requests are ideal candidates for requesting and fulfilling via self-service – and it delivers a win-win.  Not only are consumers empowered to work at their own pace and schedule, but the service provider is also freed up to spend more time and resources on more complex issues or work on other business initiatives. 
     
    Used right your ITIL Service Desk can really simplify Service Request Management

Does your Service Request Management matter?

Service Request Management (SRM), done well, makes a huge positive impact on organizations.  But if SRM isn’t making a difference in your organization, here are three things to do. 

  • Talk to stakeholders.  The people interacting with SRM – both from the provider and consumer perspectives – are the best source of information for how SRM can be improved.  What is their experience with SRM?  Where does friction exist within SRM?  Are there any bottlenecks or gaps that providers or consumers are having to work through? 
  • Take a look at service requests from the “outside in” perspective.  Often, service providers design SRM practices from the “inside out” – only considering what is required for the provider to capture and fulfill requests.  Start with the most frequently-occurring requests from the perspective of the requester – and ensure that they are intuitive to use and reflective of the work that needs to be done.
  • Review your SRM measures – Are you measuring the parameters that indicate that SRM matters?  Yes, there are the foundational SRM measures common to all organizations (time to fulfil, number of requests, etc.), but are you measuring (and publicizing) the parameters that make SRM matter to your organization?  For example, are you capturing the measures that indicate realization of organizational strategy, policy compliance, or positive UX/EX?  

    BOSSDesk provides a great user experience making it very easy for users to manage Service Requests


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About Doug Tedder: Doug Tedder is the principal consultant of Tedder Consulting LLC, a service management and IT governance consultancy. He is a recognized ITSM thought leader and holds numerous industry certifications ranging from ITIL®, COBIT®, Lean IT, DevOps, KCS™, VeriSM™, and Organizational Change Management. Doug is an author, blogger, and frequent speaker at local industry meetings and national conventions.  

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Don’t let your organization take Service Request Management for granted!

The often-taken-for-granted Service Request Management Practice

by Doug Tedder

Service Request Mgt Graphic3

Password reset.

Order a new laptop or smartphone.

Move a workspace to a new location.

Ask a question about the ERP solution in use within the organization.

These are all common, everyday interactions between a user and an IT organization, right?

These interactions are known within service management as “service requests”. ITIL® 4 defines[1] a service request as “a request from a user…that initiates a service action which has been agreed as a normal part of service delivery”.

The act of making a service request seems to be simple enough. It’s a call to the service desk. Or perhaps, it’s a click or two on a web portal. And soon, that service request has been registered and processed…and perhaps, depending on the nature of the request, it’s even been fulfilled within just a few minutes.

Those making a service request may not appreciate what happens behind the scenes. But that is what a well-planned, designed, and implemented service request management practice does for an organization, its service consumers, and its service providers. It makes requesting and managing service requests simple enough.

But the importance of an effective service request management (SRM) practice is often overlooked…even taken for granted.

Behind the scenes

The Service Request Management practice provides a standard way for users to make requests of a service provider to provide resources or take actions that are an agreed part of the normal delivery of a service. SRM is one of the most visible service management practices within an organization.

Service requests all follow the same basic structure. First, the requester’s identity is confirmed to ensure that only those that are permitted to make a service request can make a request. The specifics of the particular request are then analyzed. Some requests are quite simple and require minimal effort for fulfillment, while other requests may be more complex, requiring contributions from several teams or involving several systems. As part of that analysis, what the requester is entitled to request is confirmed, along with any needed authorization (from a security perspective) or approvals (from a budget perspective). Finally, the request is fulfilled.

For example, a service request involving software may have to confirm that there are sufficient unassigned licenses available for fulfilling the request, and if not, trigger procurement of additional licenses. A service request for hardware, like a laptop or smartphone, may involve third parties to fulfill the request. A request for system access requires that SRM confirm that the requester is in fact authorized to access that system, and if so, provide only the type of access to which the requester is entitled.

So, regardless of whether it’s asking for a new smartphone, resetting a password, or asking a question, the basic structure of a service request is always the same. But that’s just the basics. The fact is that not all service requests are the same.

How to make it look simple

There’s so much going on behind the scenes than what may meet the eye when it comes to service requests. Behind the scenes, even the simplest service requests often involve several steps. What is the key to making it look simple?

The answer is request models.

A request model is a pre-defined method for fulfilling a specific type of service request.   In other words, for any request, there should be a pre-defined and agreed approach, or model, for fulfillment. This means that a request model must:

  • Define the inputs and outputs of the model – What information is needed to fulfill the request? What outputs result from processing the request?
  • Define what information is needed from the requester – In addition to a name and userid, additional information may be required, such as location, manager name, or contact information.
  • Identify what individuals or teams are involved – Who takes the actions required for fulfilling the request?
  • Define the time frames for fulfilling the request – How much time is needed to fulfill the request? What should be done if it’s taking longer than defined for fulfilling the request?
  • Define and design how the request may impact other service management practices, such as supplier management, access management, change enablement, or others – No service management practice can be successful by existing in a vacuum. A service request may trigger an action to order a new laptop from a supplier or cause the execution of a standard change. Performance targets and expectations for SRM should be defined and agreed in Service Level Agreements (SLA). Recognizing how service requests interact with other service management practices prevents unanticipated delays with fulfilling requests.
  • Specifically define how the output will be delivered to the requester – Some outputs can be delivered electronically, like software. Other outputs require a physical installation. Some may require both.
  • Consider if automation can be used to fulfill the request – Many service requests can be fulfilled without direct human interaction.

     With BOSSDesk you can design forms and set up workflows to simplify and automate Service Request Management

A little planning and design goes a long way

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? The fact is that to deliver the outcomes from a SRM practice that seems simple for the user does require some planning and design. There are a number of benefits that result from planning and designing of request models.

  • Improves coordination between teams – While many requests may be fulfilled by a single technician, some requests actually involve more than one team for fulfillment.
  • Delivers a better user experience – Users have confidence that they will get what they need in a timely, friction-free way.
  • Helps further identify opportunities for self-service and automation – This is a win-win for both the end-user and the fulfillment teams. The end-user gets her requests fulfilled on a near-real time basis. The providing organization, no longer needed to manually fulfill such requests, can devote more time to fulfilling requests that are more complex.
  • Provides measurability – One of the results of defining is that fulfilling such requests becomes consistently measurable. The ability to measure then opens possibilities for continual improvement, as well as the ability to set reasonable expectations regarding fulfillment – for both the end-user and fulfillment teams.

Don’t take service request management for granted!

It can be easy to take service request management for granted. But SRM is a way to illustrate the business value of the service provider. Here are some things to do to ensure that SRM isn’t being taken for granted, while continually improving the value of SRM.

  • Regularly publish performance reports – Illustrate just how much work is being done by SRM. Capture and publish agreed key performance indicators, or KPIs, such as the number of requests and the average time for fulfillment of requests being managed through the practice. By doing so, both the user community and the IT organization will have a shared understanding of the value that SRM provides.
  • Identify top 5 requests logged by service desk agents – This will help identify further opportunities for improvement and potentially automation.
  • Periodically audit current request models – Do existing request models accurately represent the current criteria for approvals and authorizations?

 BOSSDesk offers the capability to measure the utilization of Service Catalogs and feedback on services delivered for continuous improvement

 

Service Request Management may seem simple to the user and to the organization. But having a well-designed and effective SRM practice is not only critical for service management implementations, but it is also important for the performance of the overall organization. Don’t let your organization take SRM for granted!

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[1] ITIL Foundation, ITIL 4 Edition, p 195

About Doug Tedder: Doug Tedder is the principal consultant of Tedder Consulting LLC, a service management and IT governance consultancy. He is a recognized ITSM thought leader and holds numerous industry certifications ranging from ITIL®, COBIT®, Lean IT, DevOps, KCS™, VeriSM™, and Organizational Change Management. Doug is an author, blogger, and frequent speaker at local industry meetings and national conventions.  

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How a Modern Service Desk  Dramatically Improves Efficiency and User Satisfaction

Help Desk Graphic 1

Deerfield Beach is a city in Broward County, Florida, just south of the Palm Beach County line. With a year-round population of over 50,000 the City of Deerfield Beach provides customer-oriented services, which create a quality of life that encourages residents and employers to enjoy South Florida and prosper in an ever-growing international economy.

The City of Deerfield Beach wanted to consolidate several older products with a modern Service Desk solution. They were looking to build a powerful Service Catalog that addressed specific departmental needs, improved efficiency and was more responsive to their user community. The City was also looking for a solution with an integrated Asset Management capability and support for other ITIL processes such as Change Management.

They came upon BOSSDesk an ITSM solution on the Cloud that perfectly fit their needs with the integrated service desk capability and incorporated a powerful Service Catalog and an award winning user-friendly interface. The City was impressed with support they received from the BOSS Solutions team during the selection and implementation process and were impressed by how easily the Service Catalog could be created to meet departmental needs. The City has seen dramatically improved efficiency and faster resolution resulting in improved user satisfaction.

 “The Service Catalog and workflow capability of BOSSDesk is excellent”. Ron McKenzie – CIO at the City of Deerfield Beach 

 

Deerfield Beach Service Catalog

 

 With BOSSDesk, the City of Deerfield Beach created an integrated Service Desk that addressed the various departmental needs, improved user satisfaction, while dramatically improving efficiency in several areas:

Information Technology: New hardware, software and support requests are managed, priority can be specified and response times improved. The ability to track and monitor incidents separately from requests provides the City far better controls to improve resolution time and efficiency. The ability to close multiple tickets associated with a specific problem was considered monumental in improving efficiency.

ITIL Best Practices: Using BOSSDesk the City was able to implement ITIL processes that included creating a CMDB, achieving better inventory control, implementing a knowledge base and a change management process.

Integrated Asset Management: With BOSSDesk the City is able to track in real time all inventory on the network. The software allows all devices to be identified via bar codes, can keep track of all software contract renewals and provide all details regarding the software vendors

Human Resources (HR) Onboarding: BOSSDesk enables the City to order and track all the service and equipment needed to support new employees. Workflows create tasks and required approvals to ensure the onboarding process is timely and efficient.

Public Affairs and Marketing: Users can make requests to post announcements on social media or through press releases, propose changes and additions to the website, and request videos.

The City of Deerfield Beach was also very impressed with how open the BOSS team was to new product enhancement requests and the speed at which these requests were implemented. Ron and his team members are pleased with the capabilities of BOSSDesk and how well it meets their specific needs.

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