IT is ultimately about providing services to end users, and the IT help desk plays a critical role in this effort. But even though we often talk about the importance of taking a holistic approach to IT management, the help desk tends to be overlooked. This is beginning to change. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a major uptick in the number of inquiries fielded through the IT help desk in 2020—and this trend will extend into 2021 and beyond with the continuation of remote work. It’s therefore past time to include the lonely IT help desk in conversations about how to gain greater visibility into IT operations as a whole.
Say hello to the IT service desk.
What’s an IT Service Desk?
An IT service desk is much more than a spruced-up IT help desk. An IT help desk strictly focuses on meeting the needs of end users (responding to questions, addressing service issues, resolving tickets, etc.). An IT service desk is a single point of contact for all these things and more. Through the service desk, managers can monitor service requests, configuration changes, user satisfaction levels, and even the number of security incidents over the past X number of days.
It’s a window into a wide variety of IT operations impacting an agency’s users. IT managers can keep an eye on all the software and hardware running on their network and trace issues back to those assets. They can catalog service providers, track tickets, and identify and fix recurring issues once and for all. They can prioritize user requests, trace tickets back to their origins, and use this information to resolve issues in a sensible and efficient manner.
How Do IT Service Desks Improve Efficiency?
As remote work continues to be the norm for many businesses, organizations seek ways to make the lives of both IT managers and users easier. IT service desks can help on both accounts.
Providing a complete and wide view of service requests and tickets (and prioritizing these issues) is but one way the service desk alleviates some of the pressure on stressed and time-starved IT teams. But organizations can also create an end-user service portal providing self-service capabilities and automated responses to user requests.
For example, a routine request like a password reset isn’t time-consuming by itself, but multiply it by 10 requests per week, and it can easily become a taxing issue. A service portal allows users to easily sign in to the site from their device and access a self-service solution that empowers them to resolve the request on their own—taking the onus off the IT manager and saving both the manager and the user valuable time.
Though this type of case deflection won’t be applicable to all use cases, IT managers field many routine requests every day, ones an IT service management (ITSM) solution can easily handle. In any case, the service portal is a great one-stop resource for users to submit tickets and service requests, saving them from the trouble of placing a phone call or sending an email or chat message.
How Can Agencies Make the Transition From Help Desk to Service Desk?
Making the move from a traditional help desk to a true IT service desk will require agencies to rethink their processes. Like many things in the government space, traditional help desk operations are well ingrained in the federal IT ethos. Moving to a service desk mentality means relieving managers of some of the jobs and responsibilities they would normally do while freeing them up to do more value-added work.
For an IT service desk to be effective, it should be connected to systems throughout the organization. No need for silos here; all departments and employees should have access to the service desk, and a wide range of information should be made available to IT managers through the ITSM platform. As such, agencies will need to implement an infrastructure allowing their ITSM platform to easily integrate with the applications users depend on every day. By doing so, managers can quickly address issues wherever they reside.
Will IT Service Desks Replace Help Desks?
Let’s be clear: IT service desks will not replace help desks. Help desks will always be critical for maintaining consistent and reliable operations and fixing problems.
Instead, IT service desks will augment the traditional help desk model. They’ll make it easier for IT managers to field requests, manage tickets, and more while giving users a simple way to quickly get the services they need.
Visit our webpage to learn more information on key features on modern IT service management.