Businesses that are run with visionary approaches grow fast and outlive their competitors. Therefore, every step you take, even the tiniest one, to grow your business should coincide with your future plans and aspirations.

Usually IT-support capabilities for a business are either named a “service desk” or a “helpdesk”. Both the names apparently have the same meaning. But the names are not exactly the same. They have originated from different concepts and each tells a different story about the role and responsibilities of your IT company and what your customers can expect.

To start with, the term “service desk” has an official definition whereas “helpdesk” has none. In the following paragraphs, IT professionals in London explain the differences between the two terminologies for your convenience.

Looking back to history

According to professionals providing IT support services in London, during the early 2K the terms “IT help-desk” and “IT service desk” were often used interchangeably. Back then the IT industry was growing rapidly and most professionals working in it were fresh and inexperienced in their domain.

But the term “IT helpdesk” existed as early as 1980s. Back then an IT helpdesk was more of one department that helped businesses maintain optimum functionality of their IT resources. In other words, IT helpdesks were more involved in IT itself than in end-users. The responsibilities of early IT helpdesks were limited to basic ticket management, fulfilling customer-service requests, incident resolution and others.

The concept of IT service desk originated later. According to the official definition, a service desk is a single point of contact between a service provider and end-users. Therefore, apart from managing customer-service requests and incidents, a service desk also handles communication with users for a business. Gradually the large organizations adopted the term “service desk” and made it more popular by 2015.

Helpdesks versus service desks

Many people make incorrect use of the words “strategy” and “tactics”. A strategy is a long-term, high-level planning involving complex procedures, decision-making processes and activities that govern tactical decisions. Tactics – on the other hand – refers to short-term, concrete plans to facilitate a strategic objective. 

In order to achieve success, businesses need both high-level strategic thinkers and capable tacticians. In IT sector, a service desk is concerned with organizational strategy and a helpdesk follows a tactical approach to fulfill requests and to handle tickets for incident management. Service desks deal with the overall strategic needs of businesses rather than just on short-term problem solutions.

Core difference between helpdesk and service desk

Service desk plays the critical role in how an organization manages the overall IT-related aspect. It reviews overall IT processes and functionality with the objective of continual improvement.

In contrast to that helpdesk limits its concerns within end-user functionality, catering to incident management and escalation services that help resolving customer issues or requests within earliest possible time frames.

Call handling is the core responsibility of many organizational helpdesks. Typical helpdesk responsibilities also include resolution of tickets on time, escalation of tickets when more resources are needed than what level-one helpdesk executives have access to.

Optimizing helpdesk systems ensure wait times are minimized, decisive solutions are delivered earliest and smooth maintenance of overall IT functioning of a business organization. This is achieved through ticket management system, which handles incidents and manages requests.   

It is possible for helpdesks and service desks to exist simultaneously in an organization, provided they shoulder different responsibilities. Helpdesk functions include Tier 1 IT support and include activities like request handling and incident management.

The functions are then included into the responsibilities of service desk. The typical responsibilities of service desks mostly include strategic initiatives like software licenses, managing change requests, configuration and availability of services, maintenance of contracts and much more.

Separating helpdesks and service desks

 IT helpdesks are meant to resolve immediate needs of end-users. It works more as a break-fix solution, something is broken you approach helpdesk and log a ticket to fix the problem. Helpdesk software performs the following:

  • Providing ticket management
  • Tracking IT and some self-service options for end-users

On the other hand, helpdesk teams are divided based on their level of technical expertise and ability. Each team deals with computing issues, networking issues, telecom issues, server issues and likewise respectively.

A service desk functions best when a service catalogue is in place. A service catalogue lists the services that the organization or department offers. It also provides information about how to access resources and services.

Service desk is integrated with a number of processes related to IT service management. However, both helpdesks and service desks have one thing in common and that is facilitating communication. Moreover, both offer a single port of contact for all IT-related issues and offer just one communication platform for customers and IT department.

Reasons to maintain the difference between helpdesks and service desks

Small businesses that are in the process of developing their IT service capabilities usually identify themselves as helpdesks. Similarly, large organizations in compliance with ITIL prefer using the terminology service desk. Businesses that have service desks are mostly found to possess the capability of stretching their capabilities beyond request fulfillment and incident management.

It is important to use the terms helpdesk and service desk correctly for every business. The terms have different meanings and when you use them interchangeably, you’re either overstating or understating your system capability.

Benefits of service desk software

The approach to building service desk software has changed significantly in the recent times. Businesses are looking forward to building a comprehensive IT department that provides strategic thrust. Robust service desk software:

  • Possess the ability to streamline and automate IT service delivery
  • Facilitates ITIL process support
  • Offers an intuitive platform for ticket management and incident tracking
  • Includes a powerful IT service catalogue and
  • Provides an integrated IT management

Totality Services offers fully managed IT support for small businesses in London. Experienced IT professionals associated with the reliable IT service-provider point out that basic helpdesk software may suit the needs of organizations that have very limited IT needs, but ultimately it is service desk software that automates all the crucial IT-related aspects and help businesses grow.