What is an IT Service Desk?

Organisations everywhere are reliant on technology and software. Businesses couldn’t function without a robust stack of apps and IT services that support operational areas.

Behind these systems is the IT service desk, which could be an in-house or an outsourced provider. It supports everyone in an organisation and in many cases customers too. What is a service desk? Basically it’s the people you call when you need technical help.

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Service desks manage everything from incidents to implementation requests. Typical IT service desks evolve around the needs of an organisation: monitoring and maintaining the technology that makes work possible. As companies grow, the IT services they need to operate become more complex. More can go wrong, and looking after a wide range of technology involves multiple updates and upgrades that require the most effective service desks to take a proactive approach.

Why do companies need IT service desks?

In the 1990s, during the first technology boom, service desks started to make an appearance. It was a specialised area, focused on the software and hardware, not the end-user. Service desks were needed to fix and maintain the systems and computers companies started using as technology adoption became commonplace in workplaces around the world.

Back then, service desks didn’t operate with timescales to resolve problems. The user, or customer experience, wasn’t a high priority.

Over time, as the sector evolved, service desks started to put the user first. IT went from reactive to proactive. It is no longer just about troubleshooting. The most effective service desks find ways to make organisations more efficient, reduce operational costs and improve how staff work and the way companies support their customers. A great service desk is a strategic resource as much as it is an operational necessity.

What do service desk analysts do? 

First and foremost, a service desk team is the single point of contact for technical issues that need to be fixed. With organisations more reliant on technology than ever, downtime is something that we all want to avoid. IT service desk analysts work hard to resolve problems within an agreed timescale (SLA), minimising downtime to ensure that staff can get on with their work.

Alongside reactive support, service desk analysts implement changes organisations need, keep third-party software updated and working effectively, and can play an active role in improving operational efficiency.

The IT support team also provide tools and systems that make it easier for users to resolve some simple problems themselves. As technology has evolved, self-serve has become a useful option that automates some service desk functions. Staff can fix problems themselves and get on with work quicker, which means IT teams can focus on more complex challenges.

A great service desk, whether in-house, a hybrid solution or managed by an outsou