The tech department is no longer just the tech department. It is split into various sections, all designed for specific functions within the organization. Naturally, the larger the organization, the more sub-sections are required to keep it running functionally and efficiently.
Within this framework, ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) defines IT service management (ITSM). Within IT service management is the IT service desk. Here are the definitions of each and how each fits within the overall infrastructure of the IT department.
ITIL is a standardized set of practices for ITSM. ITIL describes the processes, procedures, and tasks of ITSM. ITIL is not specific to any organization, but it can be applied to any organization in order to establish the organization’s tech strategies. The goal of ITSM is to assure that the IT department is delivering value to its users and customers. It provides a baseline for the IT department to plan, implement, and measure its strategies and accomplishments.
Defining IT Service Management
As defined by ITIL, ITSM is a process-based approach that aligns the delivery of tech services with the needs, goals, and priorities of the organization as a whole. ITSM is focused on the customers and customer experiences, designed to deliver the technology needed and established to provide value to the customers. Essentially, ITSM provides the technology needed to get things done so the customer doesn’t have to worry about the underlying IT infrastructure that supports the workload.
Defining the IT Service Desk
The service desk operates under the umbrella of ITSM. The service desk is also defined by ITIL, and is established to set up a single point of contact where the users and the IT department can communicate on technical issues. The service desk is sometimes confused with the help desk, and the terms are commonly used interchangeably in blogs and by the media, but the two are not the same.
So, What’s the Difference Between IT Service Desk and IT Help Desk?
The help desk is primarily outwardly focused — with constant and direct communications on the external customers. The service desk can be inwardly focused (on internal business operations) or outwardly focused. Some businesses have both a service desk and a help desk, while others suffice with only one. The help desk is a tactical instrument, whereas the service desk is strategic. In other words, the help desk deals with immediate issues, while the service desk works toward better overall strategies to help eliminate problems and streamline tech services.
Together, all of the services and processes defined by ITIL set up a cohesive IT department that can manage a variety of workloads, from planning the tech needed for the future to addressing the immediate needs of users and customers. These complex processes would be nearly impossible (or at least prone to errors) without software to help manage the workflow. ITSM software and IT service desk solutions allow organizations to automate many of these processes for a simplified, streamlined workflow.
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