• Home
  • Blog
  • Service Desk Vs Help Desk: Which Is Better For You?

Service Desk Vs Help Desk: Which Is Better For You?

This blog will discuss the differences between a help desk and a service desk. These two desks have many differences, including how they are managed, what they offer their customers, and how they are staffed. This article will highlight the differences between these two types of desks, so you can make an educated decision about which one is best for your company.

There are many similarities between these two desks as well; in this article, Focal Upright will detail those similarities so that you’ll know exactly what it is like to work at either type of desk.

Service desk vs help desk, Which one would suit your needs? Let’s take a look!

Service Desk Vs Help Desk – General

IT is full of jargon. It can be difficult to keep track of all of the relevant processes, frameworks, and tools. There are three key terms that relate to IT support, which we often find misunderstood, confused, or confusing due to all the IT terms out there.

Service desk (or “IT service desk”)

Help desk (or “IT help desk”)

ITSM (“IT Service Management”)

Is it important to use the terms service desk, help desk, or ITSM when describing IT support? This is because you could be overselling your management capabilities, or underselling them to others.

What Is A Service Desk?

What Is A Service Desk?

ITIL defines a service desk as “The single point between the service provider, and the users.” Typical Service desk handles service requests and incidents, as well as communication with users.

This definition might seem too formal and vague. Here’s an easier way to put it: A service desk refers to a communication center that customers (e.g. Employees and other stakeholders) can seek help from their IT managed service providers. This help can be in the form of incident resolution, service request fulfillment, or other forms. However, regardless of the type of assistance provided, the ITIL service desk’s goal is to provide high-quality customer service in a timely fashion.

Many service desks also include multiple ITSM (IT service management) activities. A service desk may include ITSM activities such as incident management, service request management, self-service, and reporting. These activities often have strong connections to change and problem service management processes.

Customers can use an IT service desk to help them with service request management or incident resolution. It also creates and manages departmental information. Customers who wish to solve their own issues quickly and independently can access self-service. The tool provides metrics and data on the effectiveness of the team. Although service desks can include more or less of these functions, the main point is that they provide a solid, customer-focused, and reliable way to deliver help from IT to customers.

What Is A Help Desk?

What Is A Help Desk?

Merriam-Webster defines a help desk as “a group of people who offer help and information usually for computer or electronic problems.” Service desks place a greater emphasis on customer-centricity and service delivery than help desks.

While help desks may be limited to one ITSM activity, such as incident management or break-fix processes, service desks can cover a wider range of ITSM activities. In a sense, helpdesks can be considered a subset of service desks.

Don’t be confused if you are still unsure about the difference between a service desk or a help desk. We know that it can be difficult to distinguish between a service desk and a help desk. So we have tried to clarify the difference by comparing them all below.

Help desk support has many key features. It offers a single-point-of-contact (SPOC), IT support, incident tracking, and problem management. Problem resolution is possible through service level agreements (SLAs). End users can also access self-service options.

Self-service for service and incident requests. Integrating service catalog. Communicating with the Configuration management database (CMDB). A mature company with more complex IT systems, integrations, and a high reliance on its IT infrastructure will almost certainly need an ITSM solution that includes an integrated service desk function.

What Is ITSM?

IT service management, also known as ITSM, is how IT teams manage end-to-end delivery to customers. This covers all activities and processes involved in the creation, delivery, support, and maintenance of IT services. ITSM’s core concept is that IT should be delivered in service.

People often mistake ITSM for basic IT support because of their daily interactions with IT. ITSM teams manage all types of workplace technology. They can monitor everything from servers to laptops to software that is business-critical.

ITSM is generally made up of core processes as defined by ITIL, which is the most accepted framework or approach to ITSM. These are just a few examples of these core processes:

  • Service request management
  • Knowledge management
  • IT asset management
  • Incident management
  • Problem management
  • Change management

Some of these processes, such as IT asset management, change management, and problem management, are not included in basic IT support. ITSM covers all activities that are involved in providing IT support to the business. ITSM’s scope is vast, but service desks, help desks, and other support functions are more specific and represent a smaller portion of ITSM.

What’s The Difference Between The Service Desk And The Help Desk?

The Difference Between The Service Desk And The Help Desk?

The service desk evolved from the help desk. It was born out of ITSM’s best practice framework ITIL (previously known as the IT Infrastructure Library) and is based on the idea of “managing IT like a service.”

IT-centricity (mainframe computing) was the birth of a help desk, while IT service-centricity was the birth of a service desk (the ITIL-espoused approach of delivering IT as a service).

Although it may seem trivial, many people will argue that a help desk provides assistance, while a service desk provides support, i.e. A service desk focuses on providing a service to customers with some customer service.

A help desk is focused on breaking-fix (what ITIL refers to as incident management), while a service desk assists with both break-fix and service requests (requests to new services) or information requests (such as “how do you do X ?”).?” There is no reason why a helpdesk can’t offer these additional capabilities, other than IT terminology trends.

The help desk was an addition to IT activities. However, the service desk is part and parcel of a service-based IT service delivery model and IT support ecosystem that revolves around “the service lifecycle”. This is probably why the service desk was replaced with the help desk in ITIL.

ITIL experts will tell you that a help desk can be tactical and a service desk strategic. These definitions will vary from one organization to the next.

One might consider a help desk as providing a subset of service desk capabilities, or as being limited in scope through statements like “the evolution from help desk to service desk.”

How Service Desk And Help Desk Options Can Affect Your Business

While both service desk and help desk are essential for successful companies, they don’t necessarily require them both. A help desk is a great option for smaller businesses that don’t require a wider service desk. It can address all business needs and offer immediate IT support. Effective help desk support leads to more productive business practices, which in turn helps business operations grow.

Businesses that place emphasis on their corporate strategy and value optimal IT functionality will find a service desk very useful. To address specific issues and needs, each component of IT processes is analyzed at a software and process level. You can embed help desk options in a service desk to provide comprehensive IT support that addresses all aspects of business operations.

How Service Desk And Help Desk Options Can Affect Your Business

The Importance Of Service Desk And Help Desk Tools

The service desk approach is important for any team. It is essential to choose the right software for your company. The service desk acts as an interface between customers, IT staff, and other departments. While reporting and knowledge management are essential features in a service desk solution, you also need a service desk that is easy to use, allows collaboration and can adapt to your specific needs. This will allow your IT team to provide excellent support and add value to your business quickly.

Even if your IT team uses the help desk approach to problem-solving, it is important that you have a tool that allows you to keep track of which issues are being addressed and who is doing what. Your IT team will be more transparent, efficient, and collaborative with a dedicated help desk tool.

Service Desk Vs Help Desk: Which Is Right For You?

You now know the differences between the service desk and the help desk. It is important to choose the one that meets your needs.

Help desk software is a good option for small- to medium-sized businesses looking to improve customer service and employee satisfaction. If you have a large IT service management infrastructure you may be able to opt for dedicated service desk software. Know what features you require and compare the software available.


This blog post will discuss the differences between a help desk and a service desk. This article will be a valuable resource to help you make decisions for your future customer service teams. Reach out if you have any questions about customer service or need help deciding what type of service is best for your business.