Part 2: What is a Help Desk and why is it important to your company?

Have you wondered what a Service Desk is?  Are you curious as to how a Help Desk fits into your IT demands? Do you question what the differences are?  Would you like to know which one will benefit your company the most?

Chris Mackey, Product Services Manager

Join our four part series to gain a better understanding of the Service Desk, the Help Desk and the differences between them:

  • What is a Service Desk and why is it important to your company? (Posted Nov. 19)
  • What is a Help Desk and why is it important to your organization? (See below)
  • What are the critical differences between a Service Desk and a Help Desk?
  • When should you use a Service Desk vs. a Help Desk or do you need both?

 

 

Part 2: What is a Help Desk and why is it important to your company?

The key to technology helping a company is keeping IT functions available and operational for use as much as possible.  It is not possible to have 100% operational up time, so what is the best way to handle the times when they are not working?  One very valuable solution is a Help Desk.

What is a Help Desk and how is it implemented?

A Help Desk is a resource designed for IT users to contact when they are having problems with their IT services.  Help Desks institute a multi-tiered trouble shooting approach by having personnel with extensive technical knowledge available.

Implementation of this multi-tiered support varies widely within companies.  In one company it may be one person with a wealth of knowledge carrying a cell phone.  In another company it may be several people who perform some of the support in house and several people from another company that are contracted for additional support.  In another company it may be a multitude of people within their own company performing all levels of support.

What standards should be implemented by a best practices Help Desk?

The most strategic method of implementing a Help Desk is to follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices.  An ITIL best practices Help Desk must include:

  • Single point of contact (SPOC) for IT interruptions
  • Computer or Software consultations
  • Tracking capabilities of all incoming problems
  • Problem escalation procedures
  • Problem resolution

Implementation of best practices for Help Desk services is outlined in the Service Management best practices section of ITIL version 3.  Specifically these areas include:

  • Knowledge Management – A Help Desk should have a system that improves operational efficiencies by reducing the time spent to rediscover previous incidents or problems.
  • Problem Management – A Help Desk should have a system that gathers information during incident management to help spot problems.  This system will identify the root cause of frequent recurring incidents by capturing information in a knowledge base.
  • Access Management – A Help Desk should act as the keepers of the user accounts along with password resets.  Single ownership by the Help Desk will ensure quicker response time for end users with user or password problems.
  • Service Catalog – A Help Desk should have a published service catalog, ideally with pricing information included and with detailed service descriptions.

A Help Desk will assist in enabling an enterprise to meet their strategic goals.

Help Desks are implemented in many different ways, however by following the best practices outlined in ITIL v3, the Help Desk will meet the most important need of the end user, it will get them operational as quickly as possible.  In addition, by following the best practices, the Help Desk will enable the enterprise to have a foundation for the IT department not only to meet the needs of the end user, but for the IT department to link into strategic areas within the company.   Thus, the Help Desk will be one component in enabling the enterprise to meet their strategic goals.

Next week: What are the critical differences between a Service Desk and a Help Desk?

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