Roles and Responsibilities of the IT Service Desk?

Read time 5 mins

IT service desk provider

The world of IT is full of jargon that’s easy to conflate and confuse. That’s why, before we take a closer look at the various roles and responsibilities of IT service desk providers. In particular how it can add tangible business value to your organisation. It’s important we distinguish between the following:  

  • Service desk (or “IT service desk”) 
  • Help desk (or “IT help desk”) 
  • ITSM (“IT service management”) 

The IT service desk differs from the help desk in that help desks were originally designed to focus on IT fixes and troubleshooting, with emphasis on assisting organisations’ internal IT teams rather than end users. 

Service desks, on the other hand, are much more user focused (the key is in the name, they provide service). Service desks usually prioritise KPIs such as first contact resolution, acting, according to the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), as ‘the single point of contact between the provider and the users’.

IT Service Management (ITSM) is simply how IT teams manage the end-to-end delivery of IT services to customers. This includes all the processes and activities to design, create, deliver, and support IT services.

In other words, whilst the role of an IT service desk may sound similar to a help des, service desks are much more strategic and proactive when it comes to improving IT processes. The service desk is, a ‘strategic and meaningful window into your employees’ world. It allows organisations to understand how the systems in place really perform for end users and how this all measures up against business goals.


A closer look at the role of the service desk 

The overarching goal of the IT service desk provider is to control the Incident Management process. Naturally, this involves user query and issue handling as well as communicating with users to ensure services are restored as quickly as possible. However, an efficient service desk should also play a key part with the following roles and responsibilities:

Optimisation and quality improvement service desks play a large role in ensuring IT processes continually improve. Delivered via analysis, reviews, and reporting, as well as through automation, user education and knowledge sharing. 

Indeed, consistent monitoring and proactive detection of issues can help service desks keep organisations ahead of the curve. By responding to events before they become too problematic or costly they can help organisation improve end user experience. Support teams also keep historical logs of various issues that affect the organisation, providing reports which show reoccurring problems and the financial or operative effect this has.  

The service desk will also be able to identify problems within a company’s infrastructure and suggest appropriate solutions that funnel resources where they will deliver most value. Enabling scalability and cost management is one of the best benefits of an efficient service desk, ensuring money isn’t wasted on unused resources by appropriately forecasting future needs.

Providing self-service tools 

Self-service and self-help tools, in the form of detailed knowledge bases, helps videos, and FAQs, are an effective way of allowing end users to find solutions without having to contact a service desk technician one-on-one. Many employees today grew up with digital self-help tools, so expect to be able to utilise these services to learn about new software, fix issues, or pick-up skills. Without this ability, organisations risk blocking the learning process and increasing dependence on IT support.  

Of course, in recent times, more employees have begun working from home, meaning that the use of self-service tools has never been so important. Furthermore, service desks that fail to offer self-service resources can result in increased service costs, slower support, and a much worse end-user experience overall. 

Improving efficiency 

An efficient service desk will enhance an organisation’s ability to operate efficiently, since it is, itself, built on consistent processes, proven solutions, and accurate prioritisation of issues.  

Serving as a centralised location for all end-users, the IT service desk helps companies to pinpoint issues, standardise processes, and instil coherence between different departments (think software versions, security tools, and other infrastructure components). Indeed, many service desks can create automated ‘rules’ that action certain things should another occur (e.g., notifying a suitable agent in the event of a particular issue) and consistency across the board allows service desk agents to constantly refine and improve their service overall.

Boosting productivity 

A strong service desk will understand the importance of First Contact Resolution (FCR), helping to quickly remove and solve any issues that employees encounter as quickly and efficiently as possible.  

Not only does this get end users back to work quickly, reducing both downtime and user frustration, but it also enables businesses to better plan and track their IT-related strategies. The ability to communicate with and find fixes for end users in a short amount of time is often due to the various capabilities and features of the service desk itself. These might include: 

  • Agent skills and experience 
  • Live chat support 
  • Detailed knowledge bases 
  • Ticketing systems 
  • AI-powered service assistants 

One key factor in increasing FCR and boosting productivity is modern service desks offering a live chat support function. While it’s true that most service desks are still contacted by phone and email, many are now using live chat, AI chat, and augmented reality to service users more efficiently.

Providing service excellence  

Users depend on IT professionals and technicians to support their daily activities, and visionary business leaders understand how important good customer service and strong user-centricity is for the organisation’s technology strategy. After all, poor IT service desks can undermine your workplace culture, gradually eating away at your employees’ morale and inspiration as complaints mount and fundamental IT/business tools aren’t easily accessible.  

As such, a strong and efficient service desk will measure user experience as part of their reporting metrics and continuously put user-experience first. For example, the service desk may offer users the ability to track the status of their tickets and receive helpful updates regarding their issue to reassure them that the ticket is being worked on.

Increasing communication and visibility 

Visibility is essential when it comes to IT – people need to be made aware of current technical issues, infrastructure upgrades, or software patches as and when they place.  

With the use of an IT service desk, visibility is increased throughout the company and service desks will be on-hand to provider user education and reassurance when it’s needed. 


The data analysis, reporting, and business insight opportunity brought about by the IT service desk is a major business benefit. Reporting helps organisations to gather data in order to make informed and strategic decisions when it comes to IT.  

By sharing metrics from the IT service desk with other departments and key stakeholders, organisations can easily spot and monitor incident trends. It also enables an organisation to see which employees require constant IT assistance, for example. This facilitates organisations being able to improve their IT provisions and employee training programmes and means they can funnel investment where it will have the best ROI.   

If you would like to discuss how Littlefish’s award-winning service desk can help you reduce costs, increase service quality, and support your transition to the modern workplace, feel free to contact us through our get in touch button.   

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