The Difference Between a Help Desk and a Global Service Desk

service desk or help desk

Some people say that a service desk and a help desk don’t differ very much and as we investigate into the history, we see the terms that were used then were interchangeable during the 2000s.  You can differentiate the two IT support areas with their backgrounds. The service desk is a new development of the help desk that’s being utilised by business IT support companies worldwide. It was born from the ITSM practice framework ITIL then based on the original concept idea of managing IT like a service.

The help desk is an IT support that arrived in the 1980s in order to fix all IT troubles that focus on the actual IT instead of the end-user and with no targets for the repairs and the immediate solutions were not frequent. In the 2011 ITIL glossary the definition for a service desk is a single point of contact from the users and service providers. The desk is able to manage problems and any service requests that come in and handle all communication with its users.

Here are a few ways that show the difference between a service desk and a help desk:

  • A help desk arrived as mainframe computing IT was born/
  • A help desk is able to provide help, but a service desk provides you with actual service, so there is a focus on the service delivered to the end-users with the impression of customer service. 
  • A help desk is focused on incident management, but a service desk can assist with more than a break and fix but also requests for information and requests for new services. There is still no explanation of why a help desk cannot offer such capabilities.
  • A help desk can be considered as an offering of subcategories for the global service desk abilities by different people.
  • The help desk was added to existing IT activities. The service desk, however, is a service-based IT service that delivers personalised help; an IT support system that has been moulded around the Service life cycles. People believe the term global service desk is used over the basic help desk, so the global service desk becomes a help desk that is merely created within the ITIL mould.
  • For the ones who follow ITIL, the help desk is seen as an old-fashioned system rather than the global service desk modernised. How this has been thought up no one knows. It may have been from the ITIL based marketing of the ITSM tools and the different service based ITSM offerings or even to go as far as the term ‘help desk’ being absent from the ITIL publications.

The fact is that everyone will have an opinion on what the difference is between the two. One person’s idea of a global service desk is someone else’s idea of a help desk. There is just no one-definition that is accepted across the board. The people from one system will have a varying opinion on the opposite and this will vary from company to company.