What is a Service Desk? - Actonic – Unfolding your potential
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What is a Service Desk?

A service desk is a central point of contact in an organization that provides a variety of IT services and technical support. It is a structured and organized unit that acts as a single point of contact (SPoC) and serves as an interface between users and IT department (or as an interface between customers and a company) following the best practices of IT service management.

The service desk is responsible for receiving, categorizing, prioritizing, and routing requests, problems, and incidents. It provides assistance in resolving technical issues, answers questions about IT services, receives service requests, and provides general advice and guidance to users.

Main tasks of a service desk

  • Receiving and forwarding requests, problems and incidents
  • Providing technical support and problem resolution to users
  • Answering questions about IT services
  • Recording and tracking service requests and incidents
  • Monitoring service-level agreements (SLAs)
  • Maintaining knowledge base of solutions and information
  • Analyzing incidents and service requests for improvements
  • Coordinating and communicating during maintenance or emergency outages

Types of Service Desks

In general, there are four different types of service desks:

  • Central Service Desk:
    • A central service desk is located at a central site or facility within an organization. All requests, problems, and incidents are received and handled at this location. The advantage of this approach is that the support team is physically close to each other, allowing a better collaboration and communication.
  • Local Service Desk:
    • A local service desk is distributed across specific locations or branches of an organization. Each location has its own service desk that is specifically responsible for the requirements and needs of the users there. This approach can be useful for providing more direct and rapid support to users at their respective locations.
  • Virtual Service Desk:
    • A virtual service desk exists in a virtual environment and operates remotely. Support staff can work at different locations or even from home. Communication with users takes place via various communication channels such as e-mail, chat, or telephone. This approach allows for more flexible working and can save costs by eliminating the need for a physical presence.
  • Follow the Sun Service Desk:
    • “Follow the Sun” refers to a support model where support is provided around the clock (24 hours a day) by having the support team located in different time zones around the world. Here, the support team works in different shifts so that excellent IT support can be provided around the clock.

Finding the right service desk software

To ensure the satisfaction of your customers and employees, it pays to use advanced service desk software. Jira Service Management (JSM) is one such software that lets you easily master functions like incident management, asset management, change management, and knowledge management.

It provides tools that allow you to prioritize and track incoming requests. It also facilitates communication with customers and implements your ITSM practices.

Want to know how to create meaningful reports on your service desk’s performance? Then discover our article: Successful Jira Service Management Reporting with Examples, or get advice from our consulting team.

What is the difference between a service desk and a help desk?

Many use help desk and service desk as synonyms. But the terms should be distinguished.

Main differences

Difference Help desk Service desk
Focus IT support and problems

  • User centered
Broader range of service requests and processes

  • Enterprise-centric
Type Tactical strategic
Scope Mainly IT-related Company-wide, beyond IT
Tasks Process individual requests Managing service requests and processes
Tools and functions Ticket systems, support tools Service catalogs, self-service portals, automation of service processes
Process management Focus on problem-solving Management of service processes and requests


A detailed overview of the specific tasks within a help desk can be found here: What is a help desk?

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