What is a service desk?


The service desk acts as a single point of contact between ICT and users, where they can submit enquiries, log incidents, obtain help and request change. The service desk not only handles incidents, problems and questions, but also provides an interface to users. Dealing with requests for equipment moves, software installations and help on how to use a system are typical service desk functions.

The single point of contact at the service desk can perform some aspects of financial management and configuration management while also helping with the production of reports and administrative functions in other areas of FITS.

Why a service desk?

Computer systems can grow very large from small beginnings. This often appears to happen overnight without being planned and takes users and technicians by surprise. Eventually the management and support of such an environment becomes very expensive, time consuming and frequently an exercise in futility.

There is nothing more frustrating than calling for technical support and getting passed around until you find the right person to speak to – provided, of course, they are not at lunch, on holiday or have just gone home.

Benefits of a service desk in a school

• A common way of logging incidents and requests means that users know who to contact when they need help, incidents only require reporting once and the right information is always collected.

• Using a common shared call log helps with incident resolution, tracking logged calls to resolution and monitoring service levels.

• Familiarity with hardware, software and infrastructure aids quick resolution of incidents, and ensures that users receive appropriate training and that software and hardware standardisation can be maintained.

Roles and responsibilities

Any school that needs to understand its technical support requirements will start with implementing a service desk.This will help to put all technical requirements through a single point of contact, enabling needs, and how they are currently being addressed, to be understood.

Who should staff the service desk

• A person with good interpersonal skills

• A person who is not providing technical support

• A person who is not necessarily technical but does need to be organised

• A person who could be performing another role (in a small school)

Remember the goal of the service desk is to enable the person providing technical support to concentrate on that work and not the details of how to log a call.

How to operate the service desk

Non-technical

If a non-technical person is staffing the service desk, they can solely log, track and update technical support calls. However, there is an opportunity to develop the role to encompass non-technical aspects of roles in other FITS processes including:

  • configuration management
  • database administrator
  • financial administrator
  • service continuity recovery team member
    • Technical

      If a person with technical understanding is staffing the service desk, they may be able to carry out incident management. In many cases, this would speed up incident resolution and reduce technician workload.

      What you should achieve through the service desk

      • A standard way of recording and logging incidents and requests

      • A method of communication between the user and technician via the service desk

      • Historical information about calls and failure rates of individual equipment

      • Reports and feedback on the calls logged and resolved

      • Knowledge about the time taken to resolve incidents and requests

      • Information about calls currently outstanding and how long they have been logged

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