Is the Service Desk a service

By ITIL® from Experience ©

Deciding if the Service Desk is a service is based on your perspective and I.T. strategy.

ITIL® states that the Service Desk is a function1 . As such it is a means to an end; a single-point-of-contact (SPOC) for Users to initiate or get status on an incident or request for service. Moreover, since Users cannot order a “Service Desk” it is easy to argue that it is not a service.

Likewise, in most organizations, the Service Desk is like the reception desk of a hotel. Using the reception or front desk is an integral part of consuming the service of the hotel stay since checking-in is required to consume the service. The fact that some hotels have enabled self-service check-in and check-out supports the fact that it is a function. The service is the room rental. The hotel reception is a means to an end.

However, in some organizations the Service Desk not only act as the point-of-contact for Users to access I.T. but also to access services from other groups. For example, some act as a point-of-contact for Building Maintenance to report burnt lights, defective doors or to request building access. In other cases the Service Desk provides first level support for the Application Development group, so that it does not have to setup its own point-of-contact and support processes. Both examples meets the definition of a service which is: “A means of delivering value to customers2 by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks.”3 In these examples, the customers are the Building Maintenance Unit and the Application Development group.

ITIL® Service Strategy mentions that value consists of utility and warranty (2007, p. 17). For the Service Desk utility

Utility: (ITIL Service Strategy) The functionality offered by a product or service to meet a particular need. Utility can be summarized as ‘what the service does’, and can be used to determine whether a service is able to meet its required outcomes, or is ‘fit for purpose’. The business value of an IT service is created by the combination of utility and warranty. See also service validation and testing.

Source: ITIL® glossary and abbreviations, English 2011 www.itil-officialsite.com/InternationalActivities/TranslatedGlossaries.aspx

is having the right mix of: business hours (e.g. 9 to 5, 24x7, follow-the-sun), linguistic capabilities, cost structure, types of service (e.g. onsite service, service counter for walkups, self-service), skill level (e.g. technical service desk or call-logging service), etc. The warranty

Warranty: (ITIL Service Strategy) Assurance that a product or service will meet agreed requirements.

Source: ITIL® glossary and abbreviations, English 2011 www.itil-officialsite.com/InternationalActivities/TranslatedGlossaries.aspx

means that it has enough infrastructure and staff to meet its SLA.

Moreover, the Service Desk has many attributes of a service like:

In addition, the following are examples of ITIL® processes used to manage the service called “Service Desk.”

ITIL ProcessExample of applicability to the Service Desk
- Request FulfillmentRequest for longer operating hours to support a unique Business situation
- Change ManagementThe impact of introducing a new service or modifying an SLA
- ConfigurationLocal or virtual, tiered levels
- AvailabilityMethods to ensure that it is available when the business needs it such as an overflow line or self-service
- Demand ManagementCharge back, self-service, policies to limit the duration of calls
- Capacity ManagementWelcome message in the telephone queue to increase wait time in order to reduce call overflow
- Financial ManagementBudget, accounting, costing and charge back models
- Service Level ManagementSupport Levels like Bronze, Silver, Gold
- IT Service Continuity ManagementBusiness Impact Analysis and Business Continuity Plan

Another advantage of treating the Service Desk as a service is that it can be included in the Service Portfolio. This ensures that it is taken into consideration during strategy discussions and decisions which may affect its fit-for-purpose4 .

Therefore, depending on the strategy, the Service Desk can be a combination of:

  1. Function,
  2. Service offered to the business (i.e. Business Service)
  3. Internal service offered to I.T. groups

With this in mind, the same conversation can be held regarding the Network Operations Control (NOC) or as ITIL® v3 calls it the IT operations control5 function.


More on Service Desk

ITIL Process > Service Catalogue Management
ITIL Process > Service Desk

 Plugin disabled
Plugin footnotearea cannot be executed.


Copyright 2013-2014 - ITIL from Experience - D.Matte