Help Desk vs Service Desk: What is the Difference?

Help Desk vs Service Desk: What is the Difference?

Help Desk vs Service Desk: What is the Difference?

Help Desk vs Service Desk: What is the Difference?

For a long time, there has been a mystery around how help desk and service desk are different. However, most industry experts seem to suggest that the distinction is probably more semantic. Despite this, there is a belief lingering out there that a help desk and a service desk are not the same.

Thus, in this post, we will briefly explore the differences and similarities between help desks and service desks. It will help you decide which function is more suited to your business and make the right choice.

What is an IT Helpdesk?

An IT help desk is typically seen as more strategic with the primary goal of quickly resolving end users’ immediate needs along with technical issues and incidents. The help desk is known to be reactive but is expected to be quick and efficient.

The IT help desk can be separate from or part of a larger service desk operation to improve the overall customer support services of an organization.

Some prominent traits of an IT helpdesk are:


  • Acts as a single point of contact for IT support.
  • Uses a tracking solution for all incoming incidents.
  • Automates ticket tracking, routing and email notifications.
  • Offers basic incident and service request management.
  • Offers integration with other IT services management practices such as configuration management and knowledge management.
  • Some areas/applications are supported by special groups outside of the help desk.
  • Provides levels 1 support and passes incident ownership if escalation is needed.
  • Displaying basic self-service options for end-users.

A toolset designed for an IT help desk is likely to provide support for incident and service request management. It also provides support for basic change enablement functionality. For small and medium organizations that rely comparatively lesser on IT, this is considered a sensible and cost-effective option.

Small businesses are known to have saved a significant amount of resources with the help of a simple IT helpdesk solution to support their customers. These organizations partner with outsourced IT support service providers to achieve this.

What is a Service Desk?

An IT service desk is generally a broader function that is more strategic and cross-organizational compared to an IT help desk. It focuses more on the wider business needs and contexts rather than being solely focused on resolving the user needs like a help desk.

A service desk manages incidents and service requests while handling communication with the users. It typically has a help desk component, but its overall goal is to be proactive in improving IT and business processes in the desired business organization.

The best service desks are constantly looking for opportunities to run all IT processes, including the help desk, more efficiently. Some important traits of the service desk are:


  • Providing complete integration with other IT service management processes.
  • Acting as a single point of contact for all IT areas, applications and business processes.
  • Tracking compliance with service level agreements (SLAs).
  • Providing a self-service capability for incident and service requests, with an integrated service catalog.
  • Integrating and communicating with the configuration management database.

How to Choose the Right Help Desk/Service Desk Tools?

Determining the type of software that you may use to facilitate the work done on your desk is a crucial thing. Based on industry knowledge, the best way of choosing the right help/service desk tools for your organization is to:

Keep it Simple:

It is important not to go overboard when choosing tools for your help desk/service desk. Understand the needs of your organization and find the tools that fulfill those needs. You need to remember that paying heed to the requirement is crucial here.

Start with Basic Tools:

Another thing you need to understand as a business owner is that state-of-the-art infrastructure is not for everyone. If you are still starting or finding your feet in the market, you can start with the basic tools that will work for the time being.

As the overall progress of your business improves, enhanced tools and technologies can contribute to your growth. It prevents you from spending a large amount on tools which can be a financial risk.


IT helpdesk and service desk are differentiated in the IT service management domain as described in this post. Businesses these days are benefitting greatly from outsourced IT support service providers. If you are looking for one to partner up with, Sapizon Technologies is an ideal choice.

Our unparalleled experience in the support domain has enabled us to render top-notch tech support services to our clients. We adhere to the best practices and focus on achieving customer success. For a detailed briefing, book a free consultation with our experts.


Let’s work together to make your business journey successful.