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About ITIL® V3’s Service Desk

ITIL Fulfillment RequestsWhen it comes to providing IT services, the IT Infrastructure Library® (ITIL®) is one of the most comprehensive frameworks an organization can use.

ITIL’s processes not only boost the production of services but they also define a single point of contact between users and IT – the Service Desk.

An Overview of the Service Desk

With the help of a Service Desk, IT providers and customers paying for a service will be able to interact more smoothly and efficiently. This adds value for the clients and improves the company’s performance. However, that isn’t the only purpose of the Service Desk. In fact, here are a few tasks that personnel working at the Service Desk will perform:

  • Entering and monitoring Incidents (An Incident is an unplanned interruption to an IT service or a reduction in the quality of an IT service.)
  • Applying short-term solutions to common, recurring errors while collaborating with Problem Management
  • Helping Configuration Management ensure that databases are updated
  • Assisting Change Management personnel with managing Changes that are requested
  • Identifying new opportunities while helping users and customers (e.g., discovering what features of a software clients like the most to be able enhance them)

The Structure of the Service Desk

The Service Desk should be accessible and able to provide high quality services, information, and support to users and the business. When creating the Service Desk, organizations use the following structures the most:

The Centralized Service Desk

Companies that choose the centralized Service Desk allocate a single, central structure for users to communicate with IT providers. This means that all customer service communications will be directed to a single, specific location.

Some organizations prefer this structure because it costs less, resources are used effectively, and managing a single Service Desk increases efficiency. However, this structure won’t be useful in multi-national companies which handle users from different countries. Plus, a centralized Service Desk won’t be as responsive to user needs from a specialized environment since more time will be spent on understanding the problem.

The Local Service Desk

A local Service Desk is situated close to the users it supports. For example, if a company has operations across the United States, it can have local Service Desks set up in various cities, such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Dallas, to name a few. If that company were to expand its operations to India, it can then set up local Service Desks in different cities in India, such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore.

This gives the company a visible presence in those areas and can support communication between users and the organization. A company may choose to set up local Service Desks to accommodate language and cultural differences, different time zones, or specialized groups of users. However, implementing this structure is expensive due to the personnel and infrastructure costs involved.

The Follow the Sun Service Desk

The Follow the Sun Service Desk structure works best for companies which offer services worldwide. In this structure, organizations will have Service Desks in different countries. However, those Service Desks will only be operational during the host country’s daytime. For example, requests will be handled by the U.S. Service Desk during the daytime hours in the U.S. and by the Indian Service Desk during the daytime in India, hence, the sun part in the “follow the sun” term.

This structure adds to the Service Desk’s reliability because if one Service Desk is down, another can take over. This, in turn, enhances customer satisfaction. Plus, since these Service Desks use VOIP and other technologies, their costs are generally less than other structures. However, coordination between the Service Desks is required.

The Virtual Service Desk

A Virtual Service Desk combines the features of centralized and local structures. This structure gives the feeling of a single, centralized Service Desk when, in reality, the personnel may be located anywhere in the world. Information is consolidated; thus, data won’t be duplicated, and costs will be reduced. Services can also be offered through local support teams, therefore, reducing turnaround times. As a result, customers will be more satisfied.

To learn more about Service Desks and how your company can benefit from them, enroll today in the ITIL V3 Service Operation Lifecycle course or the ITIL V3 Operational Support and Analysis (OSA) Capability course at Ashford Global IT!


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Mary is a leading trainer in Microsoft® and Business Applications.

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