Service Desk Definition

In our discussions and posts on service desk, we employ the ITIL definiiton of a service desk. And where we reference ‘help desk’, we also intend to mean service desk. For ease, the ITIL definition for service desk is:

Service desk

The service desk is one of four ITIL functions and is primarily associated with the Service Operation lifecycle stage. Tasks include handling incidents and requests, and providing an interface for other ITSM processes. Features include:

  • single point of contact (SPOC) and not necessarily the first point of contact (FPOC)
  • single point of entry
  • single point of exit
  • easier for customers
  • data integrity
  • streamlined communication channel

Primary purposes of a service desk include:

  • incident control: life-cycle management of all service requests
  • communication: keeping a customer informed of progress and advising on workarounds

The service desk function can have various names, such as:

  • Call center: main emphasis on professionally handling large call volumes of telephone-based transactions
  • Help desk: manage, co-ordinate and resolve incidents as quickly as possible at primary support level
  • Service desk: not only handles incidents, problems and questions but also provides an interface for other activities such as change requests, maintenance contracts, software licenses, service-level management, configuration management, availability management, financial management and IT services continuity management

2 Responses to Service Desk Definition

  1. Huyen says:

    Please answer for me some question…

    – What is the sub-function of Service Desk? Interface of Service Desk with other ITIL’s function?
    – Flows internal function in Service Desk? Describe? Analysis? Interaction with external?
    – Overall model of Service Desk? Interface with user? with other function?

    I don’t know this

    Sorry if I’m incorrect English grammar
    Thank you very much!

    • Jim D says:


      I recommend first to check out service desk definitions on Wikipedia in their ITIL section. It is pretty complete and I think helpful. Feel free to email me again for more detailed or additional questions after you have perused this material. And your English is just fine (especially for engineers 🙂 ).

      Best, Jim Ditmore

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