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Service Desk at Core of ITSM Initiatives

Enterprises are achieving cost savings and operational efficiencies through consolidation, process improvement and deployment of more robust technologies.
Apr 23, 2009

ITSM Watch Staff

The help desk has evolved beyond its role of simply recording and responding to IT user issues, according to a new study, The Aging Help Desk: Migrating to a Modern Service Desk, released by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA). Today's help/service desk is at the core of IT service management (ITSM) initiatives.

"EMA has long believed that the service desk represents an area of investment for the enterprise," said Lisa Erickson-Harris, EMA research director and study leader, in a press release. "Our research confirmed that even in this down economy companies view the help/service desk as a place where spending can drive returns through technology automation, the introduction of self-service and consolidation in operations."

Some of the key findings include:
  • Service Desk Part of Overarching ITSM Strategy: Sixty two percent (62%) of participants are either already making the help/service desk part of the company's overarching ITSM solution or are planning to move in this direction.
  • Use of Multiple Help/Service Desk Tools: Fifty six percent (56%) of respondents from large enterprises are managing or planning to manage multiple help desks. The vast majority of organizations managing multiple help/service desks will consolidate their operations.
  • Consolidating Service Desk with Corporate Customer Service: Integrating customer service operations with the IT service desk promises financial savings as both groups require similar training, tool sets, processes and automation capabilities. Thirty percent (30%) of respondents have been able to take advantage of this opportunity.
  • ITIL Disciplines Identified as Important: Sixty four (64%) of respondents have deployed or are planning to deploy ITIL v3. Incident, problem and change management are the most frequently-deployed ITIL disciplines and remain the most critical for help/service desk operations.
  • Service Catalog a Key Growth Area: Fifty six percent (56%) of respondents have already deployed or are planning to deploy a service catalog. Clearly, there is value in putting IT service offerings front and center in the hands of managers and users via the service catalog.
  • Self-Service a Top Priority: Self-service is a strong area of investment because of its ability to lower call volume and resolution time at the service desk. Surprisingly, only 32% of respondents indicated that they had already implemented password reset technology while 41% are planning to do so.

"While the help/service desk has a lot on its plate," Erickson-Harris said. "There are clear opportunities for significant operational cost savings. EMA believes that efforts to expand the footprint of the service desk will also improve the user experience and raise the credibility of IT throughout the organization."


For this study, EMA surveyed 158 IT professionals with help/service desk responsibility and familiarity with their organization's ITSM initiatives. This quantitative data was complemented by 14 in-depth telephone interviews. The research examined major initiatives taking place in corporate help/service desk operations and explored topics such as best practices, operational metrics, management priorities and integration needs.

best practices, ITSM, service catalog, service desk

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