What is a help Desk? Why is it important?

Have you ever wondered what a Service Desk is, or why your IT department needs a Help Desk? In this series of articles, I will discuss both solutions in detail.  You may have also wondered what the difference between a help desk and a service desk is. In this first article in our four-part series on the help desk, I will discuss important features that must be available in any help desk solution you investigate. At the end of the article, I will leave you with a quick request.

help desk


The series of four articles will address the following common questions.

I will address each question in a separate article. Follow our four-part series to gain a better understanding of the characteristic differences between the Service Desk and Help Desk.

What is a Help Desk and Why Is It Important to Your Business?

A Help Desk is a resource used by the IT department to log the calls for assistance from the organisation’s users. In most cases, the users are your internal staff. However, in some business models, the user base may be external. It is also important to note that Help Desk solutions are fundamentally similar, as they all have a mix of default features. The correct solution for your organisation will depend on the feature set that best meets your business requirements.

Reasons to Invest in a Help Desk

There are many reasons why an organisation invests in a Help Desk solution. Top of the list will be some or all of the following:

  1. Not attending to user requests within the service level agreement.

    When your help desk agents cannot cope with the volume of calls you receive, and your service level agreement not being met, then it is time to consider a professional Help Desk

  2. Low customer satisfaction.

    Poor customer satisfaction is a constant criticism from all users of support received from the IT department. All too often an inefficient call logging solution is hampering the ability of the help desk agent to complete the call timeously. By giving the user the ability to log and view their calls via a web-based self-service module will certainly improve customer service and user satisfaction. Read the article “Empower Users with Track-It! Self Service

  3. Repetitive questions.

    You can easily create a knowledgebase using help desk software. With resources like video tutorials or a FAQ section, you can provide answers for the repetitive questions submitted to your help desk agents. Furthermore, the knowledgebase can be split into a user and technician section, with each section containing articles relevant to the particular group of users accessing it.

  4. You are using too many software tools.

    You have moved beyond the email-only help desk solution and invested in tools that assist your agents in streamlining their work. However, not all the tools you use communicate with each other, resulting in a duplication of tasks and the likelihood of multiple system failures.

  5. Management reporting is a nightmare.

    Generating monthly management reports on the status of the help desk is a challenge or even impossible without the correct reporting tool. Difficulty producing management reports is another reason to consider a professional help desk solution that supplies reports addressing all the critical control criteria. Read our article Business Metrics For The Service Desk

Features to look for in a Help Desk

There is a core set of features that a good help desk must contain. These include the following:

  • Ensure that issues are correctly logged, assigned and actioned within a tracking process system.
  • Maintain a central database of client details and help desk history.
  • Automatically assign issues to the relevant department or person responsible
  • Notify the user when the right support staff is assigned the issue.
  • Allowing employees to log calls and view the status of existing calls using a Self-Service

Modules that are most commonly needed

The following modules are core requirements for most help desk solutions. However, the level of ITIL compliance does vary between solutions.


It is important to select the help desk solution that addresses your organisation’s business requirements. Remember, the one-size-fits-all rule does not apply when choosing a help desk. Not every organisation will require the same feature set; that is why we offer more than one Help Desk solution, each catering to a different business needs. For more information about the help desk solutions we provide, visit the IT Operations page of our website.


The power and sophistication of your IT Help Desk have the ability to make-or-break your IT staff morale. Similarly, the user acceptance of an organised help desk will have a positive effect on the productivity and morale of your end users. Likewise, failing to acknowledge the necessity of a help desk, will lead to a loss of productivity and decreasing the morale of your IT department and User department.

My Request

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, I have a quick request, and here it is. Please fill in the form below, with your name, email address and your help desk problem. One of our experienced consultants will contact you to discuss your business requirement and offer you our professional assistance. The best part is, this will not cost you a cent.

Please share this article with your network, and follow us on Twitter @OnsoftSA to be notified about the next article in the series.

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