Evolution of the Help Desk

The help desk can be traced back to the early days of computing when businesses began to rely on technology to automate their operations. As computer systems grew more complex, it became necessary to have a dedicated team of information technology (IT) professionals to manage and support them. The first help desks were staffed by IT specialists who provided technical support to end users via phone or email.

While we still equate the help desk with information technology, the services offered have changed significantly. Today’s help desks are multifaceted and assist in the areas of human resources, finance, benefits, and facilities in addition to tech. The help desk has become the face of most organizations as they are the first team employees engage with during onboarding and typically the last team when offboarding. 

There has been a significant shift towards automation, self-service and a streamlined, omnichannel method of communication with help desk staff. Many organizations now offer self-service portals where users can log their own incidents and service requests, and automated tools can be used to diagnose and resolve common issues. This has reduced the workload of help desk staff and increased the efficiency and speed of service delivery.

Organizations need a structured approach to managing services in order to deliver high quality. The adoption of frameworks like IT service management (ITSM), knowledge-based services, and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) have enabled help desk teams to better serve their customers. In this series, we will look at various operating improvements that help desk operators, managers and agents can implement to ensure continual transformation and an enhanced customer experience from the help desk.