Press Release

Service Desk Benchmarking Report Highlights the Accomplishments and Challenges of UK University Serv

March 19, 2014 - Royal Wootoon Basset, U.K.

Royal Wootton Bassett, U.K. - A new report from UCISA, the Service Desk Institute (SDI) and Cherwell Software reveals that service desk professionals at UK higher education institutions (UKHEs) lead their wider industry peers in regards to the use of social media, support for BYOD, industry best practices and service desk staff recognition.


The first of its kind, the UKHE Service Desk Benchmarking Report captures the challenges and accomplishments of service desks within the higher education sector. With increased tuition fees, funding cutbacks, a student population born at the start of the Internet era and the consumerisation of IT, this sector faces a number of tough challenges, including high customer expectations.


Key highlights from the report include:

  • 81% provide help towards qualifications compared to 65% of the wider industry;
  • 80% of UKHE service desk staff will enhance their careers with formal qualifications within the next 12 months;
  • 70% of UKHE service desks have adopted ITIL® best practice frameworks compared to 62% for the industry;
  • 57% use Twitter®, and 27% use Facebook®, to communicate with their customers.

UKHE Service Desk Managers report their top challenges for 2014 include dealing with increasing business demand for services combined with managing customer expectations. “Improving what we have” is the top service desk priority for the 2013/2014 academic year.


"This sector is a vastly interesting one to study and benchmark," says Peter Tinson, executive director of UCISA, the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association. "UK universities continue to face massive funding cuts, but they are also being asked to deliver more so it’s interesting to see how service desks are rising to the challenge and meeting the growing IT demands from their customers."


In regards to BYOD, one of the biggest trends in the service desk space, the HE sector lies way ahead of its counterparts in the wider industry; 42% of respondents in SDI’s wider benchmark report support BYOD compared to 92% of respondents in the UKHE benchmarking survey. The biggest BYOD challenges identified by UKHE service desk professionals include: managing expectations, determining the extent to which user owned devices will be supported, and data/information security.


Despite the growing accomplishments of UKHE service desks, only 38% have formal, written SLAs with their customers, a much lower percentage than the generic cross industry benchmarking report produced by SDI during October 2013, which showed 63% of service desks having SLAs in place.


The UKHE Service Desk Benchmarking Report was produced following a survey of UK universities and higher education colleges during October and November 2013, which drew close to 100 responses. The survey questions included those based on the SDI’s wider industry benchmarking survey (carried out every other year) combined with questions specific to the higher education industry.

Click here to download a  full copy of the report, and an infographic .

About Cherwell Software

Cherwell (@Cherwell) empowers organizations to transform their business through the rapid adoption and easy management of digital services. Cherwell’s adaptable platform has enabled thousands of organizations to modernize their business operations with customizable service management, automation, and reporting across the enterprise. For more information, visit: