Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
Resources, Best Practices, and Solutions for ITSM Pros

Is the Service Desk Dead?

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Is the IT Service Desk Dead Malcolm FryYears ago, in the UK, the music charts were called “The Hit Parade,” which reflected record sales and thus which singles were hits with every band vying for the coveted number one spot. When the charts were released each week, fans would debate the chart positions for hours. How else would you know what was cool? This concept still exists today except it now reflects digital downloads.

So what does this have to do with IT service management? Does the ITSM profession have numbers or charts to relate to and discuss?

After hours and hours of research, I have found something—the number of results returned when searching online for interesting ITSM topics.

On 22nd December 2014, I entered a search request for the expression ‘computer problems.’ I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was blown away by the results returned in less than a second.  What was that total? It was close to 800,000,000.

At the upcoming Pink Elephant IT Service Management Conference and Exhibition, I will be participating in a panel discussion that asks: Is the service desk dead? This question interests me because with roughly 800 million results for the expression ‘computer problems,’ it seems the service desk is very much alive!  Yes, this number may not be precise, but it still provides a quick rule of thumb.

Here are some other, interesting search results, which I have rounded up:

  • Computer problems: 800,000,000
  • Computer failure: 61,000,000
  • Computer outage: 11,000,000
  • Computer glitch: 9,810,000

I only typed in ‘computer glitch’ for fun because it is a popular term, but 9.81 million results was still a shock. Remember, these searches can fluctuate by time and location, but 9.81 million in less than one second is impressive.

What about the numbers for the Service Desk?  How about these:

  • Help Desk: 224,000,000
  • Service Desk: 102,000,000

Again, some breath-taking results. I’m not sure of the number of people who searched on both the Service Desk and the Help Desk but taking the extreme view by adding them together gives a cool 326 million results.

This provides a reality check because we have a long way to wait to see the service desk die.

Perhaps this figure gives us some perspective:

  • Reboot: 67,000,000

67 million people are searching on the term ‘reboot?’  Unfortunately, reboot is the first port call for many folks, but the question is: are they trying to fix a problem themselves…or…are they trying to by-pass the service desk?

So, to answer the question, is the service desk dead? No. And not until we recognize the size of the challenge.

If you’re attending Pink 15, come join the discussion. Oh, and you may want to conduct the same or similar online search that I did…just for fun.