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Standardize the Service Desk of Managed Service Providers

Build a value-driven, efficient, and profitable service desk.

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Do you experience any of these challenges:

  • Not able to meet customer demands and deliver on agreed metrics or KPIs.
  • Lack of, or inefficient, documentation, processes, and policies.
  • Lack of collected data for ticketing system/ticket notes.
  • Lack of coherent communication and delays in response time.
  • Lack of scalability to meet the increased demand.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • For MSPs, the standardized service desk provides an opportunity to become a trusted partner in IT.
  • Add value to clients by transforming your help desk into a service desk.
  • Continuously focus on people, processes, and technology improvement.
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) and service level agreements (SLAs) are vital.
  • Price your service desk offering based on the value.

Impact and Result

  • Increase profitability and business growth.
  • Deliver better customer satisfaction and experience.
  • Improve your service desk in three areas: people, processes, and technology.
  • Build a tiered service desk model based on the customers and market.
  • Differentiate your service desk offering and stay competitive among peers in the market.

Standardize the Service Desk of Managed Service Providers Research & Tools

1. Standardize the Service Desk of Managed Service Providers – This storyboard will help MSPs to build a standardized and modernized service desk that will be efficient, value driven, and profitable.

Leverage this storyboard to standardize and modernize the service desk of MSPs that delivers high customer satisfaction and experience. A standardized service desk enables MSPs to grow businesses and stay profitable by focusing on and improving people, processes, and technology.

2. Incident Management and Service Desk SOP – A template designed to help service managers kick-start the standardization of service desk processes.

Document process and role expectations to drive consistent and effective incident response.

3. Service Desk Roles and Responsibilities Guide – An analysis tool to determine the right roles and build ownership.

Use the RACI template to determine roles for your service desk initiatives and to build ownership around them. Use the template and replace it with your organization's information.

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Standardize the Service Desk of Managed Service Providers

Build a value-driven, efficient, and profitable service desk.

Analyst Perspective

Leverage your service desk offering to grow your managed service provider (MSP).

A service desk offering is one of the core IT services that MSPs provide to their clients, contributing notably to their business revenue. Usually, not enough attention is paid to standardizing and modernizing the service desk due to multiple challenges and obstacles within the organization. This results in the loss of untapped opportunities for business growth, better customer experience and value delivery, and more revenue with increased profit margins.

To standardize and modernize the service desk, MSPs must focus on three areas:

  1. People: Build a team of the right people with the right soft and technical skills and training.
  2. Process: Emphasize improving the documentation and implementing standard operating procedures and guidelines at various steps in the defined and tiered service desk.
  3. Technology: Leverage AI and automation to empower your service desk team and boost operational efficiency.

Improvement in these areas enables MSPs to successfully deliver on key performance indicators (KPIs) and comply with service-level agreements (SLAs) for different clients. Overall, this storyboard will help MSPs to build a standardized and modernized service desk that will be efficient, value driven, and profitable.

Photo of Brijesh Kumar

Brijesh Kumar
Research Specialist, Industry Practice
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

Not able to meet customer demands and deliver on agreed metrics and KPIs.

Lack of, or inefficient, documentation, processes and policies.

Inefficient ticketing system and lack of collected data for ticket notes.

Lack of coherent communication and delays in response time.

Lack of scalability to meet the increased demand.


Unable to scope expectations of the customer before finalizing SLA.

Lack of soft and technical skills suitable to roles.

Absence of framework or workflows to implement processes and policies.

Lack of latest service desk tools with automation and artificial intelligence ability.

Shortage of technical expertise and headcounts.

Info-Tech’s Approach

Understand why organizations outsource their service desk and what are their expectations.

Differentiate your service desk and recognize how it is different from the help desk.

Continuously focus and improve on three areas: people, processes, and technology.

Build a profitable and tiered service desk model.

Info-Tech Insight

Businesses become more efficient and effective when they explore outsourcing their IT services and service/help desk support. Customer experience is the top business growth driver. MSPs must focus on improving KPIs to provide the best customer experience.

Insight summary

For MSPs, the standardized service desk provides an opportunity to become a trusted partner in IT

MSPs play a crucial role and are perceived as strategic business partners by their clients because of the different engagements at various levels. The service desk is one of the essential IT services that organizations outsource to MSPs. A standardized and modernized MSP service desk helps fulfill customers’ business goals and objectives, making the MSP a trusted IT partner.

Add value to clients by transforming your help desk into a service desk
A proactive approach at the service desk is the key differentiator from the help desk and adds the most value to clients because some of the issues or incidents are resolved before they arise for end users. Customers are willing to pay more for the value that the service desk delivers to clients in comparison to the help desk offering.

Continuously focus on people, processes, and technology improvement
Focus on the three core areas – people, process, and technology – to standardize and modernize your service desk. Continuous improvement in these areas aims to deliver elevated customer satisfaction and experience, which translates into customer retention, business growth, profitability, and scalability.

Key performance indicators and service level agreements are vital
The specific KPIs and SLA compliance are essential measures of the service desk performance of MSPs. It is crucial to revisit and update the SLAs periodically with clients based on their requirements since businesses in different industry verticals continue to evolve in the dynamic market environment

Price your service desk offering based on the value
The best practice to cover a different segment of customers in the market is to offer a three-tier model service desk. This model must offer three kinds of service desk offerings, where the pricing will reflect the value delivered to the client.

MSPs are positioned for growth

Organizations are relying more than ever on MSPs for IT services.

MSP Market

A diagram that shows the amount of MSP market in 2021 and 2028.

MSPs’ global market is rapidly growing at a compound annual growth rate of 11.8%. This growth is a result of several reasons, such as cost reduction, improvement of operation efficiency, IT support, and focus on strategic initiatives.
— Source: GlobeNewswire, 2022

Businesses’ Dependence on MSPs

A diagram that shows 60% of businesses are dependent on MSPs.

More than 60% of businesses are dependent on MSPs for their IT services to stay competitive and stay ahead of competitors.
— Source: GlobeNewswire, 2022

MSPs Mainstay Service Offerings

A diagram that shows 6 different MSPs Mainstay Service Offerings.

Help desk/IT support, network, and cloud services are the top three services offered by MSPs to small and medium-sized companies which outsource their IT services.
— Source: CompTIA, 2022

The service desk is essential to organizations

Business stakeholders rank the service desk as one of the most important core IT services.

Important IT services for business stakeholders:

  1. Network & Comm. Infrastructure
  2. IT Security
  3. Service/Help Desk
  4. Data Quality
  5. Business Application
  6. Devices
  7. Client Facing Technology
  8. Analytical Capabilities
  9. IT Innovation Leadership
  10. Work Orders
  11. Projects
  12. IT Policies
  13. Requirement Gathering

— Source: Info-Tech, CIO-BV Diagnostics 2022 (N=1,582)

Photo of CIO Business Vision

The Info-Tech CIO Business Vision diagnostic helps businesses to identify what is important to them as well as business stakeholders’ satisfaction with core IT services to the organization.

Learn more about the CIO Business Vision Program

Organizations are outsourcing the service desk to MSPs

There are many advantages to outsourcing the service desk.

Outsourcing Advantages

Bring in expertise and knowledge needed to manage tickets according to best-practice guidelines

Reduce timelines for response and resolution

Save on costs for hiring technical and engineers to manage the service desk

Improve productivity and performance by enhancing IT services

Strengthen relationships between IT and business through service level improvement

Flexibility to focus complex projects and higher priority tasks

Speed up desk optimization

Improve end-user satisfaction through efficient IT services

Reduce impact of incidents through effective incident management

Increase service consistency via turnover reduction

Expand coverage hour and access points

Expand languages to service different geographical areas

Outsourcing Disadvantages

Risk to data security if the MSP does not have stringent security measures

Potential misalignment of service desk staff with customers’ business goals and corporate culture

Communication issues arise when customers can not reach IT support with the desired communication channel

Less or no control over IT services, processes, and policies

Potential lower customer satisfaction due to IT services not meeting expectation

Lack of in-depth industry knowledge for certain technologies used in a specific industry

Outsourcing the service desk provides many benefits

A diagram that shows different benefits of service desk outsourcing.

Info-Tech Insight

To provide a service desk as an offering, MSPs must emphasize the benefits of subcontracting a service desk. By taking advantage of these benefits, MSPs can deliver greater value to their clients. MSPs can leverage the benefits offered to their clients to define their success and differentiate themselves among competitors. These benefits should be seen as opportunities by MSPs.

MSP clients have common areas of concern

Customers focus on how to avoid unpleasant service desk experiences with MSPs.

Client Knowledge
MSPs provide generic IT services/support with no deep knowledge and understanding of clients and their specific systems

Work Culture
Significant differences in work culture can be problematic and impact relations between customer and MSP staff

Focus on Growth
When the MSP focuses on growth and only growth, it can compromise the quality of the service desk services

Procedural Structure
Service/help desk providers often lack a procedural structure that is not aligned with internal structure and management

MSPs that lack documentation can have broken and inefficient processes, policies, and services

Hiring Approach
New staff are hired based solely on resumes and certificates, ignoring soft skills like problem-solving and communication skills

MSPs struggle to optimize their service desk

MSPs face challenges that impact the efficiency of their service desk and customer experience/satisfaction.

29% [of MSPs took a] long time to resolve IT requests — Slow response to support requests frustrates customers, and if the MSP is providing IT security services, it can increase security risks. Causes of slow support by MSPs can include using a poor remote support platform or a lack of efficient processes within the MSP technicians.”
– Action1, 2022

One in four SMB would leave their provider for IT service quality issues.
– Action1, 2022


Processes and policies

  • Lack of clear guidelines and standard operating procedures for technicians/personnel to create a uniform support experience.
  • Unable to identify gaps and inefficient areas to improve the help desk or service desk.


  • Lack of ability to document information that helps technicians to resolve tickets efficiently and do their job properly.
  • Lack of technology or tools that keep all documents sorted and in a central location.

Ticketing systems/Ticket notes

  • Lack of business and technical information to understand the impact of the issue on business success and the technical solutions to the issue can lead to inefficient prioritization of tickets.
  • Lack of information and steps if the same issue reoccurs and how it was resolved.


  • Not enough attention is given to the KPIs of the help desk and feedback/suggestions collected from clients after tickets get resolved, which help elevate your client and end-user experience.


  • Lack of ability to support more clients in different industry verticals due to limited industry knowledge and help desk support.
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Brijesh Kumar


  • Cristina Northcott, CEO, Business Strategist, ECLEVA
  • Caleb Collis, Strategy Officer, Electronics Strategies, Inc
  • Mahmoud Ramin, Senior Research Analyst, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Rob Redford, Practice Lead, Research – Industry, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Fred Chagnon, Principal Research Director, Industry Practice, Info-Tech Research Group
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