Which IT Support and ITSM Roles Does Your Organization Have and Need?

ITSM Roles
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When you stop to consider the IT support and IT service management (ITSM) bodies for best practice – such as ITIL, VeriSM, Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS), and the HDI Support Center Standard – you might get swamped by the amount of available guidance and the people, or roles, needed to deliver on it. So, if you’re a little confused by the common IT support and ITSM roles, then this article is for you – because I’m sharing the HDI common roles and definitions that are included in our annual “State of” reports (these three reports replace the annual HDI Practice & Salary reports and are available for free via HDI community sign up).

If you’re a little confused by the differences between common IT support and ITSM roles, check out this article by @RoyAtkinson. #ITsupport #ITSM Click To Tweet

Level 1 Support/Support Center Analyst

The frontline technical support professionals who receive and handle tickets. These professionals are responsible for providing customers with information, restoring service, providing specific services, and escalating tickets to a higher level of support. Other titles include service desk analyst, service desk agent, and help desk agent.

Level 2 Support

The technical support professionals who handle tickets that are escalated from Level 1. These professionals require greater technical skills and/or access rights than Level 1 Support. They’re typically technical specialists and may also be responsible for participating in root cause analysis of problems.

Level 3 Support

The technical support professionals who build, maintain, and/or enhance technical products and services. These professionals are typically engineer-level staff. They’re involved when the ticket cannot be resolved by either Level 1 or Level 2, and when there’s high business impact or urgency. Level 3 Support is commonly provided by either an internal engineering/development team or an external vendor.

Support Center Team Lead

The technical support professionals who oversee the day-to-day activities of a team of support staff. These professionals serve as the communication link between the team and the manager, as a coach or mentor to support staff, and are often the first point of internal escalation within the support center. Other titles include coordinator, supervisor, or senior analyst.

Support Center Manager

Management professionals who manage a team of analysts and/or team leads while executing the operational and tactical plans of the support center. Responsibilities may include recruiting and hiring, monitoring and managing performance, monitoring and reporting on metrics, and ensuring that processes are followed and service levels are met. Other titles include help desk manager or service desk manager.

Support Center Director

Management professionals who are responsible for leading the support organization as a whole, rather than a specific support center or desktop support team. Responsibilities may include overall service delivery, strategic direction, business alignment, financial accountability, and performance reporting. Other titles include senior manager/director or vice president.

Desktop Support Technician (DST)

The technical support professionals who respond to tickets escalated by the support center that are related to customer equipment and resources where additional skills, knowledge, tools, or authority are required. They may resolve incidents remotely, at the user’s location, or via equipment returns. Responsibilities may include hardware and software deployments, moves, adds, and changes.

Desktop Support Team Lead

An advanced DST who, in addition to DST responsibilities, provides training, mentoring, and/or coaching for a team of DSTs, but does not have direct staff management responsibilities. They may have oversight responsibility for processes, project management tasks, and/or providing support to management.

Desktop Support Manager

Manages a team of DSTs and/or supervisors while executing the operational and tactical plans of desktop support and satisfying customer and business needs. Responsibilities may include performance management, monitoring and reporting on metrics, audits, purchase approvals, and other similar job functions.

Desktop Support Director

The management professionals who manage a team of desktop support technicians and/or team leads while executing the operational and tactical plans of desktop support and satisfying customer and business needs. Responsibilities may include recruiting and hiring, monitoring and managing performance, monitoring and managing on metrics, audits, and approving purchases.

ITSM Process Owner/Manager

Service management professionals who are responsible for designing, implementing, managing, and continuously improving service management processes. This role must be knowledgeable about all core service management processes, but may be responsible for a specific process (e.g., knowledge, problem, service level, or IT asset management).

ITSM Service Delivery Manager

Service management professionals who are responsible for the architecture, planning, implementation, upgrade, security, and support for all voice and data servers, network and telecommunications technologies, platforms, and applications required to support business needs, as they pertain to the delivery of services to end users and/or customers.

Business Relationship Manager

Service management professionals who are responsible for managing the relationship between one or more business units. These individuals assess needs, identify pain points, and make recommendations to drive organizational transformation and improve/accelerate service delivery.

So, these are the role definitions we include in our annual “State of” reports. If you have any questions about these, or if there are others that you’d like adding, then please let me know in the comments. Finally, if you would like to network with other like-minded IT support professionals and attend a wide range of focused educational sessions, then the 2020 Support World Live conference – from the 24-29 April in Las Vegas – might be for you.

Senior Writer and Analyst at

Roy Atkinson is a senior writer and analyst at HDI. In addition to being a member of the HDI International Certification Standards Committee, Roy is a popular speaker at IT service management conferences and is well known to HDI local chapter audiences. His background is in both service desk and desktop support as well as small-business consulting. Roy's blogs regularly appear on ThinkHDI.com, and he is highly rated on social media, especially on the topics of IT service management and customer service. Roy is also a cohost of the very popular #custserv (customer service) chat on Twitter, which celebrates its seventh anniversary on December 9, 2016.

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