Service on the Front Line: The IT Helpdesk in Higher Education Roadmap


This ECAR roadmap synthesizes the important issues and recommended actions drawn from the 2007 study, Service on the Front Line: The IT Helpdesk in Higher Education. The study explores the information technology (IT) help desk as a complex enterprise operating within a dynamic environment that includes the goals and culture of the central IT organization, the resources and services of the help desk, service level agreements between help desks and their clients, practices for evaluating and improving help desk services, and the perceived success of the help desk organization. Findings are related to the principles and practices of IT service management literature, and they are based on a literature review to identify issues and establish the research questions, consultation with selected higher education chief information officers, a quantitative survey of IT administrators at 454 colleges and universities in the EDUCAUSE database, qualitative interviews with 36 executives at 24 institutions, and four case studies about help desk and service management practices at a total of five higher education institutions.

Citation for this work: Pirani, Judith A., and Mark C. Sheehan. "Service on the Front Line: The IT Help Desk in Higher Education" (Roadmap). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research, 2007, available from

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