Zelda Lord Of The Rings & The Service Desk: TOPdesk Spotlight Article

How did this article come about?

We’ve become very serious in the world of ITSM so when I heard the TOPdesk mission statement of better support and happier customers I was all ears. All too often, we focus on measurements, metrics and statistics, but if we don’t have happy customers what’s the point? One quick trip to TOPdesk towers in London followed and here’s what I learned:

TOPdesk 101

TOPdesk was founded by Frank Droogsma and Wolter Smit in 1992. It’s a privately owned company and TOPdesk version 1 was a command line service based on MS DOS. Today,  TOPdesk is a fully web based product with a regular update cycle and the organisation has gone from being based in a small student room to having offices across the world; everywhere from Manchester to Denmark.

TOPdesk is available as both on premise and SAAS solutions and is available with professional and enterprise level licence types. It can be used as a multi department tool, embracing the move to Enterprise Service Management and can be used from everything from IT support to HR and Marketing. TOPdesk has been deployed to over 50 countries and over 5,000 implementations and employs over 430 people across the globe; one third of these working in development.

The product is designed to be customer centric and was designed to integrate with other services including Active Directory, Novel, Bomgar and Skype. The tool can be used to align with the ITIL framework or more structured standards such as COBIT or ISO 20000.

The TOPdesk ethos is partners not suppliers – they’re all people who we work with. This was really apparent when I went to visit their office in central London; everyone was smiling, there were pictures of Link (the hero from the Zelda series) on the wall from a recent initiative to reduce the post it note / paper nightmare and there was beer ready for Friday post work drinks. From spending time with the team it became clear that people are at the centre of the TOPdesk ethos.

The TOPdesk Self Service Portal

When I asked to look at TOPdesk in more detail we started at the front line; the self service portal. Customers are greeted with a clear, portal with customisable tiles listing major service offerings such as hardware / software support. The right hand side of the screen contains broadcast messages such as ongoing Major Incidents.

Incidents can be logged as parent / child tickets and the fields are customisable so that users can expand, collapse or add their details to an on going Incident. This “I’m Affected” functionality works brilliantly for two reasons;

  1. It empowers the end user, they don’t need to ring the Service Desk, run a gauntlet of automated menus then be put on hold for ten minutes before being put through to a Service Desk analyst who logs their Incident; using Self Service means that they can log their own Incident in a process that takes mere seconds
  2. If the Service Desk is dealing with Major Incidents left right and centre, they’re not being hit with hundreds of calls with users wanting to report the same Incident

TOPdesk was designed with the shift left approach in mind; if you type in printer error into the dynamic, Google esque search bar that recognises spelling errors (handy if it’s first thing on a Monday morning and you’ve not had your first cup of coffee yet) you get a list of related services, Incidents and Service Requests. Not only that you get links to relevant information and pictures including step by step guide with pictures on how to solve simple issues such as paper jams or replacing ink cartridges.

In a move to support Enterprise Service Management; TOPdesk have used the Lord Of The Rings approach, one portal to rule them all. One example of this is TOPdesk can be used as a meeting room management system, taking care of booking meeting room and related assets such as projectors and lunch, to pushing the update to the Outlook / Exchange calendar. Search views can be customised and multiple views are available for difference services so you can send broadcast messages to particular sites or departments.

TOPdesk are continuing to expand globally with offices recently opening in Brazil, the US and Canada and are becoming well established in the ITSM sector. Their typical customer (if there is such a thing) tends to be the public sector; higher education and councils who are trying to do more with less. If you’re looking for a Service Desk tool designed to be easy and fun to use check them out!


  1. Culture ethos is partner rather than supplier; licence model designed to empower customers rather than restrict them
  2. Shared ITSM, one tool for all
  3. Modular solution, big bang doesn’t always work so this give customers the ability to build up the tool over time

Image Credit

About Vawns Murphy

Irish mum of 3. ITIL V2 Manager (red badge) and ITIL V3 Expert (purple badge). SDI Managers certificate. Further qualifications in COBIT, ISO 20000, SAM, PRINCE2 and Microsoft. Author of itSMF UK collateral on Service Transition, Software Asset Management, Problem Management & the "How to do CCRM" book. Reviewer for the Service Transition ITIL 3 2011 publication. When not being pelted with brightly coloured balls in name of ITIL, I am a senior ITSM analyst for Enterprise Opinions.
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