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Jira vs Jira Service Desk: What are the differences?


Jira and Jira Service Desk are both highly popular and widely used project management tools developed by Atlassian. While Jira primarily focuses on software development and issue tracking, Jira Service Desk is designed specifically for IT service management and customer support. Despite sharing similarities, there are several key differences that set these two tools apart.

  1. Pricing Model: One fundamental difference between Jira and Jira Service Desk lies in their pricing models. Jira follows a user-based pricing model where the cost is determined based on the number of users accessing the system. On the other hand, Jira Service Desk offers a licensing based on the number of agents who handle customer requests, allowing organizations to provide support to any number of customers without the need for additional licenses.

  2. User Interface and Purpose: Jira Service Desk provides a simplified and user-friendly interface tailored specifically for service desk operations. It focuses on streamlining customer support workflows, providing intuitive self-service functionality, and enabling easier collaboration between agents and customers. In contrast, Jira's interface is more developer-centric and geared towards software project management, with features such as agile boards, code integration, and advanced customization options.

  3. Request Types and SLA Management: Jira Service Desk goes beyond issue tracking by offering request types specifically designed for IT service management, such as incident reports, service requests, and change management. It also provides robust SLA (Service Level Agreement) management capabilities, allowing organizations to set response and resolution time targets for different request types. Jira, however, primarily focuses on tracking and managing agile-based issues and may require additional configuration to fit IT service management needs.

  4. Customer Portal: Jira Service Desk includes a customer portal that enables customers to submit and track their requests, access knowledge base articles, and interact with support agents. This portal acts as a self-service hub, empowering customers to find solutions to their queries independently. In contrast, Jira lacks a dedicated customer portal and typically requires customers to interact with the system through external communication channels, such as email or integrated third-party tools.

  5. Out-of-the-Box ITIL Compliance: Jira Service Desk provides built-in features and workflows that align with ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) best practices, making it easy for organizations to adopt ITIL processes for IT service management. It includes predefined incident, problem, and change management workflows, allowing teams to implement ITIL-compliant processes without extensive customization. Jira, on the other hand, offers more flexibility but requires additional configuration to achieve ITIL compliance.

  6. Integration and Extensibility: Both Jira and Jira Service Desk offer a wide range of integrations with other Atlassian products, such as Confluence for knowledge base management and Bitbucket for code integration. However, Jira as a primary project management tool has a larger ecosystem of integrations and plugins available, catering to diverse needs beyond IT service management. Jira Service Desk, while supporting these integrations, is more focused on providing specific functionality for customer support and service management.

In summary, Jira and Jira Service Desk differ in their pricing model, user interface, purpose, request types, SLA management, customer portal availability, ITIL compliance, and integration extensibility. Each tool caters to different needs within organizations, with Jira serving as a comprehensive software development and project management solution, while Jira Service Desk specializes in IT service management and customer support.

Decisions about Jira and Jira Service Desk
Jakub Olan
Node.js Software Engineer · | 4 upvotes · 303.1K views

YouTrack feels much more lightweight than Jira and additionally have all of features that Jira have, of course lacks at some analytics features, but it's more powerful at permission management and agile workflow. Additionally YouTrack have awesome integration with other JetBrains products such as incoming JetBrains Space and all other IDEs such as GoLand.

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Pros of Jira
Pros of Jira Service Desk
  • 310
  • 254
  • 149
    Easy separation of projects
  • 113
    Run in the cloud
  • 105
    Code integration
  • 57
    Easy to use
  • 52
    Run on your own
  • 39
    Great customization
  • 38
    Easy Workflow Configuration
  • 27
  • 12
    Great Agile Management tool
  • 7
    Integrates with virtually everything
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
    Sentry Issues Integration
  • 1
    Integration with Jira and Confluence

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Cons of Jira
Cons of Jira Service Desk
  • 8
    Rather expensive
  • 5
    Large memory requirement
  • 2
  • 1
    Cloud or Datacenter only
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    What is Jira?

    Jira's secret sauce is the way it simplifies the complexities of software development into manageable units of work. Jira comes out-of-the-box with everything agile teams need to ship value to customers faster.

    What is Jira Service Desk?

    It lets you receive, track, manage and resolve requests from your team's customers. It is built for IT, support, and internal business teams, it empowers teams to track, prioritize, and resolve service requests, all in one place.

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    What are some alternatives to Jira and Jira Service Desk?
    Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process.
    Asana is the easiest way for teams to track their work. From tasks and projects to conversations and dashboards, Asana enables teams to move work from start to finish--and get results. Available at and on iOS & Android.
    Capture the knowledge that's too often lost in email inboxes and shared network drives in Confluence instead – where it's easy to find, use, and update.
    Redmine is a flexible project management web application. Written using the Ruby on Rails framework, it is cross-platform and cross-database.
    Bugzilla is a "Defect Tracking System" or "Bug-Tracking System". Defect Tracking Systems allow individual or groups of developers to keep track of outstanding bugs in their product effectively. Most commercial defect-tracking software vendors charge enormous licensing fees. Despite being "free", Bugzilla has many features its expensive counterparts lack.
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