Guide to IT Service Desk APIs

Editor's note: This is a series on API-based integrations. Check out Merge if you're looking to add 20+ service desk and ticketing integrations with one ticketing API.

Service desks are an important software system of record for IT teams, helping them keep track of requests, respond to incidents, and manage system changes. As a core part of IT workflows, service desk APIs for products like Jira, ServiceNow, and Freshservice are commonly used to build integrations with internal systems and between SaaS products.

Read on for a guide on everything you need to know about IT Service Desk APIs:

  • Top APIs - Which IT service desks are most popular
  • Key concepts - How service desks work
  • Data schemas - How service desk APIs organize IT data
  • Use cases - Common ways service desk data is used in product integrations
  • Getting started - Approaching service desk integrations to your product

Related: What is a ticket API?

Top IT Service Desk APIs

Service desks are commonly found in mid to large-size IT teams that need to track internal user requests. Common tools focused on the broad market from SMBs to enterprises include Jira, which has a Service Management version of their popular project tracker, Ivanti, and Freshservice. Enterprise-focused tools are more commonly found in Global 2000 companies, with the leading service desks in this segment being ServiceNow and BMC Helix.

IT service desks are commonly used in conjunction with other ticket tracking software, such as project management tools. For more on these APIs and integrations, check out the Guide to Project Management APIs (Asana, ClickUp, Monday, and more) and the Guide to Software Project Management APIs (Github, Gitlab, Jira, and more).

IT Service Desk API Data Schemas

Service desks are a system of record for incidents (aka Tickets) that represent a task or issue to resolve. Tickets come in several types relevant to service desks, including 'incidents', 'problems', and 'changes'. Tickets also have statuses that they progress through as they are resolved, attachments, and tags.

Tickets may have Comments associated with them as the contact and assignees (or multiple members of the IT team) communicate back and forth. Comments also contain a body of text or HTML.

Each ticket is related to a contact that generated the support request and has assignees that are the IT team members responsible to resolve the issue. Internal users being helped are represented as Contacts, which include their name, email, and phone number. The Contacts may belong to Accounts that represent departments or parts of an organization.

IT team members are Users with names, emails, and roles. Users belong to Teams, which map to the IT and/or R&D team org structure.

Top IT Service Desk API Use Cases

Source code management and CI/CD

IT service desk systems often act as a system of record for major service changes, including code changes. Integrations with SCM (source code management) and continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) systems makes it seamless for IT teams to keep a record of changes and approve or deny them if necessary.

Examples: Github, Gitlab, Bitbucket, Jenkins, SonarQube, Snyk, Jfrog, Harness, CircleCI

ServiceNow integrates with Azure DevOps to trigger a change request when code is being deployed and block deployment until the change request is approved.

Asset, device, and endpoint management

IT ticketing systems commonly integrate with security tooling to create tickets when vulnerabilities are detected, sync data about the relevant device or service to the ticket, and update lists of assets.

Examples: Microsoft SCCM, Jamf, Cloudstrike, Qualys, Tenable, Kandji, Sophos

Crowdstrike integrates with ServiceNow to trigger new tickets (incidents) when a security vulnerability is detected.

Compliance management

IT service desk systems have tight integrations with compliance management systems, including the ability to create tickets to track compliance tasks, updating tickets on the risk or vulnerability, and linking resolved tickets for evidence of compliance.

Examples: Vanta, Drata, Tugboat Logic

Jira integrates with Tugboat Logic to create tickets whenever security risks, controls, or vulnerabilities require work and then links the completed ticket for evidence.

Monitoring and logging

Monitoring systems are a first line of detection for IT issues. Integrating these systems with IT service desks allows for generating tickets based on monitoring alerts and updating or closing those tickets as alerts are resolved.

Examples: Datadog, Logic Monitor, NewRelic, AppDynamics, Dynatrace, Azure, AWS, Splunk, SolarWinds

SysAid integrates with Solarwinds to create and update tickets based on application, infrastructure, or network alerts.

Incident management

Incident management systems are a natural integration point for service desk software. These integrations often include the ability to create new tickets from an incident, sync status updates and comments, and sync on-call schedules to facilitate quick response and clear record keeping.

Examples: PagerDuty, xMatters, Opsgenie, Statuspage

xMatters integrates with ServiceNow to update incident comments and status.

Getting Started with IT Service Desk APIs

In addition to understanding IT service desk API schemas, you’ll also want to keep in mind a few additional topics as you start building:

  • API format - REST, SOAP, etc.
  • Authentication
  • Pagination
  • Rate Limits 
  • Test Accounts

If you don’t want to manage differences between each help desk API, you can use a unified API. Merge unifies multiple IT service desk APIs into one, making it easy to integrate your app with every vendor that your customers use. The Unified Ticketing API is REST-based, with common authentication, pagination, and rate limiting. It also includes automated logging and issue detection to make integration maintenance painless.