Inordinately long wait times, multiple levels of attendants to wade through before reaching the right person, lack of expertise and no self-service options.

These were just some of the issues raised by senior IT decision makers when they talked about their experiences with internal and external help desks during the recent Canadian CIO Executive Roundtable session in Toronto.

The attendees, who came from a wide array of industries including the public sector, financial industry and healthcare, were all keen on finding ways to enhance their organizations’ internal service process and speed up the delivery of information and IT solutions their employees need.

“The service centre phase between the IT providers and the IT consumers really need to change,” said guest speaker Herb VanHook, vice-president and interim chief technology officer of Texas-based business service management software company BMC Software Inc.

The last few years has seen a “huge sea change” of various collaboration technologies and mobile devices connecting people to each other and enterprise network, he said.

“Unfortunate, many organizations have not made the leap to leveraging these new technologies and the powers of mobile devices to restructure the service desk to meet the needs of users,” VanHook said.

Some of the new service desk approaches discussed in the roundtable: the use of social media in the in customer contact points; extending system access through various mobile devices; and the incorporation of collaborative and self-help tools for users.

One of the strategies VanHook hammered on was the need for IT leaders and departments to gain a better understanding of their internal customers in order to develop solutions and restructure the service desk to meet their needs.

BMC itself used this “persona-based” research in developing MyIT, the company’s new self-service app that uses location, role and preferences to guide employees to the answers and tools they need.