The Transition From Help Desk to Colleague Care


Whilst IT services at Northern Gas Networks (NGN) were by no means universally bad, there was a clear opportunity to improve service experiences and provide better value to the business.

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Two outsourced suppliers were providing three different IT service desks to an organisation of less than 1,500 people, all with different service scope, processes, standards and results, and with frequent reliance on client management interventions to chase required service actions.  However, perhaps the biggest weakness was that these services were, albeit unintentionally, designed around the service providers rather than the colleagues they were meant to serve.


Within the context of a completion reinvention and re-organisation of IT at NGN, a new Head of Technology Support Services was appointed.  Her immediate task was to create a vision and implementation road-map that would enable the in-sourcing of the three IT service desks and the provision of exemplary IT support services to NGN colleagues across the business.  With an effective foundation in place a successful implementation can commence.


Working collaboratively, often in workshops, with HiveMind Expert Practitioners, the following key actions were undertaken:

  • Understanding current issues and what colleagues’ require and value from IT services (i.e. the customer perspective).
  • Development of a service vision whereby IT service is reinvented as ‘Colleague Care’ with a focus on colleague service experience.
  • Identification of the differing service needs of various types of colleagues (personas).
  • Organisation design, development of job descriptions, selection of an effective recruitment agency, and planning and preparation for candidate assessment.
  • Sourcing an appropriate service management tool-set, in line with the service vision.
  • Planning a new office layout to promote effective team working and high service standards.
  • Preparing a kanban board and ‘backlog’ of implementation activity to be used for the efficient and effective management of implementation activity, whilst also keeping tabs on business-as-usual work.
  • Coaching and mentoring of the new Head of Technology Services to enable high-performance leadership in this new and critical role.


NGN now have a game-changing vision, plan and key foundations in place for their future technology support.  This is branded as Colleague Care to emphasise the focus on supporting colleagues, providing both reactive solutions to their problems, but also providing proactive advice and guidance to ensure NGN staff are able to exploit the technology they already have.

With a service tool (TOPdesk) and an organisation plan in place, plus the first recruits to a new in-house service team, NGN are well on the way to delivering this exciting customer oriented vision for IT services.  The approach taken and foundations that have been put in place will also allow Colleague Care to scale beyond IT services, and could in the future deliver exemplary services to colleagues needing support with procurement, HR, payroll, facilities and beyond.