Interested in what Sereno does, but not ready for a conversation yet?
We understand that change can be daunting, especially when it comes to technology. We also understand that you may not be ready for a conversation just yet or are worried about being sold-too.
That’s why we have answered the top 10 questions we get asked in every new conversation. Get the answers you want before speaking with one of our advisors. We are all about being open and honest at Sereno, we are upfront about what we do, how we do it, and what it costs.
In this post, we’ll cover everything from what sets us apart from the competition to how we ensure reliable service and what’s included in our offerings. We’ll also dive into contract terms, guarantees, pricing, and the transition process.
At the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision and feel confident in choosing Sereno as a technology partner.
In this article, we cover:
What makes you different from the competition?
Myself and my business partner previously ran an IT support company, managing about 140 companies, around 7000 people, with 70 employees, and a turnover of 8m, so we have already experienced the issues that many companies struggle with when it comes to scaling effectively. When starting Sereno, we outlined all the issues we previously had and then rebuilt our service operation to remove all of them, which is a fortunate position to be in.
One main thing we realised when doing this is that the traditional IT support model doesn’t work for modern businesses and how people work now.
In the traditional approach, you call up and hopefully get through to an engineer. 90% of the time, they are only going to log those issues for you, and then someone will try to call you back within a few hours, but you don’t know exactly when. As a result, you’re not available when they call. The responsibility is now on you to call them back when you can, but then the engineer assigned to your service ticket isn’t available, and no one else can help. So, then you wait again for an unknown amount of time; however, their SLA is satisfied because it’s based on their initial response, so there’s no rush or urgency for them now.
Or you fire off an email saying you have an issue, wait X number of hours for a call back, risk not being available, and have the same situation. But then, it’s all that delay just to ask something like, “What machine are you working on?” or “Can you tell me more about the issue?”—so they haven’t even been able to start working on resolving it yet!
This just causes big delays, unreliable service, and, as a result, lots of frustration. People are on more and more calls now due to remote working and working flexible hours, so they need a service that gives them control.
We have designed our approach to remove all this frustration and give our partners the control to get the support they need when they need it.
We use a portal to raise service requests, which we built to ask you relevant questions as you raise a service request. This ensures we gather the information we need to start working on your issue straight away. The portal also has two really powerful features. The first is instant chat. We noticed that about 30% of service requests coming through were quick questions like, “How do I do X?” This takes an engineer two minutes to answer, so why wait hours for this? Get an answer straight away.
The second is the ability to book time with an engineer when it’s convenient for you. Simply raise a request and select when you want to speak to someone about it. It then books this in your calendar and the engineers. No missed calls, no emails, no phone calls—just resolve when it works for you.
How will you reduce and prevent our issues?
We see it as our job to help reduce the issues you have and also prevent major issues from occurring. We do this in several ways.
The first is through good advice and ongoing assessments of your IT environment. You will have a dedicated Technology Advisor who will meet with you quarterly. Ahead of these meetings, they will do a full re-assessment of your entire IT environment against best practices. They will also do a review of any security services in place, any assets and software, and then a review of service tickets raised. They then use all this information and distil it down to what you need to know, giving recommendations for improvements across your business.
The aim is always to improve productivity and reduce risk. After six months, we see a big reduction in service requests just by giving the right advice and taking the right actions.
The second is a part of this same process, but we have a proactive approach within our service delivery. We will actively review the types of service requests raised by your employees and then look for trends, recurring issues, etc.; this then helps us identify ways we can improve your service or help reduce the need for those requests.
We want the same thing you do: fewer service requests. It’s good for both of us, which is why we focus on partnership and mutually beneficial gain.
Our aim is to act as an in-house IT support department as much as possible and to cover all areas of your environment. We provide one comprehensive service; we don’t offer different tiers, etc. The reason is that our partners outsource so they can remove the burden from internal staff but also remove that worry and concern and the need to manage anything IT-related. We also believe it’s important to take a holistic approach, as so many different areas of your technology interact with or are dependent on one another, so not taking this approach leads to gaps or finger-pointing.
Our service is best broken down into day-to-day support, proactive maintenance, and strategic management.
Our service gives you unlimited access to our engineering team from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday to help with day-to-day requests and emergencies, and we also remove the administrative burden of new employee setups and leavers, new email account creations, license management, etc. We will liaise with any other third parties you have, like internet providers, so you don’t have to be the middleman. We also provide full procurement for new hardware and software and manage the installation and setup.
From a proactive perspective, we update all your devices to ensure they’re productive and secure. We also have to alert in place across devices and servers to alert us ahead of time to potential issues so we can act on them before you become aware—examples like devices running out of storage, servers going offline, internet outages, etc. Our remote management tools give us the ability to remotely access your machine (with your consent) but also to do asset management and review device health. We then also conduct a proactive review of your service tickets every quarter to identify any trends or recurring issues and what actions can be taken to prevent them in the future.
We then act as your IT manager or CTO by reviewing all aspects of your IT environment and all remote access available. This is from service ticket types, network infrastructure, and devices through cyber security, business continuity, compliance, and license management. We then distil all of this down into consumable insights and put suggestions and recommendations together to help you make informed decisions about your technology. We have an online platform where all assessments and reporting are kept, and we also create an interaction road map to keep track of progress and next steps.
What’s not included?
Our support hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. We don’t offer 24×7 or weekend support simply because we used to offer this service at a premium, and guess what? No one ever used it! With cloud systems in place and the right advice, you won’t need out-of-hours support. If you have people in different time zones, the fact that they can book time with an engineer at any crossover hour gets around this quite well.
In the same vein, we don’t, as a standard, include site visits within our service. We are more than happy to come to the site if needed but we just charge separately per hour for this. Once again, think about how often an engineer actually needs to come to the office—maybe once every few months. The need for this has massively reduced, so why pay for a service you’re not going to use? We can add it on if you really want it, but let’s really review how likely it is first.
New installations are not included as well; this is the installation and setup of a new system, a project, or building and setting up a new device. Setting up new starters on existing devices isn’t billed; don’t worry, it’s just to build that device, which can take between two and three hours sometimes, and we can’t control when these are needed and therefore can’t include them in the set monthly support fee.
We can provide Microsoft and Google licenses, cyber security services, and basically any other service you need, such as internet and phones; however, these are all optional additional services you can choose to have if you need or want them. The creation of IT security policies or business continuity plans can be done with us on a consulting basis, but this isn’t day-to-day IT support.
If you have CRM systems or other lines of business applications, we will ensure the devices and infrastructure they sit on, or you access them through, are working, but we aren’t specialists in those specific applications and systems, so we can’t provide application support for them. We will liaise with the provider on your behalf to help, though.
How do you ensure reliable service?
We have certain processes in place that help us manage service tickets effectively and provide reliable service. For example, we have alerting in place on our internal response and resolution targets; we alert if a ticket has been open for X amount of time, and we automatically escalate a service ticket if it has been with an engineer for X amount of time.
By using our Partner Portal, we assign a level of urgency or priority to different types of service requests and their impact, which helps these get automatically assigned to higher-level engineers and the right people. We don’t, unlike other providers, push all service tickets to junior (cheaper) engineers first; this wastes your time while they try to work out how to fix it.
That being said, the most important thing for us is the Partner Experience (PX); this is something that’s embedded into everything we do and our culture. We ask for feedback on all areas of our service, which then feeds into a simple Partner Experience score, and this is how we judge the effectiveness of our service. All our staff is incentivised by this number, and everyone knows they can impact it, so we make sure the experience you have is the best.
We also bake this into our contracts so we live our values: if your PX score drops below 95%, we put a service improvement plan in place, and if we can’t fix the issues after three months, we release you from any contract.
Can you help us with Cyber Security and our other ‘IT’ service needs?
Most of our partners want one provider for all their IT requirements, which is why we provide and then manage a host of other services, including internet, phones, backup, disaster recovery, consulting, and many cyber security services. We find the best providers in the market so you don’t have to, and then offer these managed services, often for cheaper than you could get going direct.
For cyber security, we have put together packages that include a collection of cyber security services, controls, and management. We not only provide these for all key areas of defence (email, device, employee) but also give three options so our partners can choose based on their budget, industry, or risk appetite.
Also, a lot of the controls we put in place as standard within our support service help with cyber security, such as restricting admin rights so people can’t download what they want, setting up an approval process for changing access and permissions, and tracking assets and people with access to your systems.
What are your contract terms, and what guarantees do I have?
Our standard terms are a 3-year agreement; in the first 12 months, we offer 30 days’ notice, and after this, 90 days’ notice prior to the anniversary date. Although we want long-term partnerships as this helps us make a better impact and resource effectively, we understand committing to a 3-year partnership straight away is scary, and trust is the most important thing. This is why in the first year, we don’t hold you in; one year is enough time to understand if we are the right provider for you.
We also provide a Partner Experience Guarantee in all contracts. This essentially means that if your Partner Experience score (which only you can impact) drops below 95% and we can’t resolve your issues within 90 days, we release you from the contract. We think it’s important to live our values that partner experience and put our money where our mouth is by not offering SLAs that can be manipulated to the provider’s benefit. For example, responding to your issue within the SLA but then providing terrible service afterwards doesn’t constitute a good service experience and shouldn’t be accepted.
How do you charge and what’s the price?
We charge on a per-employee, per-month basis, which can change monthly depending on your employee count. The number of devices in use doesn’t matter; we support the employee, and this makes it easy for you to manage operational costs per employee. This also means that you pay us a fixed rate per month, which works to your benefit because it’s to our benefit to try to reduce the number of issues you have to increase our profits; we are financially incentivised to improve your technology experience!
Our charges per user per month range from £35 to £45. The price is impacted not only by the complexity of your IT environment but also by cyber security. If you invest in strong cyber security in your business, then we will reduce the support price. We see this as being a proper partner; if you invest in reducing your risk, it’s good for us, so we invest back in you.
What does the transition process look like, and how much disruption will there be?
Moving from one provider to another is something a lot of people get worried about, but it is honestly a very simple thing that doesn’t cause downtime or disruption. Partners coming and going is a normal situation, so it’s a standard operating procedure for all IT providers.
There won’t be any downtime of services; we will need about two to three hours of the main point of contact time, five minutes on each machine, and then 15 minutes of everyone’s time together to introduce ourselves and show them how to use our service. That’s it!
Once you have given notice, we will introduce you to your dedicated onboarding engineer, who will explain the full process to you. They report weekly on the progress of the project, keeping you updated and organising quick catch-up calls. We ask the losing provider for as little as possible to make it easy for them, and then we do our own audit and documentation of all your systems. This is usually done over a minimum of 30 days, and we suggest a week of overlap with the old provider. We manage the whole thing; you don’t need to be involved besides the two to three hours that are mainly spent agreeing on processes such as the new start and leaver process, the new device build, the approver process, etc.
One day your employees will be supported by one company, and the other by the next. The only difference will be better service the next day.
Can you describe your culture and company values?
As mentioned, our Partner Experience is at the forefront of everything we do, and our employee experience is just as important to us. We strongly believe the two are linked; happy employees = happy partners, and vice versa. We educate and empower our people to understand the influence they have in creating this type of a positive environment for everyone.
This is why at Sereno, we encourage ownership, personal and professional development as well as positivity. We do this by creating development plans for all staff, highlighting our people’s successes, and providing feedback mechanisms for everyone across the business.
Our values reflect our belief that everything we do, will benefit our partners, and then benefit us in kind. Which is why our values have a meaning for both our Employees and out Partners. To read more about our values here at Sereno, check out our About us page.
- Experience the excellence
- Keep it real
- Community through communication
- Pursue your potential
- Create fun and celebrate success