SerioPlus has moved on in leaps and bounds since our original announcement back in October. The user testing we’ve done has gone extremely well – customers have reported that the application looks and works as expected, is responsive, and works seamlessly on their networks without any configuration changes. Thank you to everyone that took the time to help out and refine the technology.
Most importantly, SerioPlus does not require the customer to have their own server as mentioned here.
This post will address some of the new features we’ve added. Time permitting, we’ll post about how the new architecture differs from the old in the next week or so.
Remote Control & Customer Support
You’re probably thinking that this is nothing new – VNC does this. The features we’ve added to SerioPlus allow you to see & control a users desktop machine through firewalls, with zero config for you as a Serio user. It is just there, and works.
Our aim with this is to remove the need for you (our customer) to resort to VPNs in order to help your customers. We want you to be able to welcome new customers easily and still offer great support.
To make this possible, we've gone further than desktop sharing. SerioPlus also has remote file upload and download – so if you need to send an update you can do so, or if you need access to an error log file, you can do so. Again, this works through the HTTP-based transfer protocols we are using, through most firewalls, and via the SerioPlus servers.
Finally, there is a chat (IM) that works through most firewalls as well. We’ve added this as another means of customers to contact you, and will be an area of future development.
This is also now live. It’s very simple, take any of the reports in SerioReports and schedule them to run at a date and time of your choosing for as many people as you choose. Each report is delivered in PDF format, and each report can be run daily, weekly, or monthly. Again for SerioPlus users, this will be a zero config feature.
We are currently adding a number of summary reports that will show Key Performance Indicators that will be well suited to this.
Configuration Management now integrated into the Service Explorer
We’ve expanded the Service Explorer to include information about Configuration Items (CIs). This data can now be viewed and edited directly from the Service Explorer. We’ve also made the Item Diagram easier to access as well, so you can use it in conjunction with the Service Explorer.
Where we’re at Right Now
All of the major items of functionality we wanted to have are now in place. Most importantly for us, the new server infrastructure has proved itself to be reliable over the past 6 months since it went live. We’ve also managed to identify infrastructure providers that will give us the reliability and performance we need.
We are currently working on a new install program, and are working through a number of user interface updates to SerioClient, SerioAdmin and SerioReports.
Where we want to be in the next 4 months
- We want to allow you have a ‘contact support’ applet you can add to your customers desktops, or that they can download from the internet in a few moments. If they need help, they click to start a text chat session with one of your support agents, who then has access to the file and screen capabilities of SerioPlus. This will all work regardless of firewalls. It’s already possible to log a ticket from text chat, and this is something we want to take further.
- We want you to be able to monitor your computers networks and servers easily, again regardless of firewall issues. We want you to know when your customer has a problem before the customer does.
If you have your own Custom Reports
Custom report writing has always been a tricky issue for any hosted service or application. Our response to this has been to create a (read-only) ODBC driver for SerioPlus (in fact, this is how SerioReports works).
Whilst this works perfectly well for SerioReports, not all of the features required by products such as Crystal are implemented yet (mainly the schema discovery functions), and you should assume that the SerioPlus ODBC driver will not work with products other than SerioReports. We’ll be continuing to develop the SerioPlus ODBC driver in the next 6 months, but in the meantime call us to discuss what possibilities exist for workarounds.