A look back at the past year and some of the highlights at Chorus across our services, customers, people, and culture.
In today’s busy world it can be so easy to always be rushing from one thing to the next and constantly looking forward to what’s next. During a time when our daily working lives have changed so much and the importance of health, mental wellbeing and work/life balance has been a welcome focus, we want to pause and reflect on the year. As we approach the end of 2021, we want to take this opportunity to look back at the past year and recognise some of our key achievements and highlights from our teams.
Expanding our Awards & Accreditations
We had a brilliant year for awards and were thrilled to be recognised so widely and across many different categories:
Winner: Business of the Year (51+ staff) at the Business Leader awards 2021
Finalist: Best Cyber Company at the SPARKies 2021
Finalist: Tech Company of the Year (over £5m) at Tech South West Awards 2021
Finalist: Nicola Saner (MD, Chorus) for Role Model of the Year at the CRN Women in Channel Awards 2021
We also expanded upon our accreditations, which helps to show our commitment to quality and industry best practices to our customers, but also is a great representation of one of our core values – “Stay Curious”. These accreditations are all thanks to the continued passion of our teams to stay ahead of the latest technologies and continue learning and developing.
In 2021, we attained:
Two Microsoft Advanced Specialisations – Both in Security for Identity & Access Management and Threat Protection. These are perhaps one of our proudest achievements of the year due to the difficulty and rarity in attaining Advanced Specialisations. This is thanks to the hard work of our team and their dedication to be certified to the latest technologies, alongside our customer success and growth - helping our clients adopt Microsoft security technologies to support a Zero Trust security strategy and make best use of their Microsoft 365 licensing.
Microsoft Gold Security – Another Gold competency to add to our list of over ten competencies and also thanks to our team efforts and customer growth.
Cyber Essential Plus – Showing our commitment to high quality security internally, which complements our existing ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 standards.
Delivering great service to our customers
During 2021, we’ve been fortunate to continue working with many great clients across many different sectors and we also started working with many new customers. We’ve been able to share some of our recent customer success stories to show the work and value we’ve delivered. This has included delivering a best-practice Zero Trust security strategy for Buro Happold using Microsoft 365, helping global charity, Send a Cow, embrace a secure cloud-first approach with ongoing managed services, and delivering an employee portal using SharePoint and Microsoft 365 for Unite Students.
Alongside successful projects, our Service Desk continued to excel, and we’re delighted to end the year with 97.85% customer satisfaction score (CSAT) taken from 2,361 customer surveys.
Growing our Cyber Security Operations Centre
Cyber security was a top priority for many organisations in 2021, particularly with the shift to remote working exposing new security vulnerabilities and continuing cloud transformation driving a new Zero Trust model. At Chorus, the past year has seen heavy investment into our 24x7 UK-based Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) to help organisations face the growing cyber security skills gap and stay ahead of evolving threats.
We’ve recruited many new faces, expanded our certifications and have our Managed Detection & Response (MDR) services approved and listed on Microsoft’s Marketplace. We also wrote an article about our reasons for building our CSOC architecture on Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft 365 Defender, which you can read here. We’re looking forward to continuing to invest in our cyber security practice and already know that there is another exciting year ahead!
Sharing insights and resources to help embrace digital transformation
Another of our core values at Chorus is “Champion the Truth” and key to this is our belief that we should share our knowledge and expertise to help others succeed. Our marketing focuses on sharing educational and informative content to help our audience learn new possibilities and improve their knowledge and some of our top content over the past year has included:
- Webinar: Building a modern intranet with SharePoint Online
- Webinar: What does a Next-Gen CSOC look like?
- The Future of Work: Tech Trends in 2021
- What is the Zero Trust security model?
- Women in Tech: Interview with our MD, Nicky Saner
Alongside our resources, we also started delivering free workshops to give organisations and opportunity to share their challenges, discuss potential solutions and see what is possible with technology – covering Cloud Transformation, Zero Trust & Security and Business Application modernization.
Supporting our charity of the year – St Peter’s Hospice
Giving back to the local community is one of our strategic objectives and in 2021 we were delighted to have St Peter’s Hospice as our charity of the year. St Peter’s Hospice are a Bristol-based charity providing care and support to those with life-limiting illness.
During the last year we took part in various fundraising activities, which included a 24-hour gaming marathon, a 17-mile Bristol Three Peaks challenge and the Bristol 10KM and Half Marathon! It has been great to get together as one large team to take part in these activities and really pull together to think of creative ways to fundraise with travel restrictions but most importantly, we managed to raise over £3,000 for St Peter’s Hospice!
Alongside fundraising, we also volunteered – helping with gardening in the care home gardens at St Peter’s Hospice in Brentry, which was an excellent opportunity to see first-hand the work that they do and give something more than just fundraising to the charity.
Focusing on our people, culture, and benefits
Of course, none of this would be possible without our people. This year (and 2020) really helped to show the importance of employee wellbeing, so we’ve been excited to make a number of changes to our culture and benefits to better support our staff. Through employee engagement surveys twice a year, we’re able to listen to our people, get feedback and ideas and then make impactful changes as guided by our employees. Over the last year, some of these changes have included:
- Moving to hybrid working – Ensuring a better work/life balance and supporting more flexibility through permanent hybrid working.
- Launching a mental health initiative – Two of our team undertook training to become Mental Health First Aiders and launched a new mental wellbeing initiative with a mental health awareness week in March to open up the topic of mental health and provide resources and signposting to help support our employees.
- Enhancing our parental policy - To better support new parents and encourage more women into IT with more inclusive benefits.
- Introducing a new employee recognition platform – Allowing everyone to recognise and reward their colleagues by giving points that can be redeemed as vouchers and gifts.
- Plus, the small things – Of course sometimes some of the perks are small and simple, such as providing free fruit, launching Chocolate Wednesdays, and providing electric vehicle charging at our offices.
We’re already looking into new benefits and how we can continue building a great workplace to attract and retain tech talent. If you’re looking for a new role – check out our vacancies!
Of course, working in the technology industry does mean looking ahead and keeping pace with rapid changes and innovations, which is the basis of our final core value – “Embrace the Future”. We’re excited for what 2022 has in store but for now, we want to say thank you to our clients, partners, and our great people!