Small business owners and managers frequently find they have to be a "jack of all trades" when it comes to getting through a day at work. Some tasks are easier to figure out (or bluff your way through) than others, and unless one has a knack for information technology, keeping a computer network functioning at an optimal level definitely falls on the more difficult end of the spectrum. It’s these "fish-out-of-water" managers and entrepreneurs that NSI in Naugatuck, Conn., is trying to help. "We look at organizations that have a ‘slash’ person," says NSI President Tom McDonald. "That’s an office manager or an owner who is also the slash-IT person. Usually they just sort of fell into the job because no one else was able to handle it."
"We see it a lot with healthcare. They are prime candidates," Tom says. "They need technology and they need to leverage it to be successful and they just don’t have the in-house people to do it. They’re looking for companies like NSI who can do the work for them and do it better and at a much lower cost." Tom also notes that his customer base includes a good bit of business from the public sector— especially K–12 education.
Founded in 1985 as a third-party maintenance provider, NSI has found enough of a clientele from agencies and businesses that fit its target market to build a company that employs 70 people full time, including 40 service technicians and 15 sales people. Truly a full-service IT solution provider, NSI’s services run the gamut of support, maintenance, managed print, training, consulting and application development.
As Tom sees it, technical expertise is only part of the equation for success. "The focus we have here is that we understand the client’s business before spouting off about how great we are. We help them focus on their core business and address issues that allow them to invest in more profitable parts of their business," he says. And helping NSI achieve this objective are managed services from Continuum. For more than two years, NSI has managed client operations with Continuum’s server and desktop care offerings, supplemented by 24/7 support and monitoring from the Continuum network operations center (NOC). Tom has been especially impressed by Continuum’s web portal and ticketing system, and he likes the way problems are proactively identified and addressed. "We don’t have catastrophes because it never gets that far," he explains.
And as pleased as Tom is with how Continuum’s managed IT services perform, he is every bit as happy with Continuum’s availability to managed services providers like NSI. Originally a customer of another vendor, he recalls, "I spent $50,000 — on licensing and training, etc., before I had one customer. I quickly found out that wasn’t the best way to do this. Continuum’s ‘pay-as-you-grow’ approach just made a lot of sense. They are just the best fit for us."
"There’s not a big upfront investment," Tom continues. "Continuum only makes money when NSI makes money, and you don’t have to pre-buy anything."
And with Continuum automatically taking care of mundane monitoring and maintenance of client networks, NSI’s staff is free to pursue more profitable projects. Or, as Tom puts it, "Continuum lets us focus on things that make money!"