Knowing how the company got started is key to understanding the mission of The Critical Update — an IT managed services provider (MSP) located in Austin, TX. Luis Delgado, President and Senior Consultant, recalls that the company began in 2003 after friends started coming to him with their IT problems … and then started referring others.
Not surprisingly, this beginning adds a personal touch to how customers are viewed by The Critical Update. “Our primary motivation is to provide a higher level of service after seeing clients frustrated by bad and expensive technical assistance,” Luis says. Continuum managed services offerings are helping The Critical Update achieve this objective.
“Continuum has allowed us to deliver preventative support that translates to higher productivity for our clients — something that every business wants,” Luis comments. “We’ve had clients who’ve seen a 1000% increase in productivity.”
The Critical Update’s offerings include selling hardware, peripherals, and licensing, as well as providing IT consulting and project management. The company also provides ongoing network administration and end user support. With just four full-time employees, The Critical Update partners with other trusted IT solution providers in the market to meet customer requirements for larger IT projects. For ongoing IT administration, monitoring and support, Luis depends on Continuum’s Help Desk service and Network Operations Center (NOC).
The NOC takes care of routine maintenance and monitoring functions for MSPs. According to Luis, “The Continuum NOC is the most valuable resource we have. It’s the one service we heavily rely on to troubleshoot and resolve problems for our customers.” Luis says it would be very costly for The Critical Update to find and hire IT staff with the expertise provided by the Continuum NOC. Instead, he says, “It has allowed us to add more server clients without worry.”
“It’s incredibly valuable to have a toll-free number to refer our clients to,” Luis says. With Continuum’s job monitoring, he points to occasions of seeing service tickets being opened and then resolved “without us having to do anything.”
Continuum’s Help Desk — based in Pittsburgh, PA — has also played an important role in allowing The Critical Update to provide a high level of customer care at an affordable price. “The Help Desk saved us several times,” Luis states. He recalls incidents where the Help Desk guided customers through installing Microsoft applications, or resolved wireless connection problems. “Working with Continuum has helped me keep the balance between work and family responsibilities. I don’t want to become a slave to the business,” Luis says.
The Critical Update’s customer base includes schools, healthcare providers, nonprofit organizations and home offices, but the company still gets 99% of its business from referrals. Because reliance on word-of-mouth advertising precludes focusing on any particular vertical market, Luis says his company takes a flexible approach, working with “any small business owner who wants to use technology to improve productivity and growth.” Though the big majority of The Critical Update’s customers have less than 30 desktop users, the company does have one customer with 235 users.
Luis finds Continuum’s offerings very easy to implement and manage. “Continuum is also investing heavily in support for their clients,” he adds. “My account rep is constantly communicating changes and opportunities that can benefit our company, and is very engaged in making sure we don’t have any problems.”
Most importantly, Continuum is helping The Critical Update grow while fully meeting client expectations. As his company has utilized Continuum solutions, Luis concludes, “We have been able to double our customer base without adding staff.”