Many online firms make do with one hosting server, but Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter (HANC) has over two dozen and counting. One site is HANC’S own, but its servers store (or, as is more commonly known, “host”) the Web sites of about 28 clients — sites that HANC set up and designed. HANC has expanded its venerable information technology practice that is consulting a new niche producing and keeping internet sites. Said Richard A. Hungerford, HANC shareholder in control of computer services that are consulting “IT has long been a venue for value-added consulting. Our concept is that the Internet is the way business will be transacted in the century that is 21st. We are seeking to make webpage creation and keeping a profit center.”
STARTING IT’S OWN SITE…
After months of planning, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter went live having its site that is own in 1996. The firm has a technology committee responsible for the design and content regarding the site, but almost everyone at the company is involved with a way. The design and design are handsome and easy to utilize: the house page links to explanations of the firm’s solutions, investors and supervisors; accounting and finance resources; a guest book; and a Tip of this Week, which staff members take turns writing. (A recent subject was “Lower Capital Gains Rates Under the brand new Tax Law.”) HANC is almost entirely self-contained, having its own servers. That is, the firm itself has computers that store its own Web site and those of its clients; it does not have to contract with an service that is outside repeat this. Senior Network Analyst Sean Motherway, who acts as Webmaster for HANC, spends hours that are several week on basic site upkeep for HANCS website. He additionally assists HANC clients put up their sites.
The site helps in delivery of services in addition to promoting the firm. Tax shareholder John Clark uses the site to send and receive client tax documents. He’s found the site is becoming a popular place for individuals to post taxation questions: “I’d like to set up a billable service-answering tax questions on the internet. And there are more possibilities under conversation.”
… GUIDES TO CREATING OTHERS’
The firm began its online saving and design solution to provide additional services to current clients; however, about half its Web site clients are new to the firm. “Because of the expertise we’ve developed by themselves,” said Hungerford in IT consulting, we’re able to market our Web services. The majority of its site consumers have actually signed with the firm since 1997 january.
Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter offers a wide array of services split into two plans:
* The basic plan: 500 kilobytes of server area (sufficient for a modest-size webpage), an email address, registration in over 400 the search engines, a monthly report of access hits, a daily back-up of this client’s information and an address that is area of the company’s (http:// www.hanc.com/yourcompany).
* The premium plan: The same as above, but with 10 megabytes of host area (for a tremendously site that is large, 10 email details (so 10 employees, or divisions, can each have a unique email address) and a distinctive address (http://www.yourcompany.com).
However, Hungerford stressed that each client gets a tailor-made site suitable for its needs and its market. “For each prospective Web site client, we perform a feasibility research. We research the sites of neighborhood and competitors that are national. We can work with a client’s staff or its marketing that is outside consultant marketing agency.” HANC’s computer staff of 10 are designed for sophisticated programming: Java, used for high-level enhancements not readily done with HTML; file transfer protocol, to help clients add files that their own customers can download; and guest books, so potential customers can leave information about themselves. HANC can register its clients’ pages not only with big search engines such as Yahoo and Altavista but also with lesser-known search that is industry-specific. The firm has a list of subcontracted designers it can bring in if a client wants a design beyond the skills of HANC’s staff.
Installing a countertop on an internet site is a quick and procedure that is simple but in addition HANC can provide pages of exclusive data for each client, such as where hits are coming from and the days and the times when the site is most and least active. HANC posts this information on its site that is own customer has a password to view unique data.
“Our online service has led us into another niche that is billable training,” said Sandra Walraven, manager of information systems. Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter can train key people at a client’s office to do simple uploads, so they can change their site from their desks without relating to the company.
HANC’S site provides links to its consumers’ pages, such as a furniture maker, auto dealerships, some nonprofits and a golf clubs supplier. This not only promotes HANC’s solutions but in addition encourages more hits to its consumers. HANC’s web page gets 900 to 1,000 hits per month. All its kept websites, together, typical about 1,500 hits per day.
PULLING IT TOGETHER
Despite the firm’s technological elegance, Motherway uses some of the same programs even novice Web designers use: Homesite (shareware), Hotdog Pro and Adobe Photoshop (for illustrations). The first two cost about $100 each; Photoshop is about $450. He also still uses Windows Notepad, a simple text editor that comes free with Windows. The firm spent about $20,000 on its server equipment.
HANC’s IT staff trains others within the company so they understand the firm’s Web practice and can discuss it with current and potential clients in relation to other firm services. “As in many firms and companies, our skills that are technological homegrown,” stated Hungerford. “The IT staff keeps up with the literature so we’re looking into official certification on some Microsoft services and products. But most of our Internet knowledge is self-taught.” Hungerford, Walraven and Motherway have proceeded their education that is technological after.
In the future, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter intends to assist its clients be much more sophisticated on the internet. Hungerford stated that although the firm’s customers were pleased with the advertising abilities associated with internet, they might be looking beyond to using the online to actually provide services. HANC is working on solving security issues to make stores that are online e-mail transactions workable. Ultimately, the firm intends to help customers put up their servers that are own. “We see the Internet as a huge consulting area,” stated Hungerford.
Meanwhile the firm is expanding into other areas also, including litigation solutions and fraudulence investigations. Numerous traditional companies — HANC ended up being founded in 1941 — got into IT consulting as a sideline to traditional services. But as traditional and new services meet at HANC, the firm discovers it self doing a 180″ turn. Said Walraven, “We now desire to seu more accounting that is traditional to our brand new internet site chients.”