Most 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 storing sites. Said Richard A. Hungerford, HANC shareholder in charge 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’re trying to make Web site creation and storing a revenue center.”
CREATING IT’S very own SITE…
After months of planning, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter went real time having its own site in April 1996. The firm has a technology committee responsible for the content and design of the site, but everyone at the company is tangled up in a way. The design and design are handsome and simple to use: the house web page links to explanations for the company’s services, shareholders and supervisors; accounting and finance resources; a guest book; and a Tip regarding the Week, which staff members take turns writing. (a subject that is recent “Lower Capital Gains Rates beneath the brand new Tax Law.”) HANC is nearly entirely self-contained, featuring its servers that are own. 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 outside service to repeat this. Senior Network Analyst Sean Motherway, who will act as Webmaster for HANC, spends several hours a week on general site upkeep for HANCS website. He additionally assists HANC clients setup their websites.
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 place that is popular people to publish taxation concerns: “I’d want to set up a billable service-answering income tax questions over the Internet. And there are some other opportunities under conversation.”
… LEADS TO STARTING OTHERS’
The firm began its online storing and design service to produce 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. Nearly all of its site clients have actually signed because of the firm since 1997 january.
Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter provides a array that is wide of divided in to two plans:
* The basic plan: 500 kilobytes of server room (enough for a modest-size Web site), an e-mail target, enrollment in over 400 the search engines, a month-to-month report of access hits, a daily backup associated with the client’s data and a target that’s an element of the firm’s (http:// www.hanc.com/yourcompany).
* The premium plan: The same as above, but with 10 megabytes of server room (for an extremely large site), 10 email details (therefore 10 workers, or departments, can each have a unique email address) and a unique target (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 study the sites of neighborhood and competitors that are national. We can work with a client’s staff or its outside marketing consultant and 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 counter on a Web site is an instant 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 own site; each customer has a password to see its very own information.
“Our internet solution has led us into another billable niche: training,” said Sandra Walraven, manager of information systems. Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter can train people that are key a client’s office to perform simple uploads, so they can change their site from their desks without involving the firm.
HANC’S site provides links to its clients’ pages, which include a furniture maker, automobile dealerships, some nonprofits and a golf equipment supplier. This not only promotes HANC’s solutions but in addition encourages more hits to its clients. HANC’s web page gets 900 to 1,000 hits per month. All its stored websites, together, normal about 1,500 hits per day.
PULLING IT TOGETHER
Inspite of the company’s technical sophistication, Motherway uses some of the programs that are same 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 company invested about $20,000 on its server equipment.
HANC’s IT staff trains others within the firm 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 technological skills are homegrown,” stated Hungerford. “The IT staff keeps up using the literature so we’re looking at certification on some Microsoft items. But the majority of our online knowledge is self-taught.” Hungerford, Walraven and Motherway have actually continued their technological education after college.
As time goes on, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter intends to assist its consumers become more sophisticated on the internet. Hungerford stated that although the firm’s consumers were satisfied with the advertising abilities associated with the internet, they would be looking beyond to utilizing the internet to provide services actually. HANC is working on solving security issues to make online stores and email deals workable. Ultimately, the company plans to assist consumers create their own servers. “We see the Internet as a consulting that is huge,” said Hungerford.
Meanwhile the firm is expanding into other areas aswell, including litigation services and fraudulence investigations. Many traditional organizations — HANC ended up being created in 1941 — experienced IT consulting as a sideline to services that are traditional. But as traditional and new services meet at HANC, the company finds it self doing a 180″ turn. Stated Walraven, “We now desire to seu more traditional accounting services to our brand new website chients.”