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 consulting practice into a new niche creating and storing those sites. Said Richard A. Hungerford, HANC shareholder in charge of computer consulting services, “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 looking to make Web site creation and storing a revenue center.”
STARTING IT’S very own SITE…
After months of preparation, 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 of this website, but just about everyone at the company is taking part in a way. The layout and design are handsome and easy to utilize: The home web page links to descriptions associated with the company’s solutions, shareholders and supervisors; accounting and finance resources; a guest guide; and a Tip associated with the Week, which staff members take turns writing. (A recent subject was “Lower Capital Gains Rates underneath the brand new Tax Law.”) HANC is practically totally self-contained, having 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 try this. Senior Network Analyst Sean Motherway, whom acts as Webmaster for HANC, spends several hours a week on general website upkeep for HANCS website. He additionally helps HANC clients setup their websites.
In addition to promoting the firm, the site helps in delivery of services. 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 tax questions: “I’d like to arranged a billable service-answering taxation questions over the Internet. And there are various other opportunities under discussion.”
… LEADS TO SETTING UP OTHERS’
The company started its Web storing and design service to give services that are additional current clients; however, about half its Web site clients are new to the firm. “Because of the expertise we’ve developed in IT consulting, we’re able to market our Web services by themselves,” said Hungerford. The majority of its site consumers have actually signed utilizing the company since 1997 january.
Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter offers a wide array of services divided in to two plans:
* The basic plan: 500 kilobytes of host room (enough for a modest-size site), an e-mail address, enrollment in over 400 search engines, a monthly report of access hits, a daily back-up of this customer’s data and an address that is part of the firm’s (http:// www.hanc.com/yourcompany).
* The premium plan: just like above, but with 10 megabytes of server room (for an extremely large site), 10 email details (so 10 workers, or divisions, can each have an original email address) and a distinctive target (http://www.yourcompany.com).
Nevertheless, Hungerford stressed that all customer gets a tailor-made site suitable for its needs and its market. “For each Web that is prospective site, we perform a feasibility research. We study the websites of local and national competitors. 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. If a client wants a design beyond the skills of HANC’s staff, the firm has a list of subcontracted designers it can bring in.
Setting up a countertop on an internet site is a fast 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 look at its very own information.
“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 workplace to execute simple uploads, so they can alter their site from their desks without concerning the firm.
HANC’S site provides links to its customers’ pages, such as a furniture maker, auto dealerships, some nonprofits and a golf equipment supplier. This not just encourages HANC’s solutions but additionally encourages more hits to its customers. HANC’s own site gets 900 to 1,000 hits a month. All its stored internet sites, together, typical about 1,500 hits every day.
PULLING IT TOGETHER
Inspite of the firm’s technological elegance, Motherway utilizes 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 text that is simple that comes free with Windows. The firm spent about $20,000 on its host hardware.
HANC’s IT staff trains others within the firm with current and potential clients in relation to other firm services so they understand the firm’s Web practice and can discuss it. “As in many firms and companies, our technological skills are homegrown,” stated Hungerford. “The IT staff keeps up with the literary works and now we’re considering certification on some Microsoft services and products. But most of our Web knowledge is self-taught.” Hungerford, Walraven and Motherway have continued their education that is technological after.
As time goes on, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter plans to help its customers be more advanced on line. Hungerford stated that although the company’s clients were pleased with the marketing abilities of the online, they’d be looking beyond to utilising the online to provide services actually. HANC is working on solving security issues to make stores that are online e-mail deals practical. Eventually, the firm plans to help customers put up their own servers. “We see the Internet as a consulting that is huge,” stated Hungerford.
Meanwhile the company is expanding into other areas too, including litigation solutions and fraudulence investigations. Numerous conventional firms — HANC had been created in 1941 — got into IT consulting as a sideline to services that are traditional. But as traditional and new services meet at HANC, the company finds itself doing a 180″ turn. Stated Walraven, “We now aspire to seu more accounting that is traditional to our new Web site chients.”