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 creating and storing the web sites. Stated Richard A. Hungerford, HANC shareholder in control 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 21st century. We are looking to make internet site creation and saving a revenue center.”
CREATING IT’S very own SITE…
After months of preparation, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter went live using its site that is own in 1996. The firm has a technology committee responsible for the design and content associated with site, but almost everyone at the firm is involved with some way. The design and design are handsome and easy to use: The home web page links to explanations regarding the firm’s services, shareholders and managers; accounting and finance resources; a guest guide; 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 practically entirely self-contained, featuring 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 outside service to do this. Senior Network Analyst Sean Motherway, who will act as Webmaster for HANC, spends several hours a week on basic site upkeep for HANCS site. He additionally helps 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 popular place for people to upload income tax questions: “I’d prefer to create a billable service-answering tax concerns on the internet. And there are more opportunities under conversation.”
… GUIDES TO SETTING UP OTHERS’
The firm began its internet storing and design solution to supply additional services to 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 internet site consumers have actually finalized aided by the firm since 1997 january.
Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter offers a array that is wide of split into two plans:
* The basic plan: 500 kilobytes of host room (sufficient for a modest-size webpage), an email target, registration in over 400 search engines, a monthly report of access hits, a daily backup associated with the client’s data and an address that is part of the firm’s (http:// www.hanc.com/yourcompany).
* The premium plan: The same as above, but with 10 megabytes of host space (for a tremendously large site), 10 e-mail details (so 10 employees, or divisions, can each have an original e-mail address) and an original address (http://www.yourcompany.com).
Nonetheless, Hungerford stressed that each and every customer 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 websites of regional and national competitors. We can work with a client’s staff or its marketing that is outside consultant advertising agency.” HANC’s computer staff of 10 can handle programming that is sophisticated 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.
Installing a countertop on a Web site is a fast and simple procedure, 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 client has a password to look at unique information.
“Our Web solution has led us into another billable niche: training,” said Sandra Walraven, manager of information systems. Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter can train key people at a client’s office to perform easy uploads, so they can modify their site from their desks without relating to the firm.
HANC’S site provides links to its customers’ pages, including a furniture manufacturer, automobile dealerships, some nonprofits and a golf equipment distributor. This not merely encourages HANC’s solutions but additionally encourages more hits to its consumers. HANC’s own site gets 900 to 1,000 hits a month. All its stored internet sites, together, average about 1,500 hits every day.
PULLING IT TOGETHER
Despite the firm’s technical sophistication, Motherway makes use of 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 text that is simple that comes free with Windows. The company invested about $20,000 on its server equipment.
HANC’s IT staff trains other people into 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 using the literary works and we’re considering official certification on some Microsoft services and products. But most of our Internet knowledge is self-taught.” Hungerford, Walraven and Motherway have actually continued their education that is technological after.
In the future, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter plans to help its consumers be more sophisticated on the Web. Hungerford stated that even though the company’s clients had been pleased with the advertising abilities for the online, they would be searching beyond to using the Web to actually provide services. HANC is working on solving security issues to make online stores and e-mail transactions practical. Ultimately, the firm plans to assist consumers setup their servers that are own. “We see the Internet as a huge consulting area,” said Hungerford.
Meanwhile the company is expanding into other areas as well, including litigation solutions and fraudulence investigations. Numerous conventional organizations — HANC had been launched in 1941 — found myself in 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. Said Walraven, “We now hope to seu more traditional accounting services to the new Web site chients.”