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 consulting practice into a new niche producing and keeping those sites. Stated 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 seeking to make internet site creation and keeping a profit center.”
SETTING UP IT’S OWN SITE…
After months of planning, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter went live with its own site in April 1996. The firm has a technology committee responsible for the content and design associated with site, but just about everyone at the company is involved in some way. The design and design are handsome and simple to use: the house page links to information for the company’s solutions, investors and managers; accounting and finance resources; a guest book; and a Tip of the which staff members take turns writing week. (A recent subject was “Lower Capital Gains Rates beneath the New Tax Law.”) HANC is almost completely 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 basic website maintenance for HANCS site. He also helps HANC clients setup 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 place that is popular individuals to upload tax concerns: “I’d prefer to setup a billable service-answering taxation concerns over the Internet. And there are various other possibilities under conversation.”
… LEADS TO STARTING OTHERS’
The firm started its internet 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 by themselves,” said Hungerford in IT consulting, we’re able to market our Web services. Most of its webpage clients have actually signed aided by the firm since 1997 january.
Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter provides a wide array of services divided in to two plans:
* The basic plan: 500 kilobytes of host area (enough for a modest-size webpage), an e-mail target, registration in over 400 search-engines, a month-to-month report of access hits, a daily back-up of the customer’s data and a target that’s part of the company’s (http:// www.hanc.com/yourcompany).
* The premium plan: The same as above, but with 10 megabytes of host space (for an extremely site that is large, 10 email addresses (so 10 employees, or departments, can each have a unique email address) and an original address (http://www.yourcompany.com).
However, Hungerford stressed that each customer gets a site that is tailor-made for its needs and its market. “For each Web that is prospective site, we perform a feasibility study. We research the websites 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 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 industry-specific search engines. 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 counter on a Web site is a quick 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 its very own information.
“Our internet service 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 workplace to perform easy uploads, so they can modify their website from their desks without concerning the company.
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 only promotes HANC’s solutions but in addition encourages more hits to its consumers. HANC’s own site gets 900 to 1,000 hits per month. All its stored internet sites, together, normal about 1,500 hits on a daily basis.
PULLING IT TOGETHER
Regardless of the firm’s technical 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 company spent about $20,000 on its server equipment.
HANC’s IT staff trains other people within the company 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 skills that are technological homegrown,” stated Hungerford. “The IT staff keeps up using the literature so we’re looking into official certification on some Microsoft items. But the majority of our Internet knowledge is self-taught.” Hungerford, Walraven and Motherway have proceeded their education that is technological after.
As time goes on, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter intends to help its customers become more sophisticated online. Hungerford said that although the firm’s customers had been happy with the advertising abilities regarding the online, they might be looking beyond to utilizing the internet to actually provide services. HANC is working on solving security issues to make stores that are online e-mail deals practical. Fundamentally, the firm intends to assist consumers create their servers that are own. “We see the Internet as a consulting that is huge,” stated Hungerford.
Meanwhile the firm is expanding into other areas too, including litigation services and fraud investigations. Many conventional companies — HANC ended up being established 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. Stated Walraven, “We now hope to seu more accounting that is traditional to our new website chients.”