Many firms that are online 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 internet 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 are trying to make site creation and keeping a revenue center.”
CREATING IT’S OWN SITE…
After months of preparation, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter went real time with its site that is own in 1996. The firm has a technology committee responsible for the content and design for the website, but almost everyone during the company is involved with a way. The layout and design are handsome and easy to make use of: the house web page links to information regarding the firm’s solutions, investors 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 beneath the New Tax Law.”) HANC is practically totally self-contained, using 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 try this. Senior Network Analyst Sean Motherway, whom will act as Webmaster for HANC, spends hours that are several week on general site maintenance for HANCS website. He additionally assists HANC clients set up their web sites.
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 people to post income tax concerns: “I’d want to create a billable service-answering taxation concerns over the Internet. And there are other possibilities under discussion.”
… LEADS TO CREATING OTHERS’
The company began its internet storing and design solution to produce 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. Nearly all of its webpage customers have actually finalized with all the company since January 1997.
Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter provides a wide array of services divided in to two plans:
* The basic plan: 500 kilobytes of host room (sufficient for a modest-size Web site), an e-mail target, enrollment in over 400 search engines, a month-to-month report of access hits, a regular back-up regarding the client’s data and a target that is an element of the firm’s (http:// www.hanc.com/yourcompany).
* The premium plan: The same as above, but with 10 megabytes of server space (for an extremely large site), 10 e-mail details (therefore 10 employees, or departments, can each have a unique email address) and a distinctive address (http://www.yourcompany.com).
But, 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 websites of regional and competitors that are national. We can work with a client’s staff or its outside marketing consultant and advertising agency.” HANC’s computer staff of 10 can handle 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 industry-specific search engines. 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 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 own site; each customer has a password to view its very own data.
“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 workplace to do easy uploads, to allow them to alter their website from their desks without relating to the company.
HANC’S website provides links to its clients’ pages, which include a furniture maker, auto dealerships, some nonprofits and a golf equipment distributor. This not merely promotes HANC’s solutions but also encourages more hits to its customers. HANC’s own site gets 900 to 1,000 hits a month. All its kept web sites, together, normal about 1,500 hits each day.
PULLING IT TOGETHER
Regardless of the firm’s technical elegance, 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 host hardware.
HANC’s IT staff trains others into 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,” said Hungerford. “The IT staff keeps up with the literary works and now we’re considering official certification on some Microsoft products. But the majority of our Web knowledge is self-taught.” Hungerford, Walraven and Motherway have actually continued their technological education after college.
In the foreseeable future, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter plans to assist its clients be more sophisticated on the Web. Hungerford stated that even though the company’s customers had been happy with the advertising abilities of this internet, they’d be looking beyond to utilising the internet to provide services actually. HANC is working on solving security issues to make online stores and email transactions practical. Fundamentally, the company intends to assist clients setup their own servers. “We see the Internet as a huge consulting area,” stated Hungerford.
Meanwhile the company is expanding into other areas also, including litigation services and fraudulence investigations. Numerous conventional businesses — 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 firm discovers itself doing a 180″ turn. Stated Walraven, “We now desire to seu more accounting that is traditional to our brand new Web site chients.”