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 practice that is consulting a new niche producing and keeping sites. Stated 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 21st century. We are seeking to make site creation and saving a profit center.”
SETTING UP IT’S OWN SITE…
After months of preparation, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter went real time featuring its site that is own in 1996. The firm has a technology committee responsible for the content and design associated with the site, but almost everyone at the firm is involved with a way. The layout and design are handsome and simple to make use of: your home web page links to information of the company’s solutions, investors and supervisors; accounting and finance resources; a guest book; and a Tip of the which staff members take turns writing week. (a subject that is recent “Lower Capital Gains Rates beneath the New Tax Law.”) HANC is practically 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 try this. Senior Network Analyst Sean Motherway, who acts as Webmaster for HANC, spends several hours a week on general site upkeep for HANCS website. He also helps HANC clients create 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 like to setup a billable service-answering taxation concerns over the Internet. And there are various other opportunities under discussion.”
… GUIDES TO INSTALLING OTHERS’
The company started its online saving and design service to provide 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. Nearly all of its site customers have actually finalized aided by the firm since January 1997.
Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter provides a array that is wide of divided into two plans:
* The basic plan: 500 kilobytes of host area (sufficient for a modest-size webpage), an e-mail target, registration in over 400 search-engines, a monthly report of access hits, a daily backup associated with the customer’s data and an address that is an element of the firm’s (http:// www.hanc.com/yourcompany).
* The premium plan: exactly like above, but with 10 megabytes of host room (for a very large site), 10 email addresses (therefore 10 employees, or divisions, can each have a unique e-mail address) and a distinctive target (http://www.yourcompany.com).
But, Hungerford stressed that every 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 websites of neighborhood 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. 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.
Setting up a countertop on an internet site is an instant 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 site that is own client has a password to see its information.
“Our online 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 workplace to execute simple uploads, to allow them to alter their site from their desks without involving the firm.
HANC’S site provides links to its customers’ pages, such as a furniture maker, car dealerships, some nonprofits and a golf equipment supplier. This not just promotes HANC’s solutions but also encourages more hits to its customers. HANC’s website is getting 900 to 1,000 hits 30 days. All its stored web sites, together, normal about 1,500 hits each and every day.
PULLING IT TOGETHER
Regardless of the company’s technical elegance, Motherway makes use of a few 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 company invested about $20,000 on its server hardware.
HANC’s IT staff trains others 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,” said Hungerford. “The IT staff keeps up with all the literature and we’re looking at official certification on some Microsoft items. But most of our online knowledge is self-taught.” Hungerford, Walraven and Motherway have actually proceeded their technological education after college.
As time goes on, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter plans to assist its consumers be a little more sophisticated on the internet. Hungerford said that although the company’s customers had been pleased with the marketing abilities regarding the online, they would be searching beyond to utilising the Web to actually provide services. HANC is working on solving security issues to make stores that are online email transactions practical. Fundamentally, the company intends to help customers create their servers that are own. “We see the Internet as a huge consulting area,” stated Hungerford.
Meanwhile the company is expanding into other areas as well, including litigation services and fraudulence investigations. Numerous traditional companies — HANC ended up being founded in 1941 — experienced IT consulting as a sideline to services that are traditional. But as traditional and services that are new at HANC, the company finds itself doing a 180″ turn. Stated Walraven, “We now desire to seu more accounting that is traditional to our brand new webpage chients.”