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 creating and keeping sites. Stated Richard A. Hungerford, HANC shareholder in control 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 21st century. We’re trying to make internet site creation and storing a revenue center.”
STARTING IT’S OWN SITE…
After months of planning, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter went live featuring its own site in April 1996. The firm has a technology committee responsible for the design and content for the website, but just about everyone at the company is associated with a way. The layout and design are handsome and simple to utilize: the house page links to explanations of this company’s services, investors and managers; accounting and finance resources; a guest guide; and a Tip associated with the which staff members take turns writing week. (a subject that is recent “Lower Capital Gains Rates underneath the New Tax Law.”) HANC is almost entirely 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 service that is outside repeat this. Senior Network Analyst Sean Motherway, whom acts as Webmaster for HANC, spends several hours a week on basic site maintenance for HANCS website. He also assists HANC clients set up 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 visitors to publish tax concerns: “I’d like to put up a billable service-answering tax concerns on the internet. And there are other possibilities under conversation.”
… GUIDES TO STARTING OTHERS’
The firm started its Web storing and design service to supply 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 webpage consumers have signed aided by the company 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 room (sufficient for a modest-size Web site), an e-mail address, enrollment in over 400 search-engines, a monthly report of access hits, a regular back-up regarding the customer’s information and a target that is an element of the company’s (http:// www.hanc.com/yourcompany).
* The premium plan: The same as above, but with 10 megabytes of server area (for an extremely site that is large, 10 email addresses (therefore 10 employees, or departments, can each have an original email address) and an original address (http://www.yourcompany.com).
But, Hungerford stressed that each and every customer gets a site that is tailor-made for its needs and its market. “For each prospective Web site client, we perform a feasibility study. We study the websites of local and competitors that are national. 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.
Setting up a countertop on a site is an instant 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 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 office to do simple uploads, for them to modify their site from their desks without involving the firm.
HANC’S site provides links to its consumers’ pages, including a furniture manufacturer, automobile dealerships, some nonprofits and a golf clubs distributor. This not only promotes HANC’s services but also encourages more hits to its consumers. HANC’s website gets 900 to 1,000 hits a month. All its kept websites, together, typical about 1,500 hits a day.
PULLING IT TOGETHER
Regardless of the firm’s technical sophistication, Motherway utilizes 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 simple text editor that comes free with Windows. The firm spent about $20,000 on its host equipment.
HANC’s IT staff trains other people in 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 literary works so we’re looking into certification on some Microsoft items. But most of our Internet knowledge is self-taught.” Hungerford, Walraven and Motherway have proceeded their technological education after college.
In the future, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter plans to help its consumers become more advanced on the net. Hungerford said that even though the firm’s customers had been pleased with the advertising abilities associated with the internet, they’d be searching beyond to utilizing the Web to provide services actually. HANC is working on solving security issues to make online stores and email deals practical. Ultimately, the firm plans to help customers setup their own servers. “We see the Internet as a huge consulting area,” stated Hungerford.
Meanwhile the firm is expanding into other areas as well, including litigation services and fraud investigations. Numerous conventional organizations — HANC ended up being started in 1941 — found myself in IT consulting as a sideline to services that are traditional. But as traditional and services that are new at HANC, the firm finds it self doing a 180″ turn. Stated Walraven, “We now aspire to seu more accounting that is traditional to your new website chients.”