Most 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 producing and keeping the web sites. Said 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 trying to make Web site creation and storing a revenue center.”
STARTING IT’S OWN SITE…
After months of planning, 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 associated with the website, but almost everyone at the firm is involved with a way. The layout and design are handsome and easy to use: The home page links to descriptions associated with the firm’s services, shareholders and managers; accounting and finance resources; a guest guide; and a Tip associated with the which staff members take turns writing week. (A recent subject was “Lower Capital Gains Rates underneath the brand new Tax Law.”) HANC is practically entirely self-contained, having 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 repeat this. Senior Network Analyst Sean Motherway, who will act as Webmaster for HANC, spends hours that are several week on basic website upkeep for HANCS site. He also assists HANC clients set up their web 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 popular place for people to publish income tax questions: “I’d like to put up a billable service-answering income tax concerns over the Internet. And there are other possibilities under conversation.”
… LEADS TO STARTING OTHERS’
The company started its Web saving and design solution to produce additional services to 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. The majority of its internet site customers have actually finalized utilizing the firm since 1997 january.
Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter provides a wide array of services divided into two plans:
* The basic plan: 500 kilobytes of host space (sufficient for a modest-size webpage), an email address, registration in over 400 search-engines, a monthly report of access hits, an everyday back-up associated with customer’s information and a target that is an element of the firm’s (http:// www.hanc.com/yourcompany).
* The premium plan: just like above, but with 10 megabytes of host area (for a very large site), 10 e-mail details (so 10 employees, or departments, can each have a unique email address) and a distinctive address (http://www.yourcompany.com).
However, Hungerford stressed that every client gets a tailor-made site suitable for its needs and its market. “For each Web that is prospective site, we perform a feasibility research. We research the sites of neighborhood 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 counter 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 customer has a password to look at unique information.
“Our Web solution has led us into another niche that is billable training,” said Sandra Walraven, manager of information systems. Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter can train people that are key a client’s office to do simple uploads, to allow them to change their website from their desks without involving the firm.
HANC’S website provides links to its customers’ pages, including a furniture maker, car dealerships, some nonprofits and a golf equipment distributor. This not only encourages HANC’s solutions but in addition encourages more hits to its clients. HANC’s web page gets 900 to 1,000 hits per month. All its stored internet sites, together, average about 1,500 hits each and every day.
PULLING IT TOGETHER
Regardless of the firm’s technological sophistication, 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 firm spent about $20,000 on its host equipment.
HANC’s IT staff trains others 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 with all the literary works and now we’re considering official certification on some Microsoft products. But most of our online knowledge is self-taught.” Hungerford, Walraven and Motherway have actually continued their technological education after college.
In the future, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter intends to assist its customers be more advanced on the Web. Hungerford stated that even though the company’s customers had been happy with the advertising abilities of the online, they would be searching beyond to utilizing the online to provide services actually. HANC is working on solving security issues to make stores that are online e-mail transactions practical. Ultimately, the firm intends to assist clients set up their servers that are own. “We see the Internet as a huge consulting area,” said Hungerford.
Meanwhile the firm is expanding into other areas as well, including litigation services and fraudulence investigations. Many traditional businesses — HANC ended up being launched in 1941 — found myself in IT consulting as a sideline to traditional services. But as traditional and services that are new at HANC, the firm discovers it self doing a 180″ turn. Said Walraven, “We now hope to seu more traditional accounting services to our brand new webpage chients.”