Many firms that are online do with one Web site, but Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter (HANC) has over two dozen and counting.
One site is HANC’S own, but its 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 creating and keeping sites. Said Richard A. Hungerford, HANC shareholder in charge of computer consulting servihosting server ces, “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 looking to make site creation and saving a profit center.”
SETTING UP IT’S very own SITE…
After months of preparation, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter went real time featuring its own site in April 1996. The firm has a technology committee responsible for the content and design for the site, but everyone at the company is involved with a way. The design and design are handsome and simple to make use of: your home page links to descriptions regarding the firm’s services, investors and managers; accounting and finance resources; a guest book; and a Tip of this Week, which staff members take turns writing. (A recent subject was “Lower Capital Gains Rates underneath the brand new Tax Law.”) HANC is nearly entirely self-contained, featuring 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 acts as Webmaster for HANC, spends hours that are several week on basic website upkeep for HANCS site. He also helps HANC clients set up 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 place that is popular individuals to publish taxation concerns: “I’d want to put up a billable service-answering taxation concerns on the internet. And there are various other opportunities under conversation.”
. GUIDES TO ESTABLISHING OTHERS’
The firm began its online saving and design solution to supply 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 internet site clients have signed using the company since 1997 january.
Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter provides a wide array of services split into two plans:
* The basic plan: 500 kilobytes of host space (enough for a modest-size Web site), an e-mail address, registration in over 400 search-engines, a monthly report of access hits, a regular backup associated with client’s information and a target that is the main firm’s (http:// www.hanc.com/yourcompany).
* The premium plan: just like above, but with 10 megabytes of server room (for an extremely large site), 10 email details (so 10 employees, or departments, can each have an original e-mail address) and an original target (http://www.yourcompany.com).
But, Hungerford stressed that every client gets a site that is tailor-made for its needs and its market. “For each Web that is prospective site, we perform a feasibility research. We research the sites of regional and competitors that are national. We can work with a client’s staff or its marketing that is outside consultant 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.
Installing a countertop 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 site that is own customer has a password to view its own information.
“Our Web 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 perform easy uploads, so they can alter their website from their desks without concerning the firm.
HANC’S site provides links to its customers’ pages, including a furniture manufacturer, car dealerships, some nonprofits and a golf equipment supplier. This not just promotes HANC’s services but also encourages more hits to its consumers. HANC’s own site gets 900 to 1,000 hits 30 days. All its stored web sites, together, normal about 1,500 hits every day.
PULLING IT TOGETHER
Inspite of the firm’s technological elegance, Motherway utilizes 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 text that is simple that comes free with Windows. The company invested about $20,000 on its server equipment.
HANC’s IT staff trains others within the firm 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 with the literature so we’re considering official certification on some Microsoft items. But the majority of our Web knowledge is self-taught.” Hungerford, Walraven and Motherway have proceeded their technological education after college.
In the future, Hungerford, Aldrin, Nichols & Carter intends to assist its clients are more advanced on line. Hungerford stated that even though the firm’s clients had been pleased with the advertising abilities associated with online, they’d be searching beyond to using the Web 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 consumers put up their servers that are own. “We see the Internet as a huge consulting area,” stated Hungerford.
Meanwhile the company is expanding into other areas aswell, including litigation solutions and fraudulence investigations. Numerous old-fashioned firms — HANC was started in 1941 — got into IT consulting as a sideline to services that are traditional. But as traditional and services that are new at HANC, the firm discovers it self doing a 180″ turn. Stated Walraven, “We now aspire to seu more accounting that is traditional to our brand new internet site chients.”