Web Solutions, Inc.
Web Solutions currently delivers Internet service to dialup and ISDN customers, and will commence to sell DSL services by February of this year. The company currently hosts approximately 30 websites and has five co-located servers. Additionally, the company is evaluating e-commerce software, looking for the solution which provides the greatest flexibility while allowing operations to remain simple for its customers.
All services are competitively price and targeted to small “Mom-and-Pop” businesses and small office/home office (SOHO) customers. Web Solutions feels that this market segment has largely been neglected because of the amount of “hand-holding” required by this segment, and the inability to pay the astronomical fees charged by many ISPs for typically poor service and user support.
By working to simplify the creation, management, and support of our services, the company will enable customers to perform many tasks themselves, or automating these tasks based on the customer’s stated needs. This will make our pricing more competitive, the customers perception of service high, and the operation as a whole more reliable and profitable.
With current hardware and facilities, the company can do the following:
- Handle an unlimited number of dialup users.
- Handle up to 46 dedicated channels.
- Handle up to 1,000 email users.
3.1 Service Description
Web Solutions is a traditional, full-service ISP, offering dialup and dedicated Internet access, Web and virtual domain hosting, server co-located, and network-related professional solutions (design, installation, management, etc.). The company allows people and companies to access and publish documents on the World Wide Web without the need to hire full-time system administrators, costly high-speed network connections, dedicated servers, and other similar expenses or expertise.
The company provides many of the services that customers need to get online. The company provides both connectivity and consulting on topics ranging from office automation to Web server planning. The company has ongoing research and development to provide solutions to current customer issues (e-commerce, ease-of-use features, etc.) and to develop new products and services which enable the company to enter and compete in new markets and attract new customers.
Web Solutions selects products which meet the following criterion:
- Benefit to customers/company: the product must materially benefit the customer or the company in some way. This may manifest itself as a side benefit, an improvement on current services, or additional revenue stream to the company.
- Cost/benefit ratio: the benefits realized must be at least as great as the cost of implementation, production, and maintenance of the product.
- Maintainability: the product must be maintainable by PhoenixARIZONA.COM personnel. The company has had some experience with products where source code and other maintenance resources are unavailable and has had major difficulties with these restrictions. The company has a strong preference for Open Source and similar distribution methods where source code is available to personnel to correct problems which vendors consider too unimportant to warrant effort on.
Web Solutions makes a concerted effort to keep customers informed and to remedy problems in the shortest possible times. The company has lost very few customers to technical support issues, and will continue to make high quality support one of its primary goals.
Web Solutions offers telephone support during extended business hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and has an on-call pager for emergencies (network-down and server-down situations). In the future, the company plans to implement a 24/7 network operations center (NOC) and a toll-free technical support phone number.
When the voice/video/data (VVD) product goes into production, the company plans to have constant monitoring of network connectivity and take preemptive measures to solve developing problems before the customer even notices them. For instance, if it is determined that there is a failing component on the customer’s premise equipment, it would trigger a call to the customer and the scheduling of a replacement part before the customer even realizes that the problem exists.
Currently, all products are implementations of Open Source products. The groupware product will be based upon OpenDesk.com’s software, which is available under an Open Source license. Web Solutions will be extending the functionality of this product, and release those changes back to the development community.
With the VVD product, the company will have to design and manufacture custom equipment for customers to receive the data and convert it to video or voice.
Currently, the company has no products to return. The company’s usage policy states that it will refund a portion of the customers’ monthly access fee if there are extended network outages due to events within our control.
The company gives technical advice to pre-sales customers and technical support is offered for all purchases by the customer. These services are offered by Web Solutions at no cost to our clientele.
3.3 Future Services
Free (advertiser supported) back-office service with email, file sharing, calendaring/scheduling, and other applications are options for future services from Web Solutions. This would allow groups (both for-profit and nonprofit) to have the collaboration enjoyed by major corporations with multimillion-dollar management information systems (MIS) budgets for little or no cost. It also would produce an avenue through which to offer future free and pay services.
Web Solutions plans to have the initial launch of the back-office product by March 31st. The company currently has a potential customer (a local radio station) who wishes to privately brand this product and offer it to their customers.
Web Solutions is in the process of researching a future service of integrated voice, video, and data over high speed TCP/IP network connections (DSL, etc.) so as to merge the traditional telephone, cable, and ISP functionalities, extend them, and affordably offer them to consumers. This product would compete directly with traditional cable and telephone companies, and provide new and innovative revenue streams. Current plans for this product are to price the consumer product very aggressively and take the profit from secondary services such as advertising. Web Solutions plans to have a working prototype of the server and clients needed for the VVD product by October 1, 2000, and a limited launch by March 1, 2001.