Company-controlled Web sites seem to have gained popularity over the more tradit-ional and technically demanding sites managed externally.
Recently, it was the telecommunications giant Ericsson who decided the time was ripe not only to revamp its Web site, but to also take charge of its management as part of the company's preparations for the expected Internet trade boom.
In a move designed to allow both end users and staff a more corporate and effective Internet site, Ericsson investigated a number of e-commerce integrators and, after an extensive tender process, commissioned Online Sales for the job.
According to Online Sales' chief executive officer Michael Harker: "Online Sales was successful because we had a very strong focus on e-commerce, [as well as the] experience with big clients such as Optus."
Harker's team was contracted to ensure that Ericsson's operational systems were compatible with Lotus Notes and Domino. But the process required a total reassessment of the legacy system, and the implementation of a new infrastructure.
When Online Sales completed both tasks successfully, Ericsson decided to continue the development and asked the Sydney-based Internet designer to carry out the metamorphosis of Ericsson's Web site - and its presentation and navigational abilities in particular.
"We integrated the product databases so that staff could update the site. This was helped by Lotus' powerful replication abilities," Harker explained.
"We built in product linkages so that more information on relevant accessories was instantly available and a user can move around between Ericsson's local and global sites."
Successful cooperation throughout the initial stages of development convinced Ericsson that Online Sales had the ability to provide them with a high quality e-commerce product.
"The risk with an e-commerce site is that it can get fairly complicated and users can get lost," harker says. However, he claims Online Sales have by-passed the problem by using "a navigation system [that] allows users to find a product whilst still in the order form".