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The budget is projected over three quarters as indicated below. Additional monetary resources will budgeted in accordance with long-term phased implementation plan.
Quarter Projected Budget Projected Profit/Loss Projected Website Rank
1 $90,000 ($22,000) 39
2 $50,000 $210,000 22
3 $65,000 $407,000 13
Primus Securities will hire technology professionals. The technology team will initially include a system administrator, webmaster, and a maintenance programmer, and it should be expanded as necessary in the future. As new features are being implemented, the team would grow to potentially include more programmers, a system architect, a graphics designer, a database administrator, etc. A major benefit of in house development of projects is that the ability to customize features to the exact desired specifications and to continually fine tune the system.
If there is an aggressive timeline or a limited budget, an alternative would be to contract with an outside vendor to create the website but beware of the following risks involved:
X Website Solution. There is often a tendency to get a more ¡§cookie cutter¡¨ solution. The website would not be unique enough for customers to recognize the benefits versus those of its competitors.
X Service Level Agreement. Vendor may fail to meet the company¡¦s requirements and expectations of SLA.
X Rate Fluctuations. Negotiated rate may not be the same from project to project.
X Security Risks. There may be security issues or concerns when outsourcing to a third-party company. The company might potentially expose some proprietary information, which might get to its competitors through the contractors.
X Learning curve/training. It takes time to train a new set of people every time a new feature needs to be added to the website. You rarely have a dedicated team when outsourcing such effort.
X Stability. Consulting companies can go out of business, sometimes on a rather short notice. If this happens Primus Securities overall strategy will be threatened.
The company will use focus groups to help determine what type of features customers would like on a brokerage firm website or questionnaires and surveys. Focus groups will also give the company an insight into why customers have certain views. To increase the response rate of questionnaires and surveys they should be kept short and be user friendly. Incentives can also be given to potential customer completing the surveys such as a one month free trial period to the member-only area of the website once it goes live.
In addition, the company evaluate the number of hits on certain will website pages as well as look at the number of returning customers. The most frequently used pages will be analyzed to see what information the customers found attractive.
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Competitors¡¦ data will also be closely looked at as well. If the competitors have already implemented the features similar to the ones the company has in the pipeline, the research must be conducted to figure out how their customers react to the new features, as well as how the implementation of those new features affected the overall performance of the competitors, their revenue, and profit.
Customer behaviors are constantly changing, so there is a risk if a marketing strategy is not implemented. These risks include:
X Loss of new and/or existing customers.
X Loss sales opportunities.
X Unable to identify trends or spot current/upcoming market problems.
A co-hosted dedicated server will be used to increase site availability. The intranet site will be hosted on a different server. Backup servers will be in place to ensure business continuity. Data will be backed up on a daily basis. A catastrophe plan will also be developed in the event of a natural disaster.
Visual Basic, C++, Java, HTML, VBScript, DHMTL and .Net technology may be used to program Internet/Intranet site and applications. Other programming languages or off the shelf products will be evaluate as necessary for applicability.
Web Site Features
The following are the initial features that should be included on the website. Additional features will be implemented in a phased approach as part of the company¡¦s long-term e-marketing strategy discussed later in this document.
X Quote.com Stock Ticker. Stock ticker will refresh every minute giving clients the most recent performance on stocks and exchanges.
X Newsletter. Will give the latest company information such as coming features, enhancements, etc.
X Portfolio Tracker. Allow clients to keep track of stocks they own.
X Volume Based Trade Discounts. Customers will receive greater discounts if they trade in large quantities.
X Moderated Discussion Board. Gives clients quick access to investment related questions.
X SMS and Email Alert. Gives clients the latest stock information when they are not logged on the website.
As the Internet site is implemented, developers should ensure programming components used are reusable. This would include elements such as navigation, copyright statement, headers, graphics, etc. Site should use a highly readable font such as Verdana and font style and size should be consistent across the site. Other information to be included on the Internet site include the following:
X Latest yield and rates on money market account, mortgages, home equity loans and credit cards.
X Company philosophy and information.
X Area where clients can purchase books on investing
X Tutorials on basic investing concepts
X Archive of experts¡¦ columns
X Financial planning, retirement, college, savings, and spending calculators
An Intranet site can be developed for communication of department and employees information such as the following items. Content must be relevant, accurate and clear and can be secured as warranted. An alternative to an Intranet site would be to use
X Employee handbook
X Vacation request forms
X Organization charts
X Expense information
X Profit sharing and compensation statements
An alternative to an Intranet site would be to use shared folders on the server or Outlook public folders, which would allow similar functions as, listed below.
X Post information. People who use the public folder can attain an instant update on project activity and status.
X Share Outlook items. A schedule, contact list, or task list. People can review information that is constantly updated. For example, you might use a company calendar folder to publicize company meetings and holidays, a group contacts folder to make information about the people who work on a project available to everyone, and a team tasks folder to help everyone keep track of work on a project.
X Share files. People have fast access to files created in other programs, such as Microsoft Excel or Word. For example, you might use an employee information folder to find information about company policies or a product reference folder to get product information out to everyone who needs it.
X Distribute information. Create forms that allow users to send announcements, documents and requests for services.
X Collaborate on information. Allow all members of a team to participate in a discussion.
An Extranet can be used to facilitate communication and data exchange between the business and other organizations. Currently there is no plan to include this technology, as this year the focus is to develop client-based solutions.
Firewalls will be used as the primary perimeter defense mechanisms to ensure all communications attempting to cross from one network to another meets the company¡¦s security policy. Access control policies, known as rulebases, provide the firewalls with information on how to handle communications. These policies determine if the data traffic is denied or allowed through the firewall to the intended network destination.
Both clients accessing the Internet site and employees accessing the Intranet site will use password standards. Both will follow standards.
X Required password length is at least 8 characters
X Password must also reflect characters that include at least 3 of the following 4:
One or more upper case letters
One or more lower-case letters
One or more numbers, or
One or more special characters, such as @,!,#,$,%,&
X Client passwords can be changed at once email address is verified.
X Employees will be forced to change network passwords every sixty days, which would be used to authenticate secure Intranet content.
Additional E-Marketing Strategies
There is a risk of loosing customers if the website does not include up-to-date information and new features are not added. Primus Securities as part of its long-term strategy should implement the following e-marketing strategies. Each feature must be evaluated for implementation cost, customer retention and profitability:
X Online transactions. Time may be at the essence when dealing with the stock market. Being able to do online transactions is important to any customer. Customers need the ability to submit ¡¨buy¡¨, ¡§sell¡¨ or ¡§hold¡¨ orders on margin accounts. This would eliminate the need to call a broker or service account area.
X Membership Fees. A membership fee can generate additional revenue for Primus Securities. Members could have access to specialize content such as financial analysts report and recommendations. Portfolio analysis tools can also be offered to review portfolios and offer diversification recommendations or recommendations based the investor¡¦s tolerance level.
X Fee based services. Fee based services can generate revenue from things such as setting up an estate plan or giving tax advice.
X Affiliate Programs. Affiliate programs are used generate revenue by driving merchants to online sites. Primus Securities can partner with certain banks that offer services such as online banking. Selling advertising space could also be used to generate revenue for the company.
X Promotions. Promotions will help drive customers to the website. Lower cost per online trade may increase usage thereby generating more revenue for the firm during the promotional period. Free trial memberships will also let potential customers take a ¡§test drive¡¨ before buying.
X Online Chats. Scheduled online chats with financial experts would allow customers to ask questions about the topic at hand. Topics could include risk assessment, questions about products offered etc.
Studies also show that investors are concerned with firms having a conflict of interest when offering fee-based advice services. ¡§Fifty eight percent of customers incorrectly believe that both stockbrokers and investment advisors have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the investor's best interest in all aspects of the financial relationship, and 63% incorrectly believe that both stockbrokers and investment advisors are required to disclose all conflicts of interest prior to providing financial advice. Nonetheless, nearly 85% of investors expect all financial professionals offering fee-based financial advice to provide these protections¡¨ (¡§TD Waterhouse USA First Brokerage Firm to Take Stand Against The Merrill Lynch Rule¡¨, 2004).
An alternative would be to offer to offering advice based on an hourly fee. The fee would generate more revenue when research and complex questions had to be done and less when it was a simple question. The advisor would not receive any compensation based on investment decisions made by clients. Guidelines posted on the site would let customers know what types of issues were considered complex and which are considered simple.
PR Newswire (2004). TD Waterhouse USA First Brokerage Firm to Take Stand Against The Merrill Lynch Rule. Retrieved May 14, 2005 from http://sev.prnewswire.com/banking-financial-services/20041122/NYM03522112004-1.html.