Square One

Overview:

Launched in October 1999, iWon became the internet's leading loyalty-based portal combining world class search, content and functionality with the internet's largest guaranteed cash giveaway, loyalty program. iWon combines the established appeal and usefulness of internet portals with leading edge interactive sweepstakes and rewards programs to create an informative and entertaining product for internet users. iWon is based in Irvington, New York, and has a number of field offices and remote sales representatives.

The Need:

Square One was contracted shortly after iWon was founded to provide several key IT services for the company's internal infrastructure. These included network design, implementation, on-site support and on going project based work. Beginning when iWon had fewer than thirty employees, Square One was brought in to design and implement a system infrastructure that would keep pace with the anticipated rapid growth. iWon grew to over three hundred end users during its first year. Most recently, Square One managed iWon’s need for migration from Windows NT to Windows 2000, including a complete native Active Directory structure.
• Full start up IT design, implementation and support for internal infrastructure
• Management of on-going special project work
• Infrastructure growth to keep pace with company growth (from 30-300+ staff first year)

The Solution:


• Develop and implement new processes and procedures to accommodate rapid growth
• Designed internal NT/2000 and Exchange infrastructure to handle growth and remote sales offices
• Managed creation of infrastructure for external functionality for internal/external synergy

The Result:

In just over one year iWon.com grew faster and more successfully than almost any other portal and positioned itself as the No. 2 portal, after Yahoo. This, after a self-proclaimed “shaky beginning", with one of the owners admitting that iWon had "launched the worst portal on the Internet."

Throughout the transistion, Square One consistently provided full-time IT consultants on site at iWon, performing a variety of services, including server administration, helpdesk management, UNIX and LINUX development and executive level support. Square One helped iWon hire internal IT staff once the base environment was established, and continues to provide outsourced support on an as-needed basis.
• Within one year growth and success was more rapid and successful than other portals launched at that time
• Vast improvement in daily operations efficiency
• Assisted in hiring of internal support staff to achieve goal of smooth transition out of company

The Details:

Square One was able to implement new processes and procedures, which made it easy for the company to grow. For more than six months Square One coordinated all aspects the technology requirements for the new hire process included everything from sourcing hardware to managing user accounts, permissions and rollouts. This enabled iWon to keep pace with their rapid growth. Square One also designed the internal NT/2000 and Exchange infrastructure to support this growth, including the establishment of several remote sales offices on the East and West coasts of the U.S.

In addition to the standard office environment, we managed the creation of an infrastructure to support various functional areas that focused on web-site deployment. These groups included Development and Testing (UNIX/LINUX based), Content Creation (Macintosh and PC-based), Quality Assurance (mixed environment), and Sales (Siebel). Due to the rapidly changing needs of a major internet portal, this environment was designed to handle many dynamic systems and network changes that are atypical to most business environments.