Corrections or additions?
Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on February 16, 2000. All rights
Web Limitations: David Krumholz
Creating a website is easy. Building a website is cheap.
Just about anything can be done on the Web.
All lies, says David Krumholz, an East Windsor-based website and
consultant (Strand Management Solutions, 609-448-1200). "Even
an intelligent business person’s idea about what can be delivered
on the Web doesn’t match the reality," says Krumholz, who
the limitations and roadblocks on the Web on Thursday, February 24,
at 8 a.m. at the Princeton Council meeting at the Hyatt. Call
The meeting is free.
Although the average business person doesn’t understand the
of ISPs, servers, and web-based applications, the perception persists
that getting a Web-based business up and running is easy, says
"For the most part, people are happy they don’t understand,"
he says. "They don’t want to learn a lot to use the Internet."
That’s fine — if you’ve got the money to spend, says Krumholz.
More frugal business people might want to take more time to learn
so that they know what they’re really buying. "If someone says
he’s going to host your website for free," says Krumholz, "he
may do that, but is he giving you access to databases, expertise in
navigation, expertise in graphics, and to be frank, is he going to
be in business a year from now?"
Krumholz, who grew up in the Bronx, earned a BS in computer sciences
and accounting from Pace University in the mid-1970s and become a
comptroller in a large engineering firm. He hated it. So he left to
start Strand software consulting and slowly migrated to New Jersey’s
suburbs. "A lot of my business involves looking at systems that
are, if not accounting systems, certainly management systems,"
he says. "Over the past five years delivering a desktop system
means providing something over the Web, so now over half of our
is Web-based, as opposed to client-server based."
That means Krumholz has to walk bewildered clients through a quagmire
of tricky decisions about launching an online shop: which ISP? Buy
or lease a server? Sun or Microsoft NT? T-1 or DSL?
Even the basic wiring — getting a line to the Web — is not
a cut and dried matter, says Krumholz. "One of the misconceptions
is that the physical connection to the Internet is equally available
in all places," says Krumholz, who learned otherwise first hand.
"We went to get a T-1 line installed and we knew exactly what
we were doing and it still took three months — in order to get
the fiber into the building, we had to pass under a property which
required a sign-off by each of the partners in the building."
Everything — from the availability of telecommunication services
to the integrity of web applications — is in a state of flux,
says Krumholz, who offers his own Internet reality check:
than you think it’s going to be," says Krumholz. "Just putting
up a website can be done for close to nothing, but the problem is
people don’t stop to think about all the different things involved
and they don’t understand what they’re getting a good deal on and
what they’re getting a bad deal on. It’s not unusual for computer
application projects to go over budget. As soon as you add the word
Web, you leave yourself open to lots of costs and lots of delays."
out . First, there’s the logistical problem — routing miles
and miles of wires underground and into old buildings. "No one
foresaw the advent of needing more telecommunications lines,"
Secondly, there are too many people with their hands in the cookie
jar. "The people who are selling you the service are not the ones
who have to get it into the building," says Krumholz. "It’s
layer upon layer of partner, and these people have not really worked
through the details. Everything is being oversold. Advertisements
make you think that everything is a lot easier to do than it is in
"If in fact you want T-1 access from your location, there are
30 people who will tell you that they’ll be happy to deliver it to
you right away, but whether or not they can — you may not know
for another 45 days. You can buy DSL service from someone who has
contracted to use the telephone lines, and the phone companies who
actually own those lines view the service as less than business class
service, so if there are problems with the line, they don’t really
have a commitment to help you out."
"Many people in the corporate world become familiar with the kinds
of applications that can be delivered at the desktop using client
server technology and mistakenly think it’s possible to deliver the
same flavor using Web technology, and that’s simply not the case,"
says Krumholz. "The large number of technical issues that are
required to deliver an application on the Web far exceeds what is
required in client-server technology, so people end up having to live
with a smaller application on the Web."
so quickly and there’s so many people providing different means of
delivering desktop applications," says Krumholz. "The way
businesses are being bought and sold these days the chances are that
— no matter who you are dealing with today — you may be
with a different legal entity a year from now."
"I would say about 75 percent of the sites you go to today look
totally different than they did three months ago," says Krumholz.
"It’s not until you have your first site up that you can make
intelligent decisions about those things that you had to decide
Putting the site up is a learning experience every time you do
you can do, says Krumholz, is make the most educated decisions
limit your costs, and accept the fact that you’re not going to wind
up with the best thing possible. "But having learned what you’ve
learned," says Krumholz, "you can start to make better
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.