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Defining Full Service as a Digital Agency and Hosting Provider

Bill Casey CEO & Partner
Published on June 25, 2013

Full service, albeit a catchy term can mean different things when evaluating a digital agency or a hosting provider. Diagram strives to offer services that equate to a valued partnership.

Full Service. It's a catchy term used by a wide variety of businesses in an attempt to show value and separate themselves from the pack. How "full" the service actually is will obviously be quite different and open to interpretation from company to company. In the digital agency or web design world, "full service" generally means the ability to provide a wide array of interactive services, including strategy, discovery, information architecture, user experience design, front end development, application development, ongoing maintenance, etc. There are numerous variations on the specifics, but a full service design agency will generally be able to handle a full lifecycle design and development project using in-house staff. Diagram is counted among the full service digital agencies.

Defining "Full Service" Hosting

In the web hosting industry, full service has a quite different definition. Generally referred to as Managed Hosting, this full service offering not only includes server space, power, and bandwidth, but also complete management of the hosting environment. This includes managing OS updates, security patches, anti-virus protection, backups, firewalls, etc. It also includes access to support staff to assist with any technical issues that arise. In general, managed hosting alleviates the need for an organization's internal IT staff to support the web hosting environment. Again, Diagram can be counted among the full service hosting companies.

Integrating both Interactive Services and Hosting

These are both fairly common business models, and there are many examples of companies that do a very good job of providing these services. What's not as common, however, is a company capable of providing both types of services, and companies who are able to excel at providing both are even less common. Web design and web hosting are quite distinct service offerings, and they require very different sets of capabilities and talents. There is an inherent gap in between design and hosting - one side involves the creation of the application, the other is where it lives after launch. But what about the space in between? Once the design, development and deployment to the hosting environment are complete, the work of ensuring the website is meeting its goals is an ongoing effort.

This is where Diagram's definition of Full Service comes into play. It's more than just having the ability to offer both design/development and managed hosting services. It also goes beyond simply offering "maintenance" services such as periodic tweaks, updates, and additions to the web site. We believe that in order to truly provide the best digital solutions to our clients, we need to become true partners with a deep understanding of the entire technical infrastructure, growth plan, and strategic goals of the web site. From this perspective, we are not only able to provide support and guidance on the evolution of the web site itself, but we are also able to offer proactive support to ensure the entire web environment is properly maintained, and, more importantly, scales appropriately with the planned and actual growth of the web site.

Our specific brand of Full Service combines the standard Managed Hosting services with the knowledge and expertise surrounding the web application itself. Not only will we support the server, we will support the web site, ensuring that it is performing optimally and free from errors. A typical managed hosting company cannot effectively provide this service, as there is simply no way to be able to understand the complexities and logic of the web applications loaded onto each server unless they've built it themselves. Diagram is in the unique position of being able to build the web sites that are hosted in our environment and apply that knowledge to ongoing support and growth. This comprehensive knowledge and involvement allows us to be the type of valued partner we believe constitutes true Full Service.