Posted: November 23, 2023 by Malwarebytes LabsScammers never miss an opportunity to make a quick buck, and love to piggy back on the latest trends. So what better way to kick off the scamming season than by offering Black Friday sales on one of the most popular products around: a Stanley cup.
We found an ad on Facebook offering a Stanley Quencher for the low price of $19:
Facebook ad for Stanley Quenchers
Normally these Stanley cups sell for $45 on Amazon. They’re very popular since they reportedly keep drinks cold for 11 hours and hot for seven hours. Even if your car burns out.
Clicking the advertisement takes you to a shady-at-best website where you can take your pick of Stanleys.
Website at domain d-sportinggoodsus[.]com
Hint: look at the domain name. Malwarebytes doesn’t like it either.
Malwarebytes customers are protected
Both the site and the payment processor are registered in Hong Kong and will happily pocket your money without doing anything in return.
To gain the buyer’s trust, the Facebook comments are populated by bots and/or compromised accounts.
Facebook comments of people claiming they received the goods
As always, use your best spidey senses to pick up on scams like these. With this particular scam, you’re likely to only lose the money you paid to the scammers, but other scams can end in much higher losses.
How do you avoid bad ads?
What's New in Zoho Books - October 2023
Author: Subhashri Kamaraj
We've rolled out a new set of features and enhancements. These updates bring you new features related to taxes, and other enhancements that will help improve your accounting experience with us. Read on to learn more about what's new in Zoho Books this October.
Feature Updates Related to Taxes
Tax Amount Override [Canada Edition]
You can now edit the system-generated tax amount in Sales and Purchases transactions. You can also remove the amount altogether by entering 0 in the Total Tax Amount field. You can choose to do this for Sales, Purchases, or both Sales and Purchases transactions. This can help you correct differences, if any, between the system-generated tax amount and the preferred tax amount.
To configure Tax Override, go to Settings > Taxes > Tax Preferences. Select the required option under Tax Amount Override in Transactions.
TDS Amount Override [Global Edition]
Similar to the tax amount override feature, you can configure TDS Override in your organization and enable users to edit the system-generated TDS amount in transactions.
To configure TDS Override, go to Settings > Taxes > Tax Settings. Select the required option under TDS.
Audit Trail [Canada Edition]
We've supported Audit Trail which you can use to track every activity related to taxes like the date and time of when the activity occurred. Click View Audit Trail next to the specific activity related to taxes to drill down into the details of the activity. You can also view previous versions and compare two versions if required. This helps you easily identify and stay on top of the changes made to the tax configurations in your organization.
You can access audit trails from Reports: Go to Activity and Audit Trail report under Activity in Reports.
Configure Date Range for TCS Rates [India Edition]
Keeping up with the constantly changing TCS (Tax Collected At Source) rates in India and associating the correct tax rates in transactions can be tedious at times. We've introduced an option in the Manage TCS section where you can configure specific date ranges for TCS rates by associating a start date and/or end date. Once associated, the specific TCS rate can be applied to all transactions within the configured date range. This helps you avoid associating old or invalid TCS rates in transactions. You can also track the status of the configured TCS rates to view if it's active or expired.
Reject Transfer Orders And Inventory Adjustments
Users with the necessary permissions (permission to approve transactions) now have the option to reject transfer orders and inventory adjustments that were submitted for approval. The rejected transactions can also be resubmitted by users. In addition to this, you can also edit the Quantity Adjusted in inventory adjustments that are in the Approval Pending or Approved statuses.
Note: Transfer Orders are only available for organizations in which the Zoho Inventory Add-on in enabled.
Prevent Duplicate Payments
Some payment methods like ACH or direct debit payments typically take about 2-3 days or longer to get processed. During this time, the related invoice's payment will be pending and your customers might try to re-initiate duplicate payments for the same invoice.
You can now restrict such duplicate payments for invoices using the Prevent Duplicate Payments preference. Once enabled, the Pay Now button won't be shown for invoices for which payment is still being processed. Your customers can make subsequent payments only if the first payment attempt fails. Thus, saving you the trouble of refunding duplicate payments.
This preference will be applied to all payments via transaction PDFs, email notifications, payment links and the Customer Portal.
To enable this, go to Settings > Customer Portal > General. Mark the Prevent duplicate payments checkbox. Click Save.
That marks the end of this month's updates! We hope you found them helpful. Let us know what you think in the comments below. You can also visit the What's New timeline for byte-sized information on the previous feature updates and enhancements.
We'll catch you in next month's product updates. Until then, if you require any assistance or need clarifications, feel free to write to us at email@example.com, we'd be happy to help!
The Zoho Books Team
As a small business owner, it's important to have a solid marketing strategy in place to help your business stand out and grow. However, with limited resources and budgets, it can be overwhelming to know where to focus your efforts. That's why we've put together this checklist of essential marketing areas for small businesses.
1. High-ranking Website
In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for small businesses. This starts with a high-ranking website that is user-friendly and visually appealing. Your website should be easy to navigate, provide valuable information about your business and services, and have clear calls-to-action to convert visitors into customers.
2. Outbound Marketing Campaigns
Outbound marketing refers to any form of marketing where a business initiates the conversation and sends its message out to potential customers. This can include methods like text messages, emails, direct mail, and cold calling. Outbound marketing allows small businesses to reach a large audience quickly and generate leads.
3. Data Collecting
Collecting data on your target market is essential for creating effective marketing campaigns. This can include demographics, buying habits, and interests. With this information, you can tailor your marketing efforts to reach the right audience and increase your chances of success.
4. Social Media Campaigns
Social media is a powerful tool for small businesses to engage with their target market and promote their brand. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Networking plays a pivotal role in the growth and visibility of small businesses. It involves establishing relationships with other business professionals, potential clients, or industry influencers. Attending business networking events, joining local business associations, or participating in online forums and discussions can all provide opportunities for you to promote your business, learn from others, and even form partnerships. Remember, successful networking is about building genuine relationships and offering value to others, which in turn can lead to referrals and increased business.
Let me just share what they are as I had wanted to post a video, but I sounded too bitchy when I tried to express how important it is to NOT make these all too common job-seeking mistakes :)
My goal is to help, and so I shall!
Sending a resume without being asked for it. This is HUGE. Many of you here sent your resume to me first, asking if I had a job. This isn't how 'job seeking' or 'networking' works. Only send your resume after you KNOW what the job entails. If you don't wait for a position description, you have pretty much knocked yourself out as you didn't get a chance to adjust your resume to the role. AND- no one asked!
Lack of Preparation: Candidates who haven't researched the company or role seem like they aren't too interested. No one wants to spend time reminding you what the position is when there are likely more than a hundred people who have applied after you and ARE interested in the position...
In short, do not answer the recruiter's call (after you applied) and ask them, "What position is this again? I have applied to so many..." It may have worked in a great economy, but not now.
When the recruiter calls, ask them to send a copy of the position description in an email and request a link to their calendar.
There's a process for these things, you want to show you are professional and understand the process of job seeking.
Ignoring Instructions: Not following instructions or disregarding specific requests only shows you aren't able to manage job seeking as a process or that you simply don't care. This is HUGE as you are being evaluated from the moment you answer the phone or hit send.
Inconsistent Resume: Discrepancies between your resume and your interview responses, such as differing job titles or responsibilities, can raise concerns about honesty. Be sure to explain your situation on "paper" as well as in the interview.
Negative Attitude: A negative attitude, including complaining about past employers or colleagues, can get you knocked out of the process EVEN IF you are a perfect fit. Talking about past employers? Just DON'T! It kills me every time when I want to share that I had a manager who never even spoke to me for my first YEAR under him. I tell myself to ZIP IT and vent to friends. Keep it professional in the interview. Besides, why make yourself look bad for venting to a stranger when you are destined for greater things (and better management).
Overemphasis on Compensation: You don't even know much about the job until you are in the interview process. No point in bringing up compensation. Besides, the person who brings up compensation/ pay 1st LOSES. Read "Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss. Here's the link to Amazon (I'm NOT an affiliate) https://www.amazon.com/s?k=negotiate+like+your+life+depends+on+it&crid=38CZNTOA3EAB8&sprefix=nego%2Caps%2C330&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_4_4
Inadequate Questions: Candidates who don't ask thoughtful questions about the position, company or team may not really be thinking about what life will be like to work there. Ask better questions! No need to ask the manager if they like their job. You aren't applying to their job. A great question to ask is: "Does your team enjoy what they do?" and follow up with "How do you know?" Put them in the hot seat for a change :)
Lack of Enthusiasm: If you seem bored or even monotone in the interview, you will not be winning any gold stars for participation. SOMETHING about the job should interest you, or you are applying to the wrong job.
Inappropriate Behavior: Any unprofessional or disrespectful behavior during the interview, such as arriving late, using a phone, or interrupting, is a significant red flag. Also, DO NOT CUSS. I don't care if the interviewer does it, just don't.
Difficulty with Communication: Candidates who struggle to communicate clearly what they have done in the past will likely fail the interview. Practice with someone, ANYONE, to effectively communicate your experience.
Reach out with questions on these! Happy to help!
Posted: August 16, 2023 by Pieter Arntz
The FBI has issued a warning that cybercriminals are embedding malicious code in mobile beta-testing apps in attempts to defraud potential victims. The victims are typically contacted on dating sites and social media, and in some cases they are promised incentives such as large financial payouts.
Beta-testing apps are new versions of software that are undergoing their final tests and aren't quite ready to be officially released. In the legitimate software ecosystem, beta testing gives users a chance to improve their favorite apps and get early access to new features. For criminals, "beta-testing" apps offer a plausible reason for victims to download software from unsafe places, away from the usual app stores, without raising their suspicions.
To make the apps look legitimate the criminals use familiar looking names, images, or descriptions that are similar to popular apps. Embedded in the apps is malicious code used to defraud the victim or compromise the device. According to the FBI:
“The malicious apps enable theft of personally identifiable information (PII), financial account access, or device takeover.”The agency says it’s aware of fraud schemes where the victims are contacted and directed to download mobile beta-testing apps, such as cryptocurrency exchanges, that steal money instead of investing it.
In an earlier warning the FBI focused on scammers that haunt forums and comments sections, looking for victims who have lost cryptocurrency to fraud, scams, and theft. The scammers claim to provide cryptocurrency tracing and promise to recover lost funds.
Example of an (intercepted) attempt to post recovery a advertisement in our blog comments
These recovery scheme fraudsters will charge an up-front fee and either cease communication after receiving the initial deposit, or they will produce an incomplete or inaccurate tracing report and claim they need additional fees to recover the funds.
The fraudsters will even go as far as to claim they are affiliated with law enforcement or legal services to appear legitimate. It is important to realize that private sector recovery companies cannot issue seizure orders to recover cryptocurrency.
Stay safeBeta-testing can be fun and rewarding, but check that you are testing the app from a legitimate source and trusted developer. For example, Malwarebytes offers their beta downloads on their own forums.
Do not send payment to someone you have only spoken to online, even if you believe you have established a relationship with them. Scammers specialize in making you think that.
Do not provide personal or financial information in email or messages, and do not respond to email or message solicitations, including links.
Do not download or use suspicious looking apps as a tool for investing unless you can verify the legitimacy of the app.
Shy away from advertisements for cryptocurrency recovery services. Research the advertised company and beware if the company uses vague language, has a minimal online presence, and makes promises regarding an ability to recover funds. Do not make things even worse.
Law enforcement does not charge victims a fee for investigating crimes. If someone claims an affiliation with the FBI, contact your local FBI field office to confirm.
As the FBI pointed out:
“Cryptocurrency exchanges only freeze accounts based on internal processes or in response to legal process.”
Posted: August 7, 2023 by Pieter Arntz
The European Data Protection Board is expected to fine TikTok for violating the privacy of young children within the next four weeks.
The European Data Protection Board said a binding decision has been reached over TikTok's processing of children’s data, after the ByteDance-owned app submitted legal objections to an earlier ruling in Ireland, the home of the company’s European headquarters. The size of the fine is not yet known but will surely be in the millions of Euros.
This proceeding started in 2021, when the Dutch DPA imposed a fine of € 750,000 ($820,000) on TikTok. The main reason was that the information provided during the installation and usage of the app was in English and thus not readily understandable, especially for children. Not offering their privacy statement in Dutch was an infringement of privacy legislation by itself, because users have a right to be given a clear idea of what happens with their personal data.
The results of the Dutch investigation were handed to the Irish Data Protection Commission. Initially TikTok did not have its head office in Europe but in the course of the Dutch investigation, TikTok established operations in Ireland. If a company does not have its headquarters in Europe, any EU member state can engage in oversight with regard to its activities. In the case of companies that do have their headquarters in Europe, this responsibility would fall mainly to the country where the headquarters are located.
The following investigation by the data protection commissioner in Ireland into TikTok’s level of compliance with its general data protection regulation (GDPR) and how it handles the data of children between the ages of 13 and 17, brought to light problems regarding TikTok’s processing of children’s personal data, and age verification measures for children under 13.
In April of 2023, TikTok was ordered to pay a fine of £12.7M ($15.6M) for failing to protect 1.4 million UK children under the age of 13 from accessing its platform in 2020. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the UK's data protection watchdog, imposed the fine after finding the company used children's data without parental consent. According to the ICO, many children were able to access the site despite TikTok setting 13 as the minimum age to create an account. This exposed them to vulnerabilities and inappropriate content. According to the ICO, the company may have used the data for tracking and profiling purposes. It may have also presented children with content deemed potentially harmful or inappropriate.
To improve compliance with new European Union regulations on content TikTok announced a number of new features for European users:
“We will continue to not only meet our regulatory obligations, but also strive to set new standards through innovative solutions.”
In the US TikTok has received a lot of criticism in the last few years as well. Among other things it's been called an "unacceptable security risk" by the commissioner of the FCC and was accused of gathering data on people who don't even use the app by a US consumer non-profit.
In April we explained what was going on and whether you had reasons to be worried from an organizational standpoint. The risks of allowing TikTok on corporate or hybrid devices very much depends on your threat model. While it is understandable that governments, the military, or defense contractors are among the first to ban TikTok from these devices, many other organizations are facing a lot of threats that are a much greater concern.
1. Trust Amazon-owned channels.
Always go through the Amazon mobile app or website when seeking customer service, tech support, or when looking to make changes to your account.
2. Be wary of false urgency.
Scammers may try to create a sense of urgency to persuade you to do what they're asking. Be wary any time someone tries to convince you that you must act now.
3. Never pay over the phone.
Amazon will never ask you to provide payment information, including gift cards (or “verification cards,” as some scammers call them) for products or services over the phone.
4. Verify links first.
Legitimate Amazon websites contain "amazon.com" or "amazon.com/support." Go directly to our website when seeking help with Amazon devices/services, orders or to make changes to your account.
For more information on how to stay safe online, visit Security & Privacy on the Amazon Customer Service page.
Anyone can create a blog. But not everyone who creates a blog gets traction.
But optimizing your blog for SEO can earn you free traffic from search engines.
Any independent blogger or online business with a blog can benefit from SEO.
By attracting visitors that are interested in your content, you can:
1. Write About Topics People Are Searching ForTo earn traffic from Google, you need to write about topics people are searching for.
But how do you find such topics?
Use keyword research tools like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool.
Enter a broad keyword related to your niche. For example, if you run a health and fitness blog, that keyword could be “exercise.”
Then, click “Search.”
Toggle to the “Questions” tab.
The tool will show a large pool of topic ideas. Along with important keyword metrics like search volume and keyword difficulty.
Search volume is the average number of times a keyword is searched for each month.
Keyword difficulty tells you how hard it would be to rank organically in the top 10 search engine results.
If your blog is new and you want to rank relatively quickly, focus on topics with lower keyword difficulty.
To find such topics, set the KD (Keyword Difficulty) filter to “Easy.”
Now you have a list of topics that are easier to rank for.
Go through the list. And pick topics that interest you and are relevant for your business to cover.
Find Blog Keyword Ideas
with the Keyword Magic Tool, the Biggest Keyword Database on the Market
Try for Free →2. Get the Search Intent RightOnce you know which topics to write about, the next step is to understand search intent. And to create content accordingly.
Search intent is the why behind searches.
Blog keywords typically have informational search intent: The searcher is looking for information.
And that information could be delivered in one of these content formats:
Analyze the top-ranking pages to figure that out.
For example, here are the top results for “how to lose belly fat.”
Most of the top-ranking pages are listicles with tips for losing belly fat.
To rank for this keyword, you likely have to create something similar—i.e., a listicle post with tips.
3. Create Quality ContentCreate quality content, and Google is likely to reward you with higher rankings and more traffic.
According to Google’s guidelines, quality content is useful and interesting. And that means it is:
Their level of knowledge in a particular field will be reflected in their content.
For example, the content you see on our blog is created by SEOs and marketers with years of experience in the field.
My colleague, Zach Paruch, has more than eight years of experience in SEO and web marketing.
The content he has written for us is useful, informative, and well-written.
It is clearly organized with headings and subheadings:
Easy to read with short paragraphs and simple words:
And thorough and in-depth:
You need to do the same for your content.
4. Do On-Page SEOWhen you’re doing SEO for a blog, you also need to implement on-page SEO best practices.
So Google can better understand your content. And rank it properly.
Use the following tips:
Then, use Semrush’s On Page SEO Checker tool to cross-check whether your blogs are properly optimized.
First, configure the tool for your site.
After the setup is complete, click the “Optimization Ideas” tab.
Here, you’ll see a list of blogs on your site. And a number of optimization ideas for each post.
Click on “X ideas.”
The content section should tell you whether your blogs are optimized for on-page SEO.
Check Your Blog’s On-Page SEO
with the On Page SEO Checker
Try for Free →5. Make Your Blogs Easy to ReadIf your content is difficult to follow, readers might abandon your article (and your site).
Which is not good for SEO.
Work to solve this problem by creating an effortless reading experience.
Here are some ideas:
If your content has readability issues, the tool will show you what sentences or words could be rewritten to improve readability.
Improve Your Content’s Readability
with the SEO Writing Assistant
Try for Free →6. Monitor Technical SEO IssuesIf Google can’t crawl and index your blogs, it doesn’t matter what SEO tactics you’ve used. Your blogs just can’t rank.
Additionally, if your blogs take more than a few seconds to load, users might abandon your site.
Technical SEO issues like these are not good for SEO. Or your business.
Use Semrush’s Site Audit tool to monitor and fix technical SEO issues.
First set up a full crawl of your site.
Once the crawl is complete, navigate to the “Issues” tab. You’ll see the technical issues detected for your site.
Click the “Why and how to fix it” link next to each issue to understand why something is an issue and how to fix it.
7. Build BacklinksBacklinks are an important ranking factor for Google.
A good SEO strategy includes a solid backlinking strategy.
This is especially true if your blogs target popular keywords with high competition.
There are lots of strategies for link building.
Let’s walk through one: broken link building.
It’s where you find dead (broken) blogs on your competitors’ websites and ask those linking to them to link to your topically similar, functioning blogs instead.
This strategy can be effective because no one wants to send their audience to broken or outdated content.
Start by entering your competitor’s URL into Semrush’s Backlink Analytics tool. Click “Analyze.”
Then, head over to the “Indexed Pages” tab. And check the “Broken Pages” box.
To see a list of your competitor’s non-working blog posts.
Review the blog topics to see if you have already covered the same topics on your site.
If you haven’t, consider covering them if they’re relevant for your business, too.
After that, reach out to websites linking to those dead blogs. And ask them to link to your blog posts on the same topic instead.
Click the numbers in the “Domains” column. These are the websites you can reach out to for backlinks.
Don’t know how to reach out? Check out our guide to email outreach to get started.
8. Update Older ContentOver time, blog content becomes outdated.
The search intent of your target keywords will likely change. Or the related industry will change.
And your rankings may drop as a result.
When that happens, you need to refresh your blog posts.
We do this all the time at Semrush.
For example, we recently updated our guide to marketing funnels. And as you can see below, our organic traffic spiked.
But how do you know which blog posts to update?
Put some of your older blogs into Semrush’s Organic Research tool and look at the organic traffic graph.
For example, if we do this for our Shopify SEO guide, we see a drop in traffic over time. So it may be worth updating this post.
When updating posts, consider these best practices:
Monitor your updated content’s progress and watch your traffic increase with your updating efforts.
Start Optimizing Your Blogs TodayBlogging and SEO go hand in hand.
If you follow the above tips, you’re on your way to improving your Google rankings.
But SEO tools can help you get there faster and more efficiently.
Semrush offers a suite of SEO tools to help you with various SEO tasks, such as keyword research, on-page SEO, link building, and more.
They’re immensely valuable for anyone who’s serious about increasing traffic from Google.
Software onboarding costs can come from multiple sources, even from within your own company.There's nothing more terrifying than hidden costs. And when it comes to software, people often miss the cost of onboarding. It's worth it to employ a comprehensive process.
If you've figured out which software will solve your business needs, now it's time to make a case for it.
Finding the right software for your business can be a time-consuming process. You measure features against your business needs, ask for your team’s input, and finally, compare pricing against your budget. But if you are only comparing the monthly or yearly subscription fees listed on the software's website, you may be missing some of the costs that come with adopting new technology: onboarding costs.
If you're a small or midsize business leader who is ready to make a software purchase and prepare for the adoption process, onboarding costs can come as a surprise, and not all of them are fees charged by your vendor. In fact, many of them, like onboarding new resources or training personnel, may not have anything to do with the vendor.
If you're wondering about the level of effort and total costs associated with onboarding a team onto a new tool, we're here to help. In this article, we'll walk you through the costs you can expect when establishing a robust software onboarding process, as well as those you can expect if your employees' onboarding process falls short.
What are software onboarding costs?Most business decision-makers know that modern software usually comes with ongoing costs in the form of subscription fees, but many think that onboarding is a cost that they pay once, and then they're done. However, software onboarding involves more than setup and implementation fees. It is an involved process that can set your current and future employees up for success through all stages of using the new tool.
There may be some setup fees, especially if you have to integrate the new software into your existing infrastructure, but there are also internal costs, such as the time and resources that are needed to train employees to use the software or to migrate data from legacy systems. And while setup and installation might be the last fee you expected from the vendor, what about support and maintenance? The costs of implementing new software can add up quickly unless you're prepared.
You also might have to onboard new resources, such as consultants, especially if you opt out of vendor support and don't have team members who know the software well, adding even more costs to the equation. It can seem like it never ends, but you know what could be worse? Not investing in proper onboarding. It can lead to even greater costs in the long run, such as decreased productivity and employee turnover. It's much better to understand these costs upfront and budget accordingly to ensure the success of the new tool.
What are the software onboarding costs to consider?When buying and implementing new software, businesses need to keep a variety of onboarding costs in mind, including internal costs, costs associated with the vendor, and the cost of additional onboarding resources. Below, we'll look at each category of costs in detail so you know what to expect, what you are paying for, and why you should consider many of them as an investment in the future of your business.
Vendor associated costsWhile it might seem like vendor fees pop up in the most unexpected places and never stop, you still need to consider them in the software onboarding process. Many vendors offer support to their customers during the onboarding process to help with any questions or confusion a customer may have when trying to put the tool to use in their business.
A vendor might offer technical support during software onboarding to help your employees navigate the technical features of the new tool. The vendor's support staff will help your team diagnose and resolve technical issues, show them how to put its features to use, assist with configuring it to your needs, and aid with data migration. Technical support is often offered in tiers, with packages for different sizes of businesses or differing levels of complexity. If a vendor charges for this support, be sure to include that in your onboarding costs.
A software vendor could also offer customer support which is useful for employees that will be using the software on a daily basis. Customer support reps help users with more general questions and issues related to the new software and act as your liaison with the vendor. Make sure to ask if the vendor charges for customer support packages or a dedicated support representative because your team may have a lot of questions as they begin using the new tool for their everyday tasks.
Internal costsSoftware doesn't magically appear installed and working once you pay the first subscription fee. Even if it did, the skills to use the software don't transfer by osmosis. One internal cost you must consider when onboarding new software is the time spent by the salaried staff members who will be dedicated to onboarding the team that will use the tool. Make sure to include anyone who will be the onboarding champion, as well as any IT or HR staff who will help with the process.
Training is another expense to consider. The training itself may be a cost, but even if you got training as part of your package, there will still be costs involved. Each hour an employee spends in a training session is an hour your business is paying for and an hour they're not spending on their dedicated tasks, so the time spent training should be treated as another expense.
Finally, even with training, it takes a while for the team to become efficient at using new software. You will have to expect your employees to have a learning curve. Tasks may take longer initially while team members adjust to a new platform. Make sure to budget for reduced output during the lifespan of the onboarding process.
Cost of additional onboarding resourcesAlong with internal and vendor costs, there are some additional onboarding costs you need to consider. Something you should think about, especially if the software you're adopting is vital to operations or will be used by a large part of your staff, is investing in a learning management system (LMS). An LMS will administer and track employee onboarding training sessions and ensure that all employees learn what they need to know to use the new tool.
Another tool to look into that could help with the software onboarding process is a digital adoption platform (DAP). DAPs are designed to help users better understand and use applications and reduce their learning curve. They provide interactive guidance and contextual tips that walk new users through the functions of the software in real time.
If your software purchase will move you from a hardware-based infrastructure to the cloud, it might be worth working with a cloud consultant company to ensure successful implementation and maintenance of the tool. A cloud consultant can provide guidance on everything from selecting the right cloud service provider to setting up and configuring the necessary infrastructure. By working with a consultant, you can ensure that you don't run into any costly slowdowns while your team gets familiar with the new software.
Key considerations for preparing your business for software onboarding costsWhile it might seem like the answer to keeping software onboarding costs down is cutting some of them, it is important to understand that the success of the onboarding process is not just determined by the price you pay. The time and effort your employees spend preparing your business to adopt the new tool also factor in. Failing to provide adequate training and support to your team can lead to costs you never expected.
It will take time for employees to get used to the ins and outs of the new software. Without training or support, they will have to figure it out themselves or search through documentation or Google to find the answers they seek. And while they are doing this, they won't be working on their primary tasks, which can impact the quality of their work.
Other employees may not take the initiative to find the answers they need or may not know how. Instead, they'll just get frustrated with the unintuitive experience the tool provides and lack the motivation to finish their tasks or complete their tasks incorrectly. This can result in more lost time and effort.
Some employees may struggle with the software and won’t search for answers nor will they try to figure it out as they go. Instead, they will go directly to your IT team for help, reducing the time that team has to do other necessary tasks.
And finally, the frustration employees experience using the software could make them give up on it entirely and look for other ways to complete their tasks. This increases the risk of shadow IT, where employees use unsanctioned processes, which can ultimately be more expensive and less secure, not to mention the fact that you paid for the initial tool that no one is using.
It’s worth it to have a comprehensive onboarding processWhile implementing an effective software onboarding process may take some time and cost your business more initially, it can keep costs down in the long run as well as empower your team, reduce mistakes, and maximize user adoption of the new tool.
On the other hand, neglecting to provide sufficient training will most likely result in hidden costs, such as employee frustration, burnout, and the risk of employees using an alternative unapproved process to get their work done. By considering the costs and benefits of onboarding, you can create a training program that will help your team succeed and maximize the value of your software investment.
The AI chatbot, ChatGPT, has taken the world by storm. Employees love the much-hyped chatbot for its productivity shortcuts, but are they too trusting of its responses? The folks at OpenAI, its creator, even say it “sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers”.
It’s a good idea to check what kind of boilerplate templates your current tools have before turning to a chatbot. Check out the tools below for support in your AI adventures: