The Importance of Targeted SEO to Your Company’s Visibility (& Linkability)

SEO has often been viewed by businesses as an ethereal, mysterious thing that a company does for you, and with a sprinkle of magic marketing dust, you are ranking number one on Google for the right keywords and your niche. However, good SEO has been made up of a number of the same things for several years:

  • Good Web Design: While this goalpost has moved over the years, from optimized for desktop to optimized for mobile, from high-resolution video and photos to speed of loading, a modern web design that is responsive and provides a good user experience is essential.
  • Good Content: A website must have good content, from product pages and descriptions to landing pages and blogs, content needs to be informative, well written, and user-friendly.
  • Backlinks: These can be paid, earned, and social. Google expects businesses to pay for ads, earn links from reputable sites, and appear on social media. Link exchanges and guest posting is one of the best ways to earn backlinks. While the search engine still claims social links and shares do not affect ranking, they certainly can have an effect on organic traffic, and there is some debate about when they might become a legitimate factor.  

There is a bit more to it than that. The smarter Google becomes, the more it looks at websites like a human user does. Artificial intelligence and machine learning mean that user experience and relevance will continue to mean more than they ever have. This means SEO work needs to be targeted, implemented with a deliberate strategy, and treated as a continuous process.

Here are some reasons targeted SEO is important to your company’s visibility and linkability:

The Need for Linkable Content

As mentioned above, there are multiple kinds of backlinks. They are paid, earned, and social. The number of paid links your site has can be absolutely controlled by your ad spend. However, earned links can be partially controlled and deliberately built, and social links can be encouraged but only minimally controlled by you.

What is the key to earned and social links? Your content. It also determines how effective any paid links you have to your site are. Simply put, you need linkable content. Category or service pages, product descriptions, and thin blog posts are not link-worthy pages. Years of experience have taught link building companies what linkable content really is.

Fortunately, in November of 2015, everyone got a look at the Google Search Evaluator guidelines at the time. They confirmed much of what we had already learned. Google and users look for a few key things in your content, and Google uses those things to help determine your page rank. It is known as the E.A.T. principle:

  • Expertise: Not only does Google look at your company, but at the author of the content to determine expertise.
  • Authority: This is in the part where links come in. Outbound links to authoritative content establish you as an authoritative source, as do inbound links to the content itself.
  • Trustworthiness: This is also determined by organic, authoritative links to your content and the accuracy of what you have written.

Not only does content need to meet the E.A.T. principle, but it should also be informative and well written. Remember: Content is also a part of user experience, and thin content produces high bounce rates, sending users looking for the information they need elsewhere. It certainly means they will not link to it on their own website or share it on their social media profiles.

What makes content linkable is how informative it is, the clarity of the writing, and how well it is optimized for both search engines and real people. Without content that is worth linking to, it is difficult to either build or earn links.

Researching Relevancy

How do you know if your content is reaching the right searchers at the right time? Fortunately, this is easier to figure out than it ever has been — and yet more challenging as well. There is more data out there about users and their behavior on the internet than at any other time in history, and nearly any business can access this data through some simple analytics tools.

This means not only do we know what our potential customers are interested in, we know how they interact with the internet. Beyond just demographic analytics, we have access to behavioral analytics which are much more powerful.

All this data not only tells us what our ideal customers are searching for but how they are doing it. This can be taken from the general fact that over 60 percent of Google searches are done on mobile devices, and more people than ever are completing purchases on portable devices as well. You can also determine what devices your customers search on most frequently, whether they are iOS users or Android fans, and how much time they spend reading a blog post, and even how many searches they perform for a product or service before they make a purchase.

What this allows you to do is to target your content more specifically, and even create different content that will appeal to different sets of buyers. Relevant content is much more linkable, whether you are earning those links organically, want your users to share it on social media, or are engaged in a link building campaign targeting specific keywords.

Creating a Strategy

Now that you know why linkable content is necessary and you have established what is relevant to your potential customers, you need to create a targeted content strategy. Why? It’s simple: Without targets and specific goals, how will you know if your linkable content is working?

So what is a content strategy? It is deliberately creating content to support your efforts to rank for a specific keyword or set of keywords, and building and working to earn links to that content. This usually involves several pieces of content of varying lengths and types, internal linking, good onsite technical SEO, and content that is well written and informative.

A good SEO company will not only help you with your onsite technical SEO and link building but can also help you with your content strategy and creating linkable content. This entire process, which you should thoroughly understand, takes a lot of time, and unless you have a capable team in your marketing department, the time and money an outsourced expert will save you is more than worthwhile.

Filling in the Content Gaps

So now you understand the need for linkable content, you have done your research and know what is relevant, and you have a content strategy. Now it is time to fill in the content gaps on your website. Whether you have a robust blog filled with content or are just starting out, once you establish your content strategy, you’re going to find that you have content gaps.

What is a content gap? They are areas where you are missing content that is essential to your content strategy. It is essential that you fill these gaps in order to satisfy not only Google but your potential customers. You need the linkable content in order for targeted SEO to be effective.

Want to rank higher in Google for critical searches in your niche? Want your business to be more visible to searchers? It’s all about relevant content that is part of a content strategy, linkable content, and then building links to that content. Those are all a part of targeted SEO, the key to your company’s visibility and linkability.

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Which topics need more attention for IBPS Clerk Exam?

IBPS Clerk Exam 2018 for the preliminary round will commence from the month of December. Students preparing for the exam of IBPS Clerk 2018 must be well-aware  of the section-wise topics, which hold more importance as compared to others for an all round preparation of this exam.

Hence, in this article, we have shared the topics which need more attention for the effective preparation of the IBPS Clerk Exam 2018. So, read this post now in order to score better in the preliminary phase of this exam.
First let’s see the number of questions and time allotted for each section.

SUBJECT NUMBER OF QUESTIONS MAXIMUM MARKS SECTION-WISE TIMING
English Language 30 30 20 Minutes
Numerical Ability 35 35 20 Minutes
Reasoning Ability 35 35 20 Minutes
Total 100 100 60 Minutes


You have to clear the sectional as well as the overall cut off of the exam, in order to get through the prelims phase.

Important Topics for the preparation of IBPS Clerk 2018

We will now have a look at the important topics of each section, which the candidates must prepare thoroughly, in order to crack IBPS Clerk Prelims.

English Language: Important Topics

English is the trickiest section of all three of IBPS Clerk syllabus. Even those who are good at it mark the wrong answers because of confusion in the similar options.

Let’s have a look at the topics which have high probability to be asked in your exam.

 

Topics Questions
Reading Comprehension 10
Cloze Test 5-10
Para Jumble 5
Error Spotting 5-10

 

Reading Comprehension

Now with the introduction of sectional timing, you can give adequate time to English and read the RC properly which was not the case earlier. Read The Hindu or Economic Times and try to grasp the crux of the article. This will help in solving the inference and assumption based questions in your examination. Learn the difficult words and their different usages as 3-4 questions in RC are on synonyms/antonyms.

Cloze Test

It is a very important and easy topic. You can even get 10/10 in this section if you are familiar with grammatical rules. Give attention to proper usage of words. Options may be tricky, so try to find the best fitting option out of all.  
For example, words like Enable and Empower are almost same but their usages are different.

Error Spotting

For error spotting, you should refer to any grammar book and clear basics first. Questions on Tense, Subject-Verb Agreement, Conditionals, Clauses, verbs etc. are the most commonly asked Error Spotting Questions. We have quizzes on Error Spotting as well. Make sure to solve at least 20 quizzes before your exam.

Para Jumble

Read all sentences and find the first sentence as it is always easy to do so. Then try to find the connectives between first and second line as the latter always carry on with the idea introduced in the former.

Final Tip:

  • One has enough time to solve English Section now. There is absolutely no need to read fast as in this way you would skip the essence of passage. Read slowly and comprehend this section properly.
  • Keep your accuracy high. Don’t attempt if you are not sure as negative marking can stop you from getting selected.
  • If you do not know the correct answer, try to eliminate the incorrect ones. At least two options can be eliminated easily and then pick the one option which appears better choice than the others.
  • Practice mock test daily to increase your speed in the exam.

Numerical Ability: Important Topics

Here are the probable topics, which one might come across in this exam.

Topics Questions
Series 5
Quadratic Equations 5
Simplification 5
DI (Pie Chart, Bar Graph, Data Table) 10
Arithmetic 10


Quadratic Equations, Simplification and Number Series are the easiest topics. Always start with these topics and try to finish them within 10 minutes. One of the two DI is always easy, so solve that one first. 4-5 questions of Arithmetic are easy in nature so don’t hesitate in leaving tough questions and pick the easy ones because eventually you will get same marks for all the questions.

Simplification and Number Series

For Number Series, learn the squares, cubes, tables, prime numbers and practice lots of calculation. With practice, you can easily identify the pattern of series. Similarly for Simplification, these things will help you a lot.

  • Learn tables up to 30.
  • Learn squares up to 50.
  • Learn cubes up to 20.

Arithmetic questions

Arithmetic questions are asked from these topics – Percentage, Interest (Simple, Compound), Profit and Loss, Averages, Problems on Ages, Ratio & Proportions, Mixtures, Time & Work, Time, Speed & Distance, Probability.

Data Interpretation

For this topic, you just have to practice calculations. Generally the questions involve ratio, percentage along with calculations, so read these questions carefully.

Final Tip:  

  • We just have 20 minutes to solve 35 questions which are not enough to solve all questions. So just find the easy questions and solve them.
  • Don’t panic if you are unable to solve any particular question and skip to the next one. Speed and Accuracy both will play role in this subject.

Reasoning Ability: Important Topics

Here are the topics, which one may come across in the exam:

Topics Questions
Coding Decoding 3-4
Puzzle 5
Syllogism 3-4
Blood Relationship 1-2
Direction Sense 1-2
Seating Arrangement 5-10
Inequalities 5
Number-Letter Arrangement 3-5


It is not necessary that you find all these topics in your examination but you have to prepare all these as IBPS keeps shuffling questions from these topics every year.

The best thing you can do for this section is consistent practice. You have to be comfortable with each pattern only then you can solve these questions in limited time at the time of your exam.

We have seen a twist in all traditional questions-

  • Syllogism —— Reverse Syllogism
  • Blood Relationship ——- Coded Blood Relationship/ Seating Arrangement’
  • Inequalities ——– Coded Inequalities

These questions are slightly time-taking than the traditional questions. Practice sectional tests daily with and without timer. Try to improve speed but it should not affect your accuracy.

Some Tips:

  • In puzzles and seating arrangement, always start with positive statement.
  • Draw lines in place of circle in circular seating arrangement as it becomes easier to locate persons in lines.
  • Learn family tree and use +/- signs for male and female.
  • Be aware of the directions (North, South, East, West) Left, Right, Clockwise and Anti-clockwise.
  • Learn the numbers of alphabets as it comes handy in solving Miscellaneous Questions.
  • Practice all kinds of puzzles (Scheduling, Floor based, linear, square, circular, parallel).
  • Take care of the minute details given in question. (Words like Not, Only, Also are skipped by us sometimes and our entire labor goes in vain).
  • Always select easy questions first and go for puzzles only if you are left with time.

Hope these tips will help you prepare for the IBPS Clerk exam in a much better way. So brace yourself and start preparing with full zeal and devotion.

Don’t forget to download IBPS Clerk preparation app on Google Play Store. It provides free notes, topic-wise study material, quizzes, mock test, previous papers, and all the notifications related Bank exams.

 

AI Autonomous and Incremental Deep Learning for IoT Systems

IOT is the abbreviation for Internet Of Things. IOT is a hot topic that is buzzing around and has gained relevance in today’s scenerio. Among tons of machine learning applications, IOT is among one of them. So what exactly IOT is? Before we discuss the topic in detail let us first equip ourselves about the concept of IOT.

What is IOT?

IOT is known as Internet of Things. It is a system of interconnected devices that share the real time information among them in a network. You may have heard of self driven cars, wearable fitness devices etc. These all are an example of IOT. Machine learning products provide you the solution that is affecting lives of million people.

How exactly IOT functions?

Well numerous devices having sensors are interconnected among themselves on a common platform known as Internet of Things. It helps in sharing data between the devices and provide the desired outputs. This helps in decreasing the gap between physical world and the digital networks. 

Take an example of a retail showroom. IOT can help retail showroom in following ways:

By using sensors, IOT can help to know that which the areas where customer is roaming the most are.

Moreover, by applying sensors in shelves of product counter, IOT can tell that which product consumers picked up, put down or buy the product.

IOT also helps in bridging the gap between supply and demand chain by determining that which product is in most demand and which is not.

Having ample knowledge about the IOT, now let us discuss about machine learning applications in IOT.

IOT in Smart Homes: Imagine how awesome it would be if you could turn on your AC before you reach home after a long working day. Or you house can recognise your voice and perform tasks according to your instructions like turning on off lights, turn on your coffee machine, make coffee for you. Life would be a lot easier.

IOT is helping in building such smart homes that can change our way of living drastically.

IOT in Weather Forecasting: IOT helps in weather forecasting by informing about the details of weather well before time. This has helped a lot in the agriculture sector. In this way farmers can take critical decisions like sowing, harvesting of crops.

Smart Wearable Gadgets: Today, market is booming with the wearable gadgets. You may have heard about fitness bands that keep a check on your heart rate, number of steps you have taken on a particular day, calories burnt count etc. These gadgets have become integral part of our lives.

IOT in Medical: IOT helps in building smart medical devices that are interconnected with each other. These devices provide all the information regarding to that patient. IOT helps in bringing huge amount of data together, process them and give information about various diseases of the patient.

It also keeps record of patient’s previous diseases and also the diseases to which the patient is prone to in upcoming future.

Self-Driven Smart Cars: IOT can help in building self driven smart cars. These cars require information about your destination. Rest, it will take you to your destination in time and without any driver. They can turn on/off AC, maintain temperature, look for obstacles. It also helps in avoiding collision with other cars also, making your journey safe and comfortable.

Face Recognition System: IOT helps in building face recognition system which can be a great security advancement. Many smart phones or security systems has used it for securing the systems. Moreover, emotional analysis of people can help in getting more information about the consumer reaction in a retail mall. In this way retailers can get an insight of the consumer behaviour and how they are reacting on the product.

IOT in Building Smart Cities: IOT helps in building smart cities by improving the transportation, water supply, electricity supply, water distribution etc.It does so by generating many solutions to the problems and choosing the best possible solution. Machine learning models helps in achieving this goal by building smart IOT solutions for the cities.

IOT solves many everyday issues that people face in day to day life like controlling traffic, finding parking spots, blockage in the drainage systems etc.

IOT in Financial Sector: As we all know that financial sector comprises of huge amount of data. This data needs to be processed and cracked down. This help in predicting the future trend of the market. This help in businesses to minimize the risk factor, determining consumer behaviour.

IOT in Animal Husbandry: IOT is also helping in the animal husbandry sector. For example in dairy farming, proper check can be kept on the cows like their weight, calories intake. It also inform about the sick animals so that they get recognised and proper treatment is given to them.

With the help of IOT, animal husbandry becomes easier and also health of animals is at check. Also by collecting large amount of data, milk production can be increased to many folds.

So we get to know about various applications of machine learning in IOT. And how IOT is affecting life of millions of people. IOT is one of the machine learning business applications that has gained momentum in past few years and is going to increase further in upcoming years.

How Recommendation Engine Use Artificial Intelligence for E-Commerce Industry

In the present era, shopping is an irrefutable need of people. If you will conduct a study regarding shopping, you will find the maximum percentage of people loves shopping. However, there is drastic change in way people do shopping. In earlier times, vendors knew about the preferences and needs of customer to make recommendation based on past purchases. In this way, vendor wins the brand loyalty which increase their profitability and sales.

With the advent of technology, online shopping replaces the traditional shopping. Now a king’s size of people shop online rather than going in shops, malls etc. Additionally, recommendations are made by smart recommendation system which is based on AI algorithm.

Apart from this, you can also think this an intelligent salesman who knows customer preference, needs, style and taste to make smart decision about recommendation right things to people. Further, right recommendation increases the conversion and sales which leads to huge profit for some brand.

Let’s see what are recommendation system and how does they work?

What are Recommendation Systems?

There is basic definition for recommendation systems  is “These are generally information filtering system that filter out the important and relevant information from a enormous amount of dynamically generated information based on user’s past preferences, purchases, interests or behavior”.

Apart from this, it is one of the major concepts of Artificial Intelligence which has made great advancement in technology.

A Recommendation system can also be consider as target marketing tool for online business especially for E-commerce platform. For example, In Facebook, there is an option “People You May Know” used to recommend people base on mutual friends or other things as well.  In Google, you can see “Visually Similar Images” and In Amazon which is one of most popular e-commerce store shows recommendation in “Customer who bought this item also bought. There are various Artificial Intelligence based software companies.

How does Recommendation System Works?

Recommendation systems are based on AI algorithm which has the ability to learn and predict most preferred or liked product for user. A typical recommendation system is very intelligent that can work smartly in a dynamic environment. They generally used to past data to see which products are most preferred, purchased or liked by the customers. Artificial Intelligence service offerings various services for machine learning, deep learning technologies.

Data Filtration is the most important phase for recommendation system. Here data is got filtered out for making right recommendation. There are various algorithms used for data filtration or we can say recommending data as well.  In this article we will discuss about Content-Based Recommendation System:

Content based Filtering is based on keywords used by user for describing preferences, items etc. Basically, this filters out the items or products that have similar characteristics to what user liked or viewed previously. There are various companies working on artificial intelligence in India.

Content-based filtering is using the technique to analyze a set of documents and descriptions of items previously rated by a user, and then build a profile or model of the users interests based on the features of those rated items. Using the profile, the recommender system can filter out the suggestions that would fit for the user.  Let’s elaborate it in a simple way, whenever we try to watch some movies on Netflix, searching clothes online, blogs, watching videos on YouTube, you will get message like this

  • Recommended for you
  • You will also like this
  • Frequently bought item
  • Product related to this item.

Thus, there are number of messages that will be shown to you but they all have the same meaning at the end.  They are just recommending you to choose an item. And that’s because this convoluted systems have a profile of the users, and they know what kind of items they tend to consume. They just try to come up with items you will more probably like, instead of the most popular, or just a random set of items that might not be of your taste. AI vendors put great efforts to make this system comfortable.

In the nutshell, we can say that a lot of money has been put by the E-commerce’s, such as Amazon or EBay in US in recommendation system.   Basically their main aim is to woo users to buy more things.  Therefore, they are building great teams to improve the accuracy of their recommender.

4 Ways to Streamline Staff Management with Technology

Technology is helping small businesses do more with less. This helps them compete with larger businesses that used to have a competitive advantage due to their ability to buy and distribute in bulk to offer lower prices. Small businesses are not the only ones benefitting from technology, however. Technology also helps larger businesses streamline their processes, gain better insights into where their business is booming and where it is failing and even cut down on waste. One of the many things that technology is helping businesses to do is to better manage their human resources. Here are 4 ways that technology can help you streamline your staff management.

1. Centralize access to the most up-to-date information

A great deal of time is spent transferring documents and information back and forth between departments and even within departments. HR in particular is often inundated with requests for information regarding benefits and incentive packages. In many cases, employees end up with out-of-date SOP’s or other forms, documents and paperwork stored on hard drives that they end up passing along to others. This is like the members of a football team all working from a different playbook.

No matter how large or small your business may be, setting up a secure internal intranet can help keep everyone in the loop and working from the same playbook. An intranet also offers powerful search features, which can help employees quickly find just what they need exactly when they need it.

2. Better scheduling

Scheduling often remains one of the biggest nightmares of most businesses. The truth is, employees have lives, which often come into conflict with the needs of the business. Large businesses struggle with having a bigger staff to manage, but small businesses struggle with having a single individual overseeing a number of employees. Automating your scheduling can go a long way towards keeping everyone happy.

Business owners and managers can input the scheduling needs of their business and employees can request time off or make shift changes directly in the system. If an employee is trying to trade shifts with someone who is not actually qualified to do their job, the system can check for that as well. Automating your scheduling helps avoid double booking employees or booking employees when you verbally agreed to give them time off. It also ensures you don’t end up with three of your 15 employees all out on vacation at the same time.

3. Better communication

It is important to keep in mind that more communication is not necessarily better communication. Employees are often inundated with so much communication through so many channels that they don’t have any time to actually get their work done. In addition, requests for information can start in an email, get sent back via chat and passed on to someone else via text message. This makes continuity almost impossible and information can’t be adequately searched when so many outlets are involved.

Effective communication requires setting up specific channels for specific types of communications and keeping them consistent. Instead of allowing your administrative assistant to send out several emails a day about general office business, you can set up a digital bulletin board that employees can check once a day. Individual departments or teams can still communication via their preferred method of communication internally, but you can use a secure intranet for inter-departmental communications. The best part about digital bulletin boards, however, is you can also post items in a single office or across the globe right from your desk.

4. Use the right tools

Theoretically, you can remove a Phillip’s-head screw with a standard screwdriver. If you need to remove one screw, it can do the job just fine, but if you need to remove 100 screws, your efficiency will diminish significantly. Having the right tools can significantly increase productivity and create a smooth, streamlined process. Using the wrong tools not only leads to decreased efficiency, but often results in a frustrated staff, which can in turn have a decidedly negative effect on the work environment as a whole.

Getting the right tools, however, also requires balance. The exact right tool for your accounting department might be different from your marketing department, while the tool that is right for the business as a whole may be more suited to sales than to marketing or finance. As in all of life, the needs of the individual (or department) have to always be balanced against the collective needs of the business as a whole. Remember the goal is not necessarily to make everyone happy, its to get everyone working together efficiently. Knowing you are doing your job well, however, creates job satisfaction, which will trump happiness every time. Providing the right tools for your staff to do their jobs well can create a far better environment for all of your employees.

Wrapping Up

Managers and small business owners can feel overwhelmed by the needs of their staff no to mention severely outnumbered. Technology can help balance the scales. Technology can help your staff operate more independently while still functioning together as a single unit or team. Technology can also help manage traditionally difficult issues like scheduling and the distribution of benefits information. Moving to a new system may cause some turbulence at first, but it can also create far smoother sailing over the long haul.

 

Integrating Technology Into Your Home

(Image Free To Use: https://pixabay.com/en/smart-home-system-collection-bulb-3720021/)

When it comes to smart homes, people generally don’t know where to start. Integrating technology into your home can sound like a daunting endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be! Take your home from bland to grand with these 5 tips.

Nix the old vacuum:

First things first, robot vacuums are starting to become a standard appliance in most homes. Even homes that have no other smart home integrations have robot vacuums.

Traditional upright vacuums can be great, and some people may prefer some cordless vacuum options rather than opting for a robot vacuum right out of the gate.

Since their launch over two decades ago, robot vacuums have come a long way. Today, they are much smarter and much more affordable Tech Blogs than ever before. With a robot vacuum, you can set it and forget it!

Get a voice assistant

There are multiple options when it comes to virtual assistants. The most popular are Google Voice, and Amazon Alexa. Depending on which brand you like better will determine which is best for you. The Google Voice generally favors other google products, so if you opt for that one, be sure any of the other smart home devices you have are compatible.

Once you have your voice assistant set up, controlling it (and all of the smart home tech you have connected to it) is as easy as saying the command. The following smart home tech can easily be hooked up to your voice assistant.

Install smart lights

This may sound a bit silly, but smart lights are actually one of the most popular and easy to set up smart home write for us technology options available. With smart lights, you can be connected to your voice assistant to control things such as on and off, dimmers, color, and more. With some setups, you can even set timers on the lights. If you want, you can set your lights to turn on when you wake up. That way, you’re gently and naturally woken up rather than scared awake by a blaring alarm clock.

Get a smart garage door opener

Gone are the days of worrying about whether or not you shut the garage door. With a smart garage door you always know if your garage is open or closed, when it was last accessed, and can close it remotely if you accidentally left it open. There are many options available for setting up a smart garage door. Almost all of them are wifi/app enabled which gives you the ability to monitor your garage from anywhere. If you’re expecting guests, you don’t have to leave them a key. Rather, just have them give you a call when they arrive and you can jump in your app and open the garage door for them from wherever you are.

Get creative

There are many ways to create a smart home outside of simply buying out the box items. With things like near-field sensors and the right configurations, you can get incredibly creative with your smart home. If you want it, you can guarantee there’s a way to program it with the right technology.

What smart home ideas do you have?

Which types of smart home ideas do you think are the most practical? With today’s technology, the possibilities are truly endless.

The Truth About AIs Impact on Jobs

By Allan Leinwand, CTO, ServiceNow                  

According to a recent report from PwC, AI is expected to raise the global GDP, in 2030, by 14% (approximately US$15.7 trillion). That being said, AI is seen by many as being either a hero or a villain. On one hand, AI is currently driving nearly every CIO’s agenda because it intelligently automates work processes, making it possible to do things that have never been done before. But on the other, many workers are scared of the rise of AI as they believe it is rising from humble beginnings to become a villain that will steal their jobs.

The truth is that some jobs will be lost, but many more will be created. It is important to understand that fundamentally, AI is not strong at creative, interpersonal or physical work. It will be used for “decision support, not decision making.” So lets debunk a few myths.

Reduce and Simplify

As workers, we want to use automation to get our jobs done. AI will free us from having to spend long hours analyzing data and invest that time in achieving a better work-life balance.

Information technology, manufacturing, financial services and human resources will all see significant improvement and productivity gains because of AI. These industries have many repetitive tasks that can be easily automated, helping workers become more productive. For example, AI can streamline the onboarding process of a new employee. It can alert HR when background checks are completed, and aid them with the creation of benefits packages and employment contracts. It can help IT order and provision new equipment. Similarly, it can help the employee complete and send tax forms and direct deposit information to finance.

The Mundane

Workers want to move to more meaningful roles. In fact, according to the Society of Human Resource Professionals, workers, particularly Millennials, want to “create outcomes within meaningful projects and may become impatient with mundane tasks.” AI can automate the more mundane tasks allowing for new jobs to be created that are more fulfilling, strategic and meaningful. AI can help workers be more productive and efficient at their jobs, while learning new skills. In addition, AI can help workers become better organized, reducing stressors, improving productivity and overall job satisfaction.

Financial compliance is a great example of this. Until recently, the creation of expense reports and review of submitted expenses was a very manual, mundane process requiring hours and hours of review. In the cases of expense report review, only a sample of expense reports could be reviewed in order to hopefully identify some patterns of fraud in submissions. Now, not only can AI generate the invoices, but it can sort through the hundreds of expense reports, invoices and other transactions and  identify potential areas of fraud, waste and mistakes by employees, vendors and others for humans to further investigate, saving their companies billions of dollars each year.

Customer Satisfaction

The idea behind AI is to create more satisfied customers. Because workers can focus more on the interpersonal and creative parts of their jobs rather than the more mundane, they will treat customers better. In customer support cases, this will be done by employing AI to identify and provide a solution for the issue and utilizing a human who can react to nuances for interpersonal communications. Customers will develop loyalty because their needs are met and issues are resolved quicker, more efficiently and with a personal touch.

Let me give you an example. Years ago, many companies implemented phone trees to help route support calls more efficiently. All of us have been frustrated to get to the end of the menu realizing that we must press “star” in order to go back to the previous menu in order to talk to the right person. While this is automated support, it didn’t employ a combination of people and AI to do so. Rather than having to press the right button to move forward, imagine answering a few questions at the beginning of the call describing what the issue is or what you want to accomplish, and immediately being routed to the correct person (yes, person) who will help you or to the right menu telling you store hours. This will speed up support, improve loyalty and create better satisfaction for customers.

Convenience

One of the biggest benefits of AI is the convenience to customers. AI allows nearly every aspect of business to occur faster, from identifying and fixing support issues so that workers don’t have to drive into the office on weekends to fix a server, to providing more accessibility to information, services and more.

As an example, there seem to be ATMs on nearly every corner in most major cities and more bank branch locations than ever before. However, bank teller jobs have not been eliminated because of the rise of ATM machines. Yes, there may be less tellers in general, but their jobs are more valuable to customers and their employers. When one walks into a branch at a bank, there are dozens of workers providing better value-added services with shorter lines helping customers to be more satisfied with the convenient service provided. More than likely the work these employees do have higher margins, enabling them to make more money for both themselves and their local branches.


Allan Leinwand - CTO - ServiceNow
Allan Leinwand, Chief Technology Officer, ServiceNow

In summary, while AI might result in loss of certain jobs, it is more likely that the amount of work each worker will need to complete will be reduced and simplified rather than eliminated. Employees will feel more satisfaction in what they do because they can focus less on the mundane and more on the strategic. Customer satisfaction will increase because customers will have more human interactions, faster, with people who know how to resolve issues they have. In addition, customers will have more convenience than ever before.

 

Personalize the Employee Experience by Going Digital

By: Jen Stroud, HR Evangelist and Transformation Leader, ServiceNow

You know Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), one of the oldest and most rote tasks in the web builder’s playbook. I’m here to tell you that if you’re in Human Resources and building a knowledge base for your employees to use: Ditch those FAQs. Instead of making assumptions about what information employees want and need, figure out what questions they’re actually asking and focus your efforts there.

I call these Actually Asked Questions, or AAQs.

Implementing a knowledge base with AAQs can be a great first step in leading your organization into a new era, one in which organizations become more personalized, predictive, and seamless for their employees. This is a critical transformation. A recent survey of CHROs (chief human resource officers) reveals that more than half of CHROs (56 percent) see their roles as creating a digital, consumerized employee experience. And 77 percent, or more than three in in four, expect to see improved employee experiences from digital transformation in the next three years.

So where should you begin this daunting task of providing all information pertinent to your employee base? Start simple and take a phased approach.

To start, have your HR department take a few weeks and log every question that comes its way, whether via email, phone call, or someone flagging them down in the hallway. Build a database. See what it is that employees need to know, and what’s bubbling up as a question being asked over and over again. Use the top 20 or 30 questions to build your knowledge base. If you have the answers to those AAQs, you’ll be well on your way to creating something your employees will find useful.

When it comes to search functionality within your knowledge base, keep it simple and uncomplicated. Google became a massive company with the simplest of search pages. Learn from that. Equally important, ensure the search results are simple, too. Write answers in conversational, digestible language that employees can easily consume. You do not want to provide as the first search result your company’s entire policy. No one will read it and you’ll start the vicious cycle of phone calls to the HR department all over again.

Building AAQs does take some time. There’s work required up-front that will pay off if done right. Which means curating the content listed, not lifting and shifting information into the knowledge base from some other database or portal without carefully vetting it first. Listen to the employees. They’ll tell you what they need. And then refine that information into something easily digestible, so it’s of maximum utility.

Once you’ve built a knowledge base, keep it growing. As employees ask more questions, add them to the AAQs, because they’re coming from a place of authenticity. The knowledge base should be a living organism. For instance, perhaps when you assembled your AAQs, no one had asked about jury duty, but suddenly the courts call several of your employees. Go ahead and put that in.  One key to making the knowledge base work: Assign one person to be your knowledge manager. Especially key in the first six to 12 months after the knowledge base rolls out, the knowledge manager needs to keep a close watch on which questions are being asked, what searches are successful, and so on, so they can update and grow the database accordingly.

Here’s a bold idea that we tried, and it really worked: When you’re ready to go live with your new knowledge base, turn off your general 800-number and email accounts previously used to reach HR staff. Force employees to use the knowledge base and continue to refer them to the AAQs. Many organizations, however, find that approach too aggressive. You can still keep the lines of communication open if you like. Then if someone comes to HR with a question that could have been solved by searching in the AAQs, have HR reply with a gentle note along these lines: “I found your answer in our new knowledge base. Here’s the link.”

Either way, the knowledge base should be easily searchable on the employee-facing website/portal so you reinforce the habit of turning there first for all questions. It should also have the option to submit a new inquiry to the knowledge base, with a prompt along the lines of: Would you like to submit a case? Then the knowledge manager can respond, route their question, and take the steps necessary behind the scenes to incorporate the answer into the knowledge base for the next time that question gets posed.

That’s where the project comes full circle. You’re using real-life transactions to help inform and build your living knowledge base, ultimately serving the needs of your employees.  And with that, you’re well on your way to the new era of serving employees through digital transformation!

Why a More Productive Workforce is Still Possible: Start by Listening to Your Employees

Author: Tracey Fritcher, Global Director HR Transformation, ServiceNow

The gains in workforce productivity in the last 15 years are numerous. But there are still many organizations today that are filled with a great deal of administrative work to get a task done – much of this work falls into the unstructured category and is a huge time waster.

What if there was a way to look at work and build some structure and automation into processes to drive more productivity? Many organizations are looking at work and finding ways to add some guided insight so people can accomplish more in each day of work.

Searching the phrase “increase workforce productivity” will return approximately 84 million results…in .57 seconds – an overwhelming amount of information about recent improvements and many predictions about future gains.

Many of the articles revolve around management practices and what leaders can do to get to that holy grail of incremental effort – the kind of commitment that fills an employee with the drive to stay up late and take care of a customer problem or come in early when two nurses have called in sick on their floor. This is great when it happens, but people have lives outside of work and circumstances prevent doing any more than what is required for the job.

Smart organizations are seeking productivity gains by identifying the biggest time wasters — the work that often falls through the cracks, is highly administrative, repeatable and many times done via phone, e-mail or still on paper. Some great examples of this type of work are tuition reimbursement, charity gift matching, or following up on a paycheck error.

Employees spend significant time just trying to figure out where to go to resolve these types of issues. Once they think they have the right place to go, the next step is usually an e-mail or a phone call which sometimes lead to an out of office or voice mail. So the next step is another e-mail or phone call and soon more than 30 minutes has evaporated and the employee is still without an answer or resolution.

Automation, intelligent workflow, and guided choices for employees to complete tasks are the keys to future productivity gains within workforces. For many workers, having immediate and direct access to answers is far more high-touch than having to call a service center to speak with a representative. Employees want the power of information and technology at their fingertips – besides, a cloud-enabled portal doesn’t have hours of operations – it’s always open and answers are instantaneous.

Recently, a flight crew from a discount airline was waiting for a hotel shuttle bus and talking about where to go for a paycheck dispute. There were six people in the conversation and each person had a different answer of who to contact. Since the high-touch, phone-answering 1-800 number was only open 12 hours a day, there were lots of work around as far as how to circumvent the often 20 or 30-minute hold time for a representative to look into the situation.

If this even happened 50 times a day, for a global 24/7 operation, the cost implications are beyond significant. In this situation, one employee had a similar issue and was on the phone for over an hour resolving a problem…and on the clock the entire time. A paycheck question is one of the easiest things to solve through automated workflow – there is one place to go and technology helps the employee find the right person for that unique question.

Listen

Smart companies start by listening to their employees and finding out what tasks or procedures are causing the greatest frustration. Once you have a short list of “pain points” of high frustration tasks for employees, the work to automate can begin. The great news is that sizable gains can be made just by making information readily available and easy to find. Most companies are looking at overall search capability to serve up answers to an employee without that person having to know exactly where to go.

A search of tuition reimbursement should bring up the policy, a list of FAQs, the link to submit grades and transcripts, a selection of where the reimbursement should go and someone to contact in case of a unique situation (e.g., think of all the recent for-profit college closings in recent years – the right person should be reachable and available to assist in that situation).

When employees are frustrated and administrative items are ridiculously difficult to resolve, the greater productivity impact is around the stories being shared about the awful experience. When an employee’s life event is particularly sudden and there are delayed responses or confusing communications from multiple parties, the result is a worker who is frustrated AND upset.

Terrible experiences with HR cannot be ignored. People share them. It’s too good not to share…and vent…and complain about – and then others hop on the bandwagon of THEIR awful work situation that was confusing and took forever to resolve.

This is all solvable by getting employees used to going one place –one platform instead of multiple systems — to have their issues resolved. When there is a strong service delivery strategy and solution in place within an organization, it really doesn’t matter what the request is – the answer is easy to find, the employee gets a quick resolution and there’s no drama over a ridiculous process.

It is easy to start small and keep building out answers that keep people focused on their actual jobs. Employees should not have to spend a great deal of time and energy to be an employee. At least some of this time and energy can then be expended on real work — like completing projects, making deadlines and serving customers.

How Recruitment Automation Can Improve Your Hiring

17 Recruitment Automation Banner

Using Recruitment Automation to Improve Hiring

Everywhere you look, companies both big and small are making incredible advancements in technologies like robotics, central processing units, cameras and augmented reality.

One area that is also rapidly expanding and growing more than ever is automation.

While the thought of automation may concern some people, it can save companies both time and money that is usually spent looking for the perfect candidate to fill an open position.

There’s a lot to learn about the benefits of hiring automation. In this article we will cover everything from how recruitment automation works to how companies can put it to use.

What is Recruitment Automation?

To understand what recruitment automation entails, one must first understand how a process, or an object becomes autonomous.

In general, autonomy is the process of removing the need for human observation and interaction to achieve the desired result. Recruitment automation is simply the process of removing a portion of the need for human labor to complete the task of onboarding and hiring a new candidate.

Take the autopilot programming that is used on most commercial airliners: the “auto” in autopilot refers to the autonomous nature of the system that is flying the plane, which means that the system doesn’t require the constant attention of the human pilot to operate. However, just like an airplane’s autopilot system, there are certain parts of the process in recruitment automation that still need to be completed by a human being.

Why is this the case?

While recruitment automation can help recruiters sift through hundreds, if not thousands of resumes to find the perfect candidate, it is still ultimately up to the hiring manager to make the call when hiring a candidate.

Therefore, we must look at recruitment automation as an aide to hiring and not as a system to be in complete control of a company’s recruitment efforts.

Types of Automated Recruiting Systems

There are many types of recruitment automaton systems, some of which are listed below:

  • Resume Screening
  • Chat Bots
  • Digitized Interviews
  • Reference Checking Software
  • Automated Offer/Rejection Letters

Why is it Useful?

Looking at the above list, there are a couple of things that they all have in common: efficiency and consistency.

When a company is looking to hire a candidate, there is a good chance that the individuals in charge of hiring will be overwhelmed with the number of applicants. On average, a typical corporate job will receive 250 resumes; however, some companies receive many times that amount, and without an automated system of some sort, each resume will have to be manually examined so that a determination about the candidate’s potential can be made.

Because of this, most companies simply do not have the time or the resources to dedicate the required number of hours to recruiting and onboarding a new employee.

Besides saving time and resources on recruiting, automation of the recruitment process also ensures that all candidates are judged by the same criterion without human biases getting in the way.

For example, during a manual review of resumes, the individuals conducting the review may push a candidate towards the top of the pile solely based on the school they graduated from. With an automated system, candidates can be judged fairly since the system is not programmed with the innate shortfalls that come with being a human being. Additionally, by having an automated system to screen potential candidates, the company can better track resumes for future hiring efforts.

How to Automate your Recruiting

  • Resume Screening – Resume screening tools have been around for quite some time. These tools are a tremendous help in optimizing workflows and sifting through candidates that are not a good fit. Reviewing applications is one of the most time consuming tasks for recruiters and hiring managers, taking away valuable time that could be spent interviewing qualified candidates. Having a resume screening system that integrates with your applicant tracking system (ATS) will be a big plus.
  • Chatbots – Chatbots have also been around for some time but have grown much more advanced over the years. Having a chatbot in place that integrates with your ATS will save you both time and also improve the appeal of your company through faster response times and a more personal candidate experience.
  • Artificially Intelligent Video Interviews – When it comes to video interviewing, AI is transforming the process by analyzing candidates word choice, speech patterns and facial expressions. This gives you insight into what may be going on behind the scenes and if the candidate would be a good fit for your organization. Take the information gathered from this tool with a grain of salt; it can be hard to tell if the candidate actually exhibits negative traits or they were just nervous/having a bad day.
  • Email Automation – Being able to deliver personalized data driven emails is a huge time saver. This tool really shines through when it comes to sending reminder emails or confirming interview times with candidates. Be sure to make these emails as seamless as possible compared to your normal email sends. You want the emails to look as though they are coming directly from somebody at the company.

Next Steps

Recruitment automation is a valuable tool that should not be overlooked, regardless of the type of position that is being filled.

With an automated system keeping tracking of resumes, assessment scores, and interview results, companies can collect valuable data that can not only be used to reach out to candidates that might have been missed, but also to refine the company’s overall hiring practices.