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Burnout: How To Minimize Work Stress During Covid | ReadWrite

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burnout risk during pandemic


“Burnout” is a term that gets thrown around a little too casually. Using it without understanding what it really means desensitizes us to how catastrophic it can be for our careers and private lives.

Being tired after a long week of pulling 12-hour shifts isn’t burnout. Neither is having to deal with an obnoxious co-worker for a year. And, to keep matters topical, burnout isn’t feeling overwhelmed by having to work weird hours due to isolation.

Having said that, burnout isn’t uncommon, and it can have a serious impact on a person’s long-term wellbeing. Burnout can ruin lives. It can end careers and relationships. Its main symptoms include long-term exhaustion, a noticeable decline in performance, serious depression, a complete loss of motivation, as well as harmful physical symptoms like digestive issues and debilitating headaches — and sleepless nights.

Let’s first look at the root causes of burnout in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, and then we’ll discuss the most effective strategies for avoiding it.

Minimize the Risk of Work Stress during the Pandemic

Burnout in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

Before looking at ways to help avoid burnout, it’s important to understand how the Covid-19 crisis is contributing to the likelihood of suffering from it. There’s no point in understanding solutions if we don’t understand the root causes.

  • Loss of revenue means job cuts. Job cuts mean increased expectations on remaining staff.
  • Concerns over job security have a tangible impact on a person’s ability to deal with work pressures.
  • Increased time spent at work means less time for mental recovery.
  • A general sense of dread and stress about the disease itself takes a psychological toll.
  • The impact of staff restructuring can lead to mismanagement and mixed signals on priorities or job functions.
  • Smaller teams mean fewer social interactions and support, both of which are crucial to reducing the likelihood of burnout.
  • In cases where lockdowns are enforced, staff members working from home are poorly managed, and the lines between their professional and personal lives can be blurred.

Then, of course, you have the compound effect of all of these causes. One or two of these is manageable. All of them together is a recipe for mass staff burnout.

Now that I’ve gotten you sufficiently worried about the problems and risks, let’s take a look at solutions. Because there are solutions, and most of them are relatively easy to implement.

Most of these need strong leadership skills to execute since there’s no way a manager can reasonably enforce certain behaviors. “Leading by example” might sound like a cliche, but in times like these, it may be a great idea to lean on some old-fashioned wisdom.

1. Suggest Dedicated Work-at-Home Spaces

Isolated staff members are at exceptional risk of burnout. It’s absolutely essential that they cultivate an environment as close to their professional space at home as possible. This means both physically and emotionally.

Having a room that can be converted into an office is ideal. Having space where the person feels “I’m at work now,” rather than “I’m in bed looking at my laptop” is vital because it creates a very clear boundary between work and personal life.

There are some great resources on how to convert an existing room into a space that either feels like a dedicated workspace or one that sustainably serves dual purposes.

2. Encourage Healthy Work-from-Home Schedules

This obviously goes both ways. A certain type of employee can very easily fall into the trap of overworking since they’re “constantly at work,” while another may do as little as possible because they’re “constantly at home.”

Fortunately, this conundrum is solved with the same set of solutions.

Firstly, encourage your staff to maintain a schedule. No matter how difficult or counter-intuitive it is for them, it’s essential that they stick to something resembling a pattern. Of course, there will be exceptions; enforcing this on some days will be easier than others.

The principle is the important thing, however. Acknowledge the importance of doing certain activities at certain times, the same way they would when they’re at work. If they maintain this mindset, it will become easy to stick to, and the tangible benefits will make them want to continue working this way.

3. Be Aware of Cultural Norms

Citizens of certain countries and cities are just more prone to burnout than others. Savvy Sleeper compiled a variety of studies from seven sources to determine which cities around the world are most and least prone to burnout.

Asian cities dominate the top 10, with Tokyo taking the top spot as the city with the highest risk of burnout. This is unsurprising given the intense working culture in Japan’s capital.

Meanwhile, many northern European cities like Copenhagen, Oslo and Tallinn (the city least susceptible to burnout of the 69 cities analyzed) dot the bottom of the list.

During the pandemic, the rise of decentralized workforces has spiked even more dramatically. A great manager will bear the cultural impulses of certain remote staff members in mind when allocating work and involving them in meetings.

The blog post linked to above has some excellent research on the topic. It’s highly recommended to become familiar with this data as you come to terms with the challenges of managing a remote workforce.

Wherever possible, try to schedule meetings during times when your remote staff members, especially those culturally predisposed to burnout, should be awake. Getting the right amount of sleep is absolutely essential to avoiding burnout.

If it’s in your company’s culture to have casual conversations about lifestyle issues, speak to your staff about the importance of sleep. It seems like a “soft” issue, but experts disagree.

4. Be Absolutely Clear about Priorities

During times of general uncertainty, defining priorities is something that provides some much-needed clarity to employees. This, obviously, has benefits for the company also, since you don’t want your staff focused on tasks that aren’t valuable to the organization.

Ensure that your staff knows how their daily tasks relate to company strategy. This helps make them feel part of a bigger picture and less isolated. It also helps them to know that the bosses have a plan – an objective that they are playing a critical role in realizing.

There are many tools you can use to communicate staff work schedules and priorities. Many of them are free and extremely simple to use. I recommend Trello. It’s incredibly easy to understand, it’s super flexible, and it can be integrated with many of the software tools your company is already probably using.

5. Keep Casual Conversations Going

Most people like getting along well with their colleagues. Workplace friendships and relationships are some of the most valuable we’ll make in our lives. People find things they have in common beyond reaching a certain target or rolling a project out under budget. It’s part of being a grownup, and almost everyone appreciates the experience of making friends at work.

Keeping this culture going is challenging in an environment that’s been forcibly decentralized, but it’s not impossible. Tools like Slack make it possible to create many topic-specific channels where colleagues can connect about things that remind them that they’re still humans.

Use these subject-specific channels to encourage conversations that people will have around the watercooler. They might chat about the latest hit on Netflix, exchange recipes, or be free to ask for shopping suggestions.

These “inconsequential” chats do a lot for morale in the company, and they’re even more important in an age when people feel understandably disconnected. So, make an effort to seed these chats yourself, or ask a couple of respected people in your organization to do so. Before long, you’ll find that the chats pick up a momentum of their own.

Some Final Thoughts

The scariest thing about 2020 is that 2021 doesn’t seem like it will offer much in the way of respite. Our companies will need to learn how to cope with the constraints the pandemic has forced on us. There’s no “waiting it out” anymore. It’s “adapt or die” time.

With that in mind, do everything in your power to keep your staff’s mental health in mind. Do whatever is reasonably in your power to prevent burnout. The best place to start is to acknowledge the risk and move forward from there.

Seek advice from experts, read articles like this one, and do your best to implement these suggestions.

Top  Image Credit: keira burton; pexels

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How to Bypass Bandwidth Throttling: Tips and Tricks for Increased Speed

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Idrees Shafiq


Has your ISP been throttling your bandwidth during different hours of the day, and it’s getting on your nerves?

It’s understood how frustrating it may be, especially when your ISP decides to limit your speeds regularly. But, unfortunately, this throttling ruins your online streaming and gaming experience, something no one wants to experience.

Don’t worry anymore! Follow this guide to see how you can bypass bandwidth throttling by your ISP and enjoy seamless network speed.

What is Bandwidth Throttling or ISP Throttling

“ISP Throttling” or “bandwidth Throttling” means ISPs impose limits on connections and cut down average Internet speeds you’re getting without any prior warning or notice. Excessive load and bandwidth distribution challenges are the most typical causes of internet throttling.

These Internet Service Providers not only throttle your internet speed but also track your online activity. They have control over your network, and they can analyze your data packets.

Why Do ISPs Throttle User Bandwidth?

Data caps are the primary cause behind this. If you have a monthly bandwidth restriction that you can’t exceed, your ISP will slow down your connection if you consume too much data.

ISPs also limit customer bandwidth during peak traffic hours to avoid network congestion. This allows them to improve their services and eliminates the need to invest in expensive storage equipment or additional bandwidth.

As reported by Avast, ISPs prioritize the services that are paying them more, and if the user is using those services, then they get the priority and are not throttled. This is especially common with streaming services like Amazon, Netflix, HBO, and Hulu Plus. Conversely, if the streaming provider doesn’t pay the ISP more money, this has deprioritization.

Finally, your bandwidth may be throttled if you’re doing anything your ISP doesn’t approve of, such as downloading torrents.

How To Tell If You Being Throttled

One of the indicators is when you notice that your speed is lowering at regular intervals during the day, especially in the evening or at night when there is likely to be a lot of user traffic on the servers.

You can test your upload and download speed by trying tools like “Speedtest by Ookla” and notice the drops on it. If you keep pushing your service speed at different times during the day, you will start to see the throttling when your speed is low and at other times would be high.

Follow these key steps to see if your ISP is throttling you:

  • First, check if your Internet plan is still active; delinquent accounts may experience reduced service.
  • Disconnect all users from the WiFi router and do speed tests simultaneously.
  • If you download torrents, you will almost certainly experience ISP throttling.
  • Use a reliable VPN provider like Astrill VPN, and repeat the speed tests (with and without VPN).

As soon as you start noticing that your ISP is throttling your bandwidth, jump to the solution that we are about to discuss next:

How to Bypass Bandwidth Throttling

The best and only way of bypassing bandwidth throttling is to use a VPN. Even if you visit a forum like Quora, you will notice that everyone has mentioned VPN as the best solution. This is because when connected to a VPN, your traffic is encrypted, and your ISP can no longer control your bandwidth or track your activity.

When you connect to a VPN server, your IP and DNS are masked, and your ISP is changed. This way, your ISP loses control over your bandwidth. However, your ISP can still notice that you are using a VPN.

The best thing about VPN servers is that they are highly optimized to provide seamless service to binge-watchers and gamers. This is why they provide unlimited bandwidth and have very low ping on their service. So using a VPN will not only bypass bandwidth throttling but also enhance your experience as you will be getting better speed.

Follow these steps to bypass bandwidth throttling:

  1. First, subscribe to a VPN provider having highly optimized VPN servers.
  2. Next, download and install the VPN client or app.
  3. Next, sign in to the app using your credentials.
  4. Finally, connect to a server from the region that you want to access.
  5. Once the connection is established, you can start using the web as you wish without worrying about ISP throttling.

Is it Possible to Bypass Throttling Without VPN?

Without a VPN, it isn’t that easy to bypass throttling, or we can say that the other methods aren’t effective enough. Some additional ways to bypass throttling without a VPN are:

Using a Tor Browser

Tor Browser encrypts the traffic passing through it and through different nodes, securing the user from any external threats. Since the traffic that passes through it is encrypted, the ISP loses its control and is unable to throttle bandwidth and track user activity. However, two things need to be understood over here:

  • Although you are using Tor and your browser traffic is encrypted, your overall network is still not secure. That means the ISP may not be able to throttle bandwidth passing through the browser, but they can still throttle the bandwidth you are using on different apps and streaming services.
  • The speed over Tor browser is very slow, and if you are using it to bypass throttling, you will not have a very good experience.
  • This means that using a Tor browser is not a very good option. It’s a valid option for safe and secure browsing but not for bypassing ISP throttling.

Contacting your ISP

Another option over here is to contact your ISP directly and ask them not to throttle your bandwidth. But, this seems to be a long shot, expecting the ISP to provide you exclusive service.

Switching to a new ISP

You can also switch your ISP and choose someone who provides better service. However, it is highly unlikely to find an ISP that does not include throttle bandwidth. Almost all ISPs out there are engaged in bandwidth throttling because they have to handle the server loads and prioritize users.

Can I use a Free VPN to bypass ISP Throttling?

Free VPNs are a big no! Be it for streaming, gaming, or even bypassing ISP throttling, you cannot trust Free VPNs at all. There are numerous reasons for that, like:

  • Free VPNs keep user-activity logs: There’s a reason why their service is free. They may not charge users for the service, but they keep user activity logs and sell them to their-party sources. This is how they earn and market themselves as a free service.
  • Free VPNs are not safe: The security protocols of free VPN providers are weak, and if you are using them, then you are putting yourself in harm’s way. In addition, they will keep leaking IP and DNS, which means they can’t really protect your privacy nor provide you safety from malware and hackers.
  • Low speed and poor connectivity: Since their service is free, they do not have optimized servers and do not provide unlimited bandwidth. They have specific bandwidth caps and start throttling your connection once you reach that limit.

Conclusion

So by now, you would have understood what bandwidth throttling is, why ISPs do it and how you can tackle it. Using a VPN is the best solution to bypass ISP throttling, and also, the VPN should be premium, not free. Any other means, like Tor, are not helpful in this regard, so stay away from them.

The best thing is that if you use a VPN, you will not only be bypassing ISP throttling, but you will also be protecting your online privacy through it. In these dire times, bandwidth throttling is not that big of an issue compared to the cyber threats that exist online. So stay safe from every possible threat and surf the web anonymously.

Image Credit: by Yan Krukov; Pexels; Thank you!

Idrees Shafiq

Idrees Shafiq is a Content Marketer with diverse experience in the field of digital marketing, particularly at the organic end. He is also an active tech enthusiast with a will to absorb and convey acquired knowledge to the world. In his leisure time, he enjoys indulging himself in a variety of exquisite cuisines for the sake of earthly fulfillment.

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A Complete Guide to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Implementation

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Modules of Microsoft Dynamics 365


Have you ever wondered how certain businesses manage to stay ahead of the curve no matter how many pandemics hit? Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based solution that combines ERP and CRM to offer the full power of innovative technology. One of its primary benefits is the seamless connectivity across your organizational systems that makes data siloes a thing of the past. In addition, it has predictive intelligence that enables businesses to preempt challenges and predict changes in the market.

A successful Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation can take your business to new heights.

APPLICATIONS OF MICROSOFT DYNAMICS 365

 Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based platform that combines CRM and ERP systems. It unifies the prime operational areas in a business such as finance, supply chain, retail, HR, Sales, customer service, project operations, field service, marketing, and the entire gamut of operations, through CRM, Finance, SCM, and Business central applications in the platform. These applications can talk to each other and thus help implement best practices as per customer requirements.

Dynamics 365 ERP

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software manages and integrates business processes end-to-end. An ERP implementation optimizes modules such as Finance and Operations, Retail, Human resources, Supply Chain Management, and more:

  1. Finance and Operations: Dynamics 365 Finance automates financial processes and provides better planning tools for back-end operations.
  2. Human Resource: It is an end-to-end employee management platform that handles complex HR functions and saves time, money, and resources.
  3. Retail: The retail industry benefited the most from the ERP implementation as shopping became digital.
  4. Supply Chain Management: A cloud ERP provides the data necessary to monitor supply chain activities and helps companies to keep expenses in check.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation has become a top priority to most SMEs because of its capabilities to digitally transform organizations.

Dynamics 365 CRM

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution serves as a single application to host all the tools of the prime business operations such as Sales, Marketing, Field Services, Project Service Automation and Customer service.

  1. Sales: Dynamics 365 delivers sales process automation for access to insightful customer data and a complete picture of each prospect’s journey.
  2. Marketing: combine sales and marketing modules to automate business processes and to maximize ROI.
  3. Customer Service: Dynamics 365 records all customer communications across several channels, which makes it easy to create more personalized communication strategies with customers. It helps organizations to create, manage and track cases and see them to their logical conclusion.
  4. Field Service: Built-in intelligence resolves service issues and reduces operational expenses.
  5. Finance and Operations: Microsoft Azure caters to unique business requirements across industries and helps businesses thrive in challenging economic conditions without infrastructure worries.
  6. Project Service Automation: Optimizes project management and predicts the profitability of ongoing projects.  

With AI and powerful intelligence tools, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 CRM implementation has helped countless companies across multiple industries grow their business.

HOW DOES DYNAMICS 365 WORK?

A Dynamics 365 implementation enables enhanced performance with advanced features and robust architecture. It integrates seamlessly with financials and business management solutions that are comprehensive and easy-to-use.

  • Connects Internal Teams to a Unified Solution: Dynamics 365 easily integrates with other Microsoft business applications such as Office 365 and Outlook, operations that run on Azure, and third-party plug-ins. Additionally, the entire Microsoft suite of business applications shares the same UI. Dynamics 365 can also be integrated easily with other 3rd party applications using available APIs.
  • Enhanced Communication: With a cloud-based business platform, employees can work from anywhere and anytime, regardless of network accessibility. Employees can stay connected to Dynamics 365 and operate on web browsers available across several devices.
  • Highly Scalable: Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation services use simple yet flexible low-code custom tools to customize views, reports, forms, workflow, and security. It also combines data with AI to produce insightful results. Power users of the application can develop low-code/no-code based apps that help in day-to-day business.

HOW TO GET DYNAMICS 365 FOR YOUR UNIQUE BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides different deployment productivity tools. Experienced implementation partners can help you leverage these to their fullest potential. Dynamics 365 professionals are essential to analyze business requirements and ensure a smooth implementation. Be sure to select and evaluate the right partner who can fully understand your business challenges. 

HOW MICROSOFT DYNAMICS 365 BENEFITS YOUR BUSINESS OPERATIONS

Modules of Microsoft Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 suite of applications includes the following modules:

Dynamics 365 for Marketing

Acknowledging the need for a new Dynamics marketing platform, Microsoft set out to build a new cloud-based marketing automation platform. Here’s what it brings to the table:

  1. Know your leads better: It shares the entire Information about your leads from every part of your business
  2. Personalization and Branding: It helps you develop a coherent brand by providing an easy-to-use email editor, personalized customer journeys, and coordinated information on leads common to different departments.
  3. Insights and actionable feedback: The data analytics feature provides extensive insights about the performance of your marketing strategies.
  4. Configuration and expansion: Basic functionalities of Dynamics 365 can be easily customized and there are several third-party tools available to leverage its benefits.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

Dynamics 365 offers actionable insights, better customer engagement, and collaboration capabilities. Benefits of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales:

  1. Efficient sales processes – Increase the work efficiency of your sales team by automating sales processes.
  2. Scalable CRM platform – The cloud-based CRM system provides the flexibility of processes across teams and departments.
  3. User-friendly application – A user-friendly and intuitive user interface enables you to work with more productivity.
  4. Unified systems – All customer processes in one system help you track the entire customer life cycle and offers all customers’ data in a single source.
  5. Fully integrated Power BI solution – The Power BI integration gives you access to intelligent and handy dashboards and reports that save you from cumbersome manual data entry.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

Business Central is an ERP platform that can harmonize your business and offer you a holistic view of your organization. Dynamics 365 Business Central is now seeing a 200 percent annual user growth across all industries because of its numerous benefits.

  • All in one flexible and secure solution
  • Financial and project management
  • Helps control costs
  • Most powerful ERP to increase sales and customer service
  • Simplify supply chain optimization

Dynamics 365 for Customer Service

Dynamics 365 Customer Service enables companies to offer better customer support and have a clear understanding of their requirements. Furthermore, its artificial intelligence and automation features help businesses prevent and solve complex problems anytime, anywhere and provide personalized services that help strengthen business bonds.

  • Engage with customers across several channels and devices.
  • Helps businesses meet and exceed increasing customer demands.
  • Easily integrates and connects with other applications.
  • Artificial intelligence provides brilliant customer insights.

Dynamics 365 for Field Service

Dynamics 365 for Field Service enables companies to exchange critical business-related data easily to smooth operations. It deftly manages intra- and inter-team communication and coordination. Built-in intelligence preempts challenges and seamlessly solves them in advance, increasing productivity. In addition, it offers a holistic view of user records and helps personalize customer experiences.

  • Offer a self-service portal and proactive updates to customers
  • Predictive analysis of data resolves problems in advance.
  • No-code visual editors and flexible tools seamlessly manage end-to-end operations
  • HoloLens mixed reality headsets provide maintenance services anytime, anywhere. 

Dynamics 365 Project Automation

It helps plan, execute, and keep track of projects and manages tasks and resources accordingly. In addition, the Project Automation module optimizes project management to keep your time and budget in check. Its advantages include: 

  • Increase productivity
  • Operate in a modern, agile, and flexible platform
  • Intuitively predict project profitability
  • Unified system for project sales, resourcing, delivery, and billing teams

Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations

Finance and Operations apps are enterprise resource planning (ERP) software built on the Microsoft Azure platform for medium and large-sized companies. They offer complete custom ERP functionality for organizations to help them thrive through the tides of changing economic times. They benefit businesses in the following ways:

  • Optimize and automate business processes
  • Plan your finances with ease
  • Make better business decisions with real-time data
  • Deliver exceptional end-to-end customer experiences

Dynamics 365 Commerce

This module combines in-store and back-office operations. It is tailored for the retailers and helps them create innovative shopping experiences. Dynamics 365 Commerce enables customers to enjoy both online and offline shopping experiences. Some of its most prominent features include:

  • Brilliant shopping experiences increase customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and ROI.
  • Adapt to increasing customer demands and manage multiple stores in a unified platform.
  • Intuitive customer insights help increase profitability.
  • Drive innovation with a flexible application that easily integrates with other services and applications.

Dynamics 365 Human Resources

Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation for Talent empowers the HR team to hire, train, and retain employees who accelerate results. It integrates with Office 365 and LinkedIn to find the right candidate for the business. It helps the HR team manage the entire recruiting and onboarding process and automates routine tasks such as tracking attendance. It provides the full information employees need in a single, easily accessible portal:

  • Payroll, budget, and tax return management
  • Create employee profiles
  • Holiday and absence tracking
  • LinkedIn Talent Solutions

STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS OF IMPLEMENTING MICROSOFT DYNAMICS 365

Implementing Process of Dynamics 365
Implementing Process of Dynamics 365

Step 1: Business Process Review

Careful evaluation of current processes is essential to implement Dynamics 365 without disrupting existing processes. It is the primary step toward a successful implementation.

Step 2: Dynamics 365 Review

Understand the features, functionalities, and capabilities of Dynamics 365 to plan implementation costs, identify performance gaps, and zero in on processes that can be automated.

Step 3: Create a Data Migration Plan

Create a robust data migration plan to ensure a smooth implementation process. Before migrating data, eliminate redundant, inaccurate information to ensure high-quality information and optimum value from your new ERP system.

Step 4: Test Extensively

Test the implementation using a sample database, check whether integrations are in synchrony, and validate system output. Test extensively to identify and weed outperformance or data accuracy issues before rollout.

HOW MUCH DOES A DYNAMICS 365 IMPLEMENTATION COST IN 2022?

Different components affect the price of a Dynamics 365 implementation. Therefore, organizations must consider the cost of the implementation including people resources. 

Ongoing costs can include solution version upgrades and ongoing application maintenance. 

DYNAMICS 365 IMPLEMENTATION COST

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has Three Licence Types to Choose From:

a) Essentials: $70 per user per month

This license entails the following:

  • Financial Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Jobs/Project Management
  • Warehouse Management 

b) Premium: $100 per user per month

This license comprises the following: 

  • Everything in Essentials
  • Service Management
  • Manufacturing

c) Team Members: $8 per user per month

This license is open to the following: 

  • Read anything within Business Central
  • Update existing data and entries in Business
  • Approve or reject tasks in all workflows assigned to a user, with the limit that approvals and rejections can only update data in records that BC team members can access.
  • Create, edit, or delete a sales or purchase quotation
  • Create, edit, and delete personal information
  • Enter a timesheet for Jobs
  • Use Power Apps/Power Automate Use Rights with Dynamics 365 license

Dynamics 365 Finance – $180 per month per user

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management – $180 per month per user

Dynamics 365 Marketing:

  • $750 per month per organization (A minimum of ten users)
  • $1500 per month per organization (Less than ten users) 

Sales Professional plan –               $65 per user/month

Sales Enterprise plan –                  $95 per user/month

Microsoft Relationship Sales –     $162 per user/month

Customer Service Professional plan –       $50 per user/month

Customer Service Enterprise plan –           $95 per user/month 

These plans come with a 30-day free trial, and many of the paid features are not available during the trial period. Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows users to buy add-on apps that can precisely help organizations meet their business requirements.

INDUSTRY EXPERTS, YOU CAN TEAM UP WITH

Selecting the right Microsoft partner for a smooth implementation and integration is important. DemandDynamics is a trusted Microsoft Gold certified partner that has worked with numerous companies for Dynamics 365 implementation and migrations. It has been providing Microsoft services for years through various business sectors. Its On-Demand Services are popular with clients for its ability to meet technical, operational, and financial goals.

Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Aishwarya Nagarajan

Aishwarya Nagarajan

Aishwarya is a Senior Writer at DemandDynamics with a passionate interest in Tech. She authors content that helps companies stay updated about Microsoft Dynamics 365 products. Off the job, she is a traveler and an avid reader.

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Why Online Proctoring is Important for an LMS

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This image tells about the features of proctoring software.


Proctoring plays the utmost importance for an LMS. With the implementation of LMS, learning becomes more accessible. Online learning is taking place worldwide. Meanwhile, it’s stressful for educators and learners to keep pace with it.

Secure testing and exams seem challenging to handle in a learning management system. Proctoring software is an intelligent solution for live monitoring of the candidates and secures tracking of tests and other necessary verification.

With increased interest in online learning globally, proctoring software is the need of the future.

What is an LMS?

LMS stands for Learning Management System. A Learning Management System is a software application that offers a digital learning platform.

It includes the management of all factors of a company’s many training programs.

LMS consists of tracking and reporting, learning programs, educational courses, documentation, administration profile, user information, etc.

Moodle, Blackboard Learn, Docebo, etc., are examples of LMS.

About Proctoring Software

Before we discuss other details, let us first understand what proctoring is about?

Online proctoring software is an integrated platform that preserves the online exams’ righteousness by offering the tools that check the identity and behavior of the exam-taker. Furthermore, this software allows the instructor to create online exams and tests in the learning management system with specified rules and security testing to avoid cheating.

It helps keep the online exams’ integrity. Online proctoring software monitors using audio and a webcam. It’s beneficial for the identification of any suspicious activities in LMS. It comes with ultimate features and functionalities. Below are the mentioned features of this software.

Ultimate Features

Many features play a vital role in proctoring for LMS. These features are as follows.

Features of Proctoring.

Multiple Device Detection

There are various types of devices available to students as well as instructors. These devices consist of cellphone, tablets, smartphones, laptops, etc. Unfortunately, few proctoring services have reached the point where they can detect multiple devices.

This feature helps prevent other cheating and other doubtful activities. In addition, this feature acts as a bonus point for the instructors. Thus, the multi-device detection feature plays a vital role. It will be interesting to see how further changes and updates take place in the future — also — how the new updates will pan out with additional new functionalities.

There are endless features of proctoring software in the field of technology.

Quick Implementation in Voice Detection

Another feature that shows the advantage here is voice detection. An excellent online proctoring software has the ability of voice detection.

It adds another step in protecting the verification and prevents the cheating process. In addition, the software includes voice detection AI that proves as helpful in reducing false flags. Over-flagging causes stress for not only students but for the instructors too.

The use of robust AI by proctoring allows a stress-free environment for both parties. Among many features of proctoring, voice detection is the major one that is fruitful in Learning Management Systems.

Data Security

Regarding online learning, data security is the top-most priority for any user or in any technology practiced. It offers the privacy of students’ data.

Careful monitoring of a student’s data privacy profoundly impacts students, instructors, and institutions. For proctoring services, protecting the data and maintaining data privacy remains the top-notch priority.

The privacy policies followed tell about the why and how the data privacy needs to follow-up. Data security and privacy are essential because they prevent hacking and leaking of information.

No one wants to see the loophole in protecting the user’s privacy. Thus, the system needs to follow this in Learning Management System Platforms.

Identity Verification

Another essential feature that falls in this category is identity verification. Many proctoring software comes with the feature of identity verification. Identity verification is critical to record the exam-taker’s identity and track fraud activities.

Moreover, identity verification plays a crucial role in proctoring. This ultimate feature makes the proctoring stand apart in the services.

Ease of Use

Another essential feature that falls into the category is ease of use. Most proctoring software comes with the feature of simple working and is easy to handle.

Common Types of Online Exam Proctoring

Online exam proctoring categorizes into four common types:

1. Lockdown Browser – Lockdown browser helps forbid the students from using other websites, browsers, or any applications while taking a test. It stops other functions and keyboard shortcuts as well.

Working on the lockdown browser takes place via the integration with the LMS, and it stops exam-takers from accessing browsers, websites, functions, etc.

2. Live Proctoring – Live proctoring doesn’t include the services like automated proctoring. In general, in this process, live remote proctors keep a watch on students during the examination.

Its working takes place by live remote proctors keeping an eye on students when students sit for the online tests. If any issue persists, remote proctors can intervene. After completion of the examination, live remote proctors make a report of the exam and send the recording to the instructors for further review.

3. Automated Proctoring – Automated proctoring uses AI-related technologies to keep the tracking of students in an online exam.

It works by inspecting the students using AI technologies in the online exam. Then, the recording session review takes place and reports to the instructor.

4. Blending Automated Proctoring and Live Online Proctoring – It offers the advantages of automated as well as live proctoring. But, again, it depends on the institution or organization to decide the standard method that suits them.

Importance of Proctoring for LMS Integration

Now, after looking at the in-depth detail of the online proctoring software.

Many questions arise like:

  • Why is proctoring necessary for Learning Management System integration?
  • How does it act as a fruitful software system for LMS?
  • Or what is the need for online proctoring software in LMS?

Proctoring does consist of great importance for seamless LMS integration.

Online proctoring software is essential and is the need in Learning Management Systems because LMS is a vast platform that consists of its reaches worldwide.

Within incremental increase in the number of Learning Management Systems — online proctoring software is a requirement for them. Proctoring software targets the academic integration, helps scale online programs, provides data protection for suspicious activities — and shows progress in students’ success and improvement.

Understanding the student’s needs and providing them with a convenient online exam experience is essential for all Learning Management Systems.

For the peace of mind of administration and faculty, the proper online exam proctoring must-have software selection.

With well-crafted policies, universities and colleges can maintain their reputation.

But as the interest in online exams is increasing, the LMS platforms need to stay one step ahead in the fastest advanced technologies and keep their reputation on the line according to the industry standards.

Thus, proctoring plays a crucial role in seamless LMS integration.

By selecting the right proctoring software, prevention of cheating takes place, and online courses are provided without degrading their quality.

Right proctoring software system offers the students two key things- the first one is academic rigor, and the second one is convenience.

Requirement in LMS

For those students who remain part of digital programs, online exams are necessary for them to take. In such a scenario, services like proctoring offer the students the convenience of taking their exams anywhere and prepare them for this.

In LMS, it increases the chances of student success. Besides, it provides a stress-free environment for the students, faculties, and administration. Thus, proctoring is essential for LMS platforms.

Also, it is the ultimate need of the future. It is important and helpful in maintaining the integrity of the Learning Management Systems.

Did you know that the federal government’s 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act depicts that the higher education institution with Title IV funding needs to verify the online students’ identity by using at least one mentioned below method:

  • New technologies that verify identity
  • Online proctoring services
  • Secure login and password

The points mentioned above show the importance of proctoring software for LMS platforms.

Working on Proctoring Software

Now, we have a deep understanding of the online proctoring software. But, first, let us understand the working of proctored software.

The software is dynamic and reliable. In general, the whole architecture is operated using a cloud-based system.

It is hard to imagine the working of an online proctoring software without a cloud-based system.

Moreover, there is a rise in online learning programs. Thus, online proctoring software is much dependent on the cloud-based system.

In the beginning, proctoring starts with the authentication process. This software examines the authentication of the examiner.

Also, the proctoring software can terminate the questionable behavior during the examination.

The software “reads” the photo identity of the students while taking any test. Once the proctors authenticate students’ identities — the student can begin the test.

The next step consists of monitoring the candidate during an exam. Again, it comes with an algorithm beneficial for monitoring the exam-takers and flushing out a suspicious activity or doubtful cases.

Last but not least is the data storage and review step. The examination audio and video recording take place, and the information is stored on the cloud. Once the exams are over, you or your team has the choice to recheck the cases.

Conclusion

These steps make proctoring available for those in need who could not access help with their learning programs in any other way — and is essential for LMS platforms.

It is interesting to note about more features it adds in the future. Online Proctoring Software is essential for the LMS platforms and is a current need in online learning. This system and its software have been needed for a long time and will stay in the education industry and be improved both now and into the future.

Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Mahendra Soni

CEO and Founder

Mahendra Soni is a technology enthusiast and founder of the leading service agency- Take2 Technologies. He is a proficient Full Stack Web and Mobile Application Developer. Mahendra is known for his expertise in cutting-edge technologies.

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