Summary: IT consultants can make or break your business.

One of the first things that you need to consider when hiring an IT consultant is what their employment status will be. Lay out the fundamentals of what you’re hiring him for. This is crucial when it comes to any legal issues that may arise.

It’s also important for companies to correctly determine whether the IT consultant is an employee or an independent contractor and follow through with the appropriate Social Security and Medicare contributions.

Relationship

If you’re going the route of using an IT staffing service as opposed to the independent contractor, they can help determine who’s right for your company. Be sure that you consider three different categories such as: behavioral, financial, and type of relationship. These all tie in together when it comes down to how your consultant will work in your company.

Protect Yourself In the Case of an Issue

It’s also key to protect your intellectual property. If a consultant holds your social media account hostage because of contractual issues, you’re probably going to have some difficulties when it comes to getting back what you need to run your business smoothly. This is why it’s so important that your company receives the IT consultant’s services address IP up front. Never forget to do this.

Prioritize the Interview Process

It consultants are often tied to core businesses. Be sure that you conduct a thorough interview like you would a regular employee. You want to be sure that the consultant can do what he claims he can along with other factors that play a role in determining whether he’s a good fit or not.

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With so many e-commerce platforms to choose from, there are several features that should be non-negotiable. Here we look at four of the most important features that you should be a part of your shopping cart software.

Responsive design

Already a majority of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Without a responsive layout, you risk losing sales to visitors from smartphones and tablets. With smartphone traffic set to reach 80% of all website traffic, responsive design is an immediate need.

User experience

The user experience of your website can be the difference between someone buying an item now or postponing the decision. When a visitor defers a buying decision, there is a high possibility of an impulse purchase somewhere else.

Support

One of the drawbacks of open source systems is the lack of support. Those open source systems that do provide support do so at a cost that is not all that different to a commercial offering. It is better to go with a commercial offering that has proper 24×7 support.

Payment

If there is one feature that can make a difference to sales, it is the ability to accept many different kinds of payment. For example, Secure Net Shop accepts credit cards, checks, PayPal® payments, Google Checkout® payments, Purchase Orders, COD, telephone, fax and mail orders. Different people find certain payment systems safer and are more likely to purchase if that option exists.


Bad news for Microsoft, the non-profit consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports has pulled its recommendations for Microsoft’s Surface line of products. The withdrawal of its recommendation centers around what the group cites as the worst failure rate in the industry.

Consumer Reports conducts its surveys, and in a recent poll of 90,000 laptop and tablet owners, found that at least 25% of owners had issues with their devices before the end of the second year of ownership. According to the publication, the failure rate is the worst in the industry when taking the mainstream manufacturers into account.

As you would expect, Microsoft vehemently disagrees with the assessment:

“Every generation of Surface surpasses its predecessors in performance and in reliability,” a Microsoft statement claims. “Surface return and support rates are in line if not lower than industry average for devices in the same class. We are committed to ensuring the premium Surface experience for all of our customers across the entire family of devices.”

Since the launch of the Surface line of products, Microsoft enjoyed an outsized amount of positive coverage. The coverage compared the innovation compared to traditional PC makers and Apple. Several industry leaders dispute that characterization, citing innovation by PC makers for years that did not get the same level of attention.

The Consumer Reports statement reads: “Due to its comparatively higher breakage rate, Microsoft laptops cannot be recommended by Consumer Reports at this time.” The organization believes that the reliability issues made Microsoft “a statistical outlier compared to other brands.”


Elon Musk is a master of hyping products and technology that does not yet exist or will not exist for years. Which is why it was surprising when Reuters discovered that not only will Tesla’s often teased electric semi-trucks will get road tests soon, but they will also have autonomous driving from the start.

According to emails between Tesla and the Nevada DMV, the two sides discussed the “potential road tests” of self-driving capabilities. Furthermore, the discussions included Tesla’s desire to test platoons of long-haul semis.

Tesla is not new to self-driving technology. The new Model 3, Model S, and the Model X all come with some form autonomous driving technology. Customers can pay $5,000 to include the technology at the time of purchase. There is also a $3,000 charge to enable full self-driving, which Tesla will enable as soon as the technology is ready.

What is surprising is that not only is Tesla ready to test this technology with its upcoming semi-trucks, but that there was no mention of it from Musk. Nevada is the logical choice for self-driving tests as they are one of the few states so far to hand-out licenses for autonomous vehicle testing.

Tesla is not alone in its self-driving truck ambitions. Self-driving rival Waymo has its self-driving truck program, as does Otto, which was acquired by Uber. However, what sets Tesla apart is that the truck itself will be electric.

Tesla is set to launch the new electric semi-truck in September. We can expect to get a complete breakdown of its capabilities at the event.