Tag Archives: TimeControl

We’re delighted to receive this letter from HPS

Once again we’re proud to publish a letter from one of our clients.  In this case it is our UK-based friends at Hyde Part Solutions.  We’ve known the HPS for years so when they went looking for a timesheet, we were delighted to work with them.  The letter from Richard Jebb, the HPS Chief Technology Officer explains how the flexibility of TimeControl was a deciding factor. HPS has been growing at a rapid pace the last couple of years and we wish them continued success.  You can read the letter in its entirety at TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/testimonials/hydepark.

Our thanks to Richard and the whole HPS team for their kind letter!

TimeControl 7.4.1 is now available!

We’re delighted to tell you that TimeControl 7.4.1 is now available for download.  This version updates TimeControl, TimeControl Industrial, TimeControl Online and the free TimeControl Mobile App.  TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial clients with a current support and maintenance agreement can download the new version immediately at TimeControl.com/support/updates.  HMS is preparing for the upgrade of TimeControl Online which will happen automatically in the next 2-3 weeks.  TimeControl Online customers will be notified a week in advance of the update.

There are many new features to be excited about.  Here are some of the highlights:

Charge Hierarchy

TimeControl now supports multiple methods of displaying a hierarchy of charge codes.  TimeControl has long been recognized for supporting hierarchical charge structures but the new functionality takes this to a new level.  Field hierarchy permits hierarchy to be built from multiple user defined fields in the Charge Table and you can create multiple breakdowns then switch them on the fly when you’re searching for charge codes in the timesheet!

Numerous new API methods

We have made extensive additions to the TimeControl API making it even easier to integrate TimeControl as part of an overall corporate environment.

Mobile Debit/Credit Adjustments

The TimeControl Mobile App now allows Debit/Credit update Adjustments.  This allows supervisors and administrators to open a Posted timesheet and apply adjustments to that timesheet and release those adjustments to Posting.

Mobile Posted Expenses and Attachments

The TimeControl Mobile App now includes the ability to view the expenses that are attached to a posted timesheet in the past as well as any attachments that might have been associated to the timesheet or expenses.

Assignments

We have made major changes to the Assignments Table.  Assignments can now be made as part of a person’s full time availability so one person could be put on two tasks simultaneously at 50% of their availability each.  You can also now have the assignment start and finish be dates other than the charge start and stop so assignments that were meant to occur only during part of the charge can be defined that way.

Administrator configuration enhancements

We have taken numerous elements of the TimeControl configuration and moved them from the TimeControl.INI file into the Administrator System Preferences and User Profiles functions.  This will make a huge difference for TimeControl Online environments where some of these features had to be managed at the server level.

New User Profile Features

There are numerous new settings in User Profiles that allows TimeControl’s configuration to be tailored to the person or group with that User Profile setting.  These changes include all-new Super-User reject and Modify rights .  You can also change how the Timesheet List appears, allowing only a certain number of weeks in the past or future to display.  A new Highlight feature helps when adding a timesheet by highlighting the current week or the last missing week for a new timesheet.

Control Period Create Times

When creating timesheets, TimeControl allows the number of periods in the past and the future to be constrained to avoid accidentally creating a timesheet in the wrong period or in a period when Finance is not expecting it.

Copy Hours

We’ve made it possible to control who is allowed to copy hours when creating a new timesheet using the Copy Timesheet function and activated the ability to copy hours.

And…

There’s so much more.  We’ve done a lot of work on high volume capacity, improved performance, added more revision auditing, and improved usability across the application.

Find out more at TimeControl.com/features/latest

New Testimonial letter from R2.ca!

We have the privilege of having some pretty awesome clients.  For those who have visited the HMS Software offices in person, you know the corridors are covered in testimonial letters written by clients over the years and we are very proud of each and every one of them.  This month we received what is, for us, a first.  Marie-Lyne Vachon, the Financial Controller at our Quebec-based client R2.ca sent us a beautiful testimonial letter in French.  You’d think with HMS having our headquarters in Quebec Canada and with virtually all our staff being bilingual, this would happen more often but it has not.  We’ve taken the liberty of translating the letter so you can read the original letter in French or the translated letter in English.  From all of us at HMS to our users at R2.ca and Marie-Lyne we say a hearty thank you!

We don’t do enough French blog posts due to our large profile of clients outside of Quebec and Canada but for this letter we can’t resist!

Nous avons le privilège d’avoir des clients assez impressionnants. Pour ceux qui ont visité les bureaux de HMS Software en personne, vous savez que les couloirs sont couverts par des lettres de témoignage écrites par des clients au fil des ans et nous sommes très fiers de chacun d’entre eux. Ce mois-ci, nous avons reçu ce qui est, pour nous, une première. Marie-Lyne Vachon, contrôleur financier chez notre client québécois R2.ca, nous a envoyé une belle lettre de témoignage en français. Vous penseriez que si HMS avait son siège social au Québec, au Canada, et que presque tout notre personnel était bilingue, cela se produirait plus souvent, mais ce n’est pas le cas. Nous avons pris la liberté de traduire la lettre afin que vous puissiez lire la lettre originale en français ou la lettre traduite en anglais. De tous les employés de HMS à nos utilisateurs de R2.ca et de Marie-Lyne, nous disons un grand merci!

Integrating TimeControl with external clock systems

The first timekeeping systems were surely built around the idea of a punch clock.  These clocks would be placed near the entrance to a building and hourly workers would be required to insert a card into the clock to have it stamped with the current time.  The start and stop of the day would be used to calculate the hours present and thus the hours to be paid. 

As technology advanced, so did the entire idea of timesheets.  TimeControl has been around quite some time but even in 1984 when HMS created its first custom timesheet, there were already many clock-based timestamp systems on the market.  In fact, the very first timesheet HMS ever created was for Philips Information Systems in Canada and that timesheet included functionality to integrate with the building’s security access system.

When TimeControl became a commercial product in 1994, the lessons learned in the many customized timesheets were woven into it and the concept of integrating with external clock attendance systems remains.  But, by 1994 the number of companies in the time clock business was huge and we picked a different direction for TimeControl.  Our timesheet would be project-management based, we decided and yet flexible enough to be used for many purposes.  Still, just like that first timesheet we built, we expected to have some demand for integration with clock systems.

Clock systems now come in many flavors.  Some are biometric based, using hand prints, finger prints or retina scans to ensure that the person clocking in or out is the correct person.  Some systems are based on using an employee identification card which is swiped or held in proximity to a reader.  And, yes, I’m sure there are still old punch systems with the card and the analog clock.

The purpose of these systems can vary.  The original attendance for payroll is the most popular but other systems such as the one we originally used for Philips was for building security.  Other applications might be for workforce management such as a hospital or safety such as access to a hazardous area such as a mine or heavy industry facility.  We have seen such systems used in fabrication to identify when a new process is being kicked off by using a barcode scanner or an identity card swipe at a workstation.

Whatever the purpose, the end result of those systems records the person who activated the clock, the clock identification and the time.  This data ends up in a database and the application software that typically comes with the clock gives some ability to manage what to do with the clock’s time.  There are several typical needs of such systems.  Let’s take a look at them before we look at how they would relate to TimeControl.

First there are a number of different times to keep track of:

Actual clock time

This is the time associated to the person when it was accessed.  By using the clock’s identity, we can usually determine whether this was a clock access on the way in or the way out of the facility.

Schedule time

The actual clock time is almost meaningless if we don’t have a schedule time to compare it to.  This was the time that the person accessing the clock was expected to access the clock either in or out

Calculated time

This is heavily dependent on the organization’s rules.  If someone accessed the clock at 7:55am and their schedule was to start at 8:00am, then the calculated time is probably 8:00am.  But what if they’re 10 minutes late?  What if they’re an hour late?  The rules for how to calculate the time is based on whatever the rules are for arriving at times outside of the expectation.

Adjusted time

Perhaps the person arrived at 6:55am and they were expected at 8:00am.  The system then calculates an 8:00am start.  But, the person arrived an hour early at the request of their supervisor who now needs to adjust the 8:00am calculated time back to 7:00am.

Official time

Regardless of what the rules are, there is always a resolved time; the official start or stop of a period of work.

Whew!  That was a lot of time.  Let’s turn our attention now to TimeControl.

In the current TimeControl we use a Start/Stop panel in the timesheet to allow the recording of multiple starts and stops of each day for each employee.  This means that each employee can have numerous starts and stops of work and TimeControl will calculate the totals of those hours.

This does not replace the standard grid where employees are expected to enter what they did with their day but it does allow organizations to compare what was done with how much time the employee spent.  It is even possible to create validation rules to identify when the timesheet does not match the hours spent.  There can be many reasons for this of course.  For example, the person might have worked outside the office.  So these types of validation rules are most commonly warnings rather than errors.

While there is a facility to enter these times manually, the most common way this panel of information is used is to be integrated with one or several external clock systems.  TimeControl can easily link to the clock application’s database using either a direct data connection, scheduled import or the TimeControl API to move data from the clock system into this panel of the timesheet.  In this case, the panel is made read-only.

The data that is most commonly moved is the official date only with the remaining dates being kept in the original clock system for auditing purposes.

The advantage of integrating data from external clock systems includes having all the timesheet data in one place.  It’s extremely uncommon for such systems to have the extensive task, project and rate data that TimeControl includes but by integrating the clock’s start and stop data, the TimeControl reporting set becomes even richer and the source of the most detailed data is all in one place.

Integrating with a clock system means thinking through the process and flow and it’s not for everyone.  If you think there is a benefit for you to integrate your external clock system with TimeControl, then talk to someone on the TimeControl technical staff and we’ll do our best to help.

The TimeControl / Primavera Alliance continues as Oracle names HMS a Gold Partner for the 21st year of their partnership!

Our technical alliance relationship with Primavera started back in 1997 when TimeControl 3 was about to enter the market.  HMS and Primavera had known each other well since the mid 1980s but as competitors selling project management software.  Now we had an opportunity to collaborate together as partners instead of adversaries and the president’s of HMS and Primavera struck the deal in a short phone call.

We’ve never looked back.

TimeControl 3 was released that year with a bi-directional integration with Primavera P3 and HMS has maintained the integration with Primavera since that time.

In 2008 Oracle would purchase Primavera but for HMS that only served to draw the two firms closer.  HMS already had a partnership with Oracle to enable integration of TimeControl with Oracle Financials and to support the Oracle database.

Now Oracle and HMS have extended their relationship and the relationship has never been stronger.  There are so many technical facets to the two firms working together that we’ve had to create a portal to keep track of them all.  The TimeControl integration now works in two ways, direct from database-to-datebase or through the Oracle-Primavera Web Services link.  The link works with multiple versions of Primavera including Primavera Professional and Primavera EPPM.

There are more Oracle products of course.  TimeControl has been configured to work with many different Oracle tools including Oracle EBS, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and, MySQL.

Some of the many TimeControl’s value-added benefits when linking with Oracle-Primavera include:

  • Support for Multiple rates per employee
  • Automated business rule validations
  • Automated workflow
  • Auditable timesheet records suitable for Finance, HR, Invoicing or Payroll
  • Missing timesheet notification
  • Simultaneous support for multiple versions of Primavera
  • The free TimeControl Mobile App for smartphones and tablets supporting both iOS and Android
  • matrix timesheet approvals with HMS’s unique Matrix Approval Process for Labor Actuals™
  • With TimeControl Industrial, the Crew Timesheet and Materials and Equipment field data collection

HMS is proud of our long standing relationship with Oracle and particularly with the Oracle-Primavera teams.  We look forward to a productive year working together as a Gold Partner.

For more information about TimeControl and how it links to Oracle technologies, visit the TimeControl Oracle Solution Portal at: http://www.timecontrol.com/use-cases/oracle-portalor contact HMS at info@hms.ca.

TimeControl 7.3 has been released with some big new features!

We’re very excited to release this latest update to TimeControl. TimeControl 7.3 comes with some significant new features and many enhancements. This version is available in TimeControl, TimeControl Industrial and shortly in TimeControl Online.

Here’s some of what to expect:

Do your expenses in the free TimeControl Mobile App

The TimeControl Mobile App is a free App designed to work on both Android and iOS (Apple) devices. This version of the TimeControl Mobile App allows you to add expense items to any line in your timesheet. Each timesheet line item allows you to add an unlimited number of expense items and each item is associated to both the charge item and a non-labor resource type. You can also attach multiple receipts as photos or files to each expense item. The TimeControl Mobile App is available at no cost on the Apple Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android devices.

Use your camera to add attachments to timesheets or expenses

The TimeControl Mobile App now lets you attach multiple items to your timesheet. TimeControl lets you use your device to select photos, videos, to take a picture from your camera or even access files that are available to your device on Google Docs, Dropbox, iCloud or OneDrive.

Schedule reports to be created automatically and sent via

TimeControl reports can now be delivered by email on a schedule. Choose from sending an email on a schedule of your choice with a PDF attachment or just sending a direct link to an encrypted server-stored file.

And much, much more…

There is so much more. We’ve made huge improvements in filtering, added new auditing functionality and reporting for time-off banks, added single-sign-on support to the mobile app, added new dashboards and reports, added budget controls for the Charge and Project tables, enhanced the link to Microsoft Project Online and enhanced performance.

If you are a TimeControl Online subscriber, your systems will be updated over the next couple of weeks.  If you are using TimeControl on-premise and have a current support contract, you can access this latest update at: TimeControl.com/support/updates.

For more information on TimeControl 7.3, go to TimeControl.com/features/latest.

HMS President Chris Vandersluis featured in Canada’s National Newspaper, the Globe and Mail

Chris Vandersluis, the President of HMS has been featured recently in Canada’s Globe and Mail. The article by Mr. Vandersluis is in the Globe’s Leadership Lab section where he discusses how niche operations like HMS Software have been able to win and keep customers many times their size.  You can read his article in its entirety on the Globe and Mail website.

HMS continues to update white papers and other free collateral

We work on updating the vast wealth of collateral on the TimeControl website on a continuous basis. The site is one of the longest standing websites in the world and the materials on it can become dated as technology advances. In the past year we’ve made updates to factsheets, slide presentations, online webcasts and white papers.

Most recently, we have made updates to several white papers including the old Buy it or Write it has become a much more current Buy it, Subscribe to it or Write it. The paper includes a financial analysis that outlines the costs of all three options.  It is available for free for anyone considering this decision.  These main three architectural choices come down to:

  1. Buy timesheet software
    The main considerations for buying timesheet software and deploying it on premise is usually to have it work within existing security architecture or to have the underlying database available for integration with other systems.
  2. Subscribe to timesheet software
    The main reasons organizations elect to subscribe to timesheet software is for lower overall costs of ownership and to avoid the costs and complexities of internal technical support for maintenance and updates.
  3. Write your own customized software
    For those who have timesheet software requirements that are so unique that they cannot be met by commercial off the shelf software, they may need to consider the most expensive of options and write their own software.

We’ve outlined the major advantages and challenges of each of these three options and have given some cost comparisons.

We’ve also just updated the popular Research and Development Tax Credits with TimeControl.

For a complete list of free resources such as these, visit the TimeControl Website Resources area: TimeControl.com/resources.

Evaluating Timesheet Software

If you are here on the TimeControl blog, there is a possibility that you are evaluating timesheet software and have found TimeControl among your possible solutions.  We have resources that will make your evaluation of TimeControl and any other timesheet systems a little easier.  HMS has been in the business of providing timesheet systems since 1984 and we have an appreciation for how challenging it is to select a timesheet that will meet your needs. We have created a number of tools that are available to anyone seeking to select a timesheet for their own needs regardless of whether that timesheet is our own TimeControl or not.

“Why?” you ask?  It’s pretty simple really.  There’s nothing less productive for us than to sell TimeControl to someone who really needed something else.  It is far preferable to not make a sale if the product isn’t the right fit.

So, on the TimeControl website, you will find all kinds of resources that you may find of interest if you are evaluating timesheets.  Some of those tools are specific to evaluating TimeControl but many are generic in nature and are designed to help researchers evaluate any timesheet.

Here are just a few:

Timesheet Buyer’s Guide

HMS maintains a portal of resources and information on how to evaluate timesheets. It includes white papers, calculators, factsheets and more. There is no cost or obligation to access the Timesheet Buyer’s Guide which can be found at: TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/buyers-guide

Free TimeControl Evaluation

For those who wish to evaluate TimeControl further, HMS provides free access to TimeControl for a renewable 2 week period. Prospective users can get access to a system complete with pre-poulated data so they can try any of the functionality they wish.  The evaluation system can be accessed at: freetrial.timecontrol.com.

TimeControl Evaluation Guide

When users log into the free TimeControl trial, they are given a link to a simple-to-follow evaluation guide that takes the user through some of the basic functionality of the system. That guide has recently been upgraded and can be accessed directly at: TimeControl.com/pdf/whitepapers/tc_evalguide.pdf

Timesheet Evaluation Grid

When creating a list of requirements for a new timesheet system, it is best to start off with the business challenges that are generating the interest in the new system. However, many organizations prefer to look at a list of key functionality. We’ve created such a list to ask as a starting point for your own requirements. We’ve already checked off what TimeControl can do so and there are additional columns to use for evaluating other systems under consideration. The spreadsheet can be downloaded from:  TimeControl.com/docs/timesheet_eval_checklist.xlsx

TimeControl Benefits Calculator

One of the biggest challenges often faced by evaluators is trying to justify the benefits that could be realized by implementing a timesheet system. We’ve put together a calculator you can use for your own evaluation that shows how quickly you could realize a return on investment from deploying a timesheet like TimeControl. The calculator is available from: TimeControl.com/docs/tc_roi_calculator.xlsx.

For more information, see the Timesheet Buyer’s Guide on the TimeControl website.

Otonabee Region Conservation Authority goes TimeControl

Otonabee Region Conservation Authority is an environmental agency working in the Peterborough area of Ontario Canada. They are responsible for ensuring that the Otonabee Region watershed area is healthy and environmentally diverse.  HMS applauds them for this important work.

Otonabee have been using TimeControl since 2016 and reently their manager of corporate services, Denyse Landry sent us a letter expressing their satisfaction.

“We have been very satisfied with TimeControl and the level of support provided by HMS Software,” says Denyse. “We highly recommend it.”

We believe that every TimeControl client should be a satisfied referenceable customer and we strive for this every day.

Our thanks to the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority for their trust in TimeControl to make them more efficient. We look forward to a productive relationship for many years to come.

You can read the letter from Denyse in its entirety in the TimeControl Testimonials area.