Tag Archives: timecontrol upgrade

TimeControl 7.2 is now available and it includes the new TimeControl Mobile App!

We’re very excited to announce the release of TimeControl version 7.2. This update to TimeControl includes numerous new and enhanced features and also showcases the release of the TimeControl Mobile App!

There are some incredible new features in this version and some major enhancements too!

The TimeControl Mobile App!
It has been a while in the making but the TimeControl Mobile App is now available.  It is a free App designed to work on both Android and iOS (Apple) devices.  The App lets users log into their TimeControl account and create a timesheet, update an existing timesheet, complete and release a timesheet and, if a supervisor, approve or reject timesheets.  The App is highly intuitive with a responsive design interface.  If used on an Android device, it adopts the styles and characteristics of that device.  If on an Apple device, it appears as any other Apple-based App.  The screen adjusts to the resolution available to it.

The TimeControl Mobile App is free and available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.  The TimeControl Mobile App works with TimeControl 7.2 and higher installations.

You can find out more about the TimeControl Mobile App at mobile.timecontrol.com.

TimeControl API
TimeControl now includes a complete Application Programming Interface to the already numerous methods of integrating TimeControl with other corporate systems. With scheduled links already available, many organizations can take advantage of transferring data to and from TimeControl through transaction files. This new REST-based API goes even further, letting organizations program the movement of data into and out of TimeControl by creating programming calls to the TimeControl API. The API is optionally installed as part of TimeControl and security is controlled in both System Preferences and User Profiles.

Timesheet Grouping
TimeControl now allows you to group your timesheet or for TimeControl Industrial users, the Crew Timesheet. For users with a large number of line items, grouping them can help with data entry. There are up to five levels of grouping and you can group by any field displayed on the timesheet.
New buttons to Expand All or Collapse in the Actions Menu at the top allow you to quickly display all lines in the grouped format or go back just to the summary lines.

There is so much more!
Additional new and enhanced features include: Scheduled Timesheet Creation, Scheduled Autofilled Timesheets, email notifications in Line Item Approvals, pretest Validation Rules, SAML 2.0 authentication support, new data views in the Drill Down Analyzer and more.

For more information about TimeControl version 7.2, visit TimeControl.com/features/latest.

This new version is available now for clients with a current support and maintenance agreement at no additional charge from the TimeControl upgrades site: TimeControl.com/support/updates. TimeControl Online users will be upgraded automatically in the coming weeks.

TimeControl 7.1.1 now available

We’re not usually so excited about what we call a “point-release” but this new version of TimeControl is something to cheer about.  TimeControl version 7.1.1 builds on the recent release of TimeControl 7.1 with three new exciting features.

TimeControl integration with Project Online

TimeControl can now link with Project Online.  Project Online is Microsoft’s in-the-cloud subscription service of Project Server and integrating with it requires using a whole new toolset from Microsoft.  The TimeControl link with Project Online is now available in version 7.1.1 of TimeControl.
To find out more, visit: TimeControl.com/use-cases/ms-project-online.

TimeControl integration with BrightWork

The BrightWork collaborative project and portfolio management system has been around almost as long as TimeControl and now both HMS and BrightWork have worked together to integrate these two systems into one powerful combination of functionality.  In TimeControl 7.1.1 TimeControl includes a complete integration link with BrightWork and BrightWork Online.
To find out more, visit: TimeControl.com/use-cases/brightwork.

TimeControl integration with SharePoint

TimeControl has had a link from SharePoint for some time but in version 7.1.1 this has been rewritten entirely into a full integration.  Now, TimeControl and SharePoint can integrate bi-directionally as well as in all the ways it could in the past.  You can even present TimeControl right inside SharePiont if you wish.
To find out more, visit: TimeControl.com/use-cases/sharepoint.

If you have a current support contract, you can download TimeControl 7.1.1 right now from the TimeControl Update site at: TimeControl.com/support/updates.  TimeControl Online users will be upgraded automatically in the coming weeks.

 

Best Practices for Upgrading TimeControl

With version 7.1 of TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial having just been released, we thought it was a good time to update our notes on the best practices for upgrading TimeControl.

For many of us, we have gotten so used to having our mobile devices update our applications automatically in the background that it takes a conscious effort to think of proper upgrading procedures for enterprise applications. When the application is a timesheet system like TimeControl, this issue can be compounded by the thought that so little of most users’ week is taken up by entering their time in the timesheet.  Yet the data in a timesheet system may be absolutely critical to many corporate policies that are essential such as payroll or invoicing.  Upgrading clients is not an automatic part of TimeControl technical support but HMS is often asked to assist with such upgrades as part of a consulting mandate.

An enterprise application like TimeControl is one that should be upgraded within a structured process. Here are some best practices we have learned at HMS on how to implement a TimeControl upgrade.  The advice is likely useful for any corporate enterprise application:

First, make a plan

Yes, the upgrade can be downloaded in a couple of minutes.  Yes, it’s easy to click on the installation package and have it start churning through files and processes.  But no.  Don’t get started until you have a plan.  When HMS does an upgrade on behalf of a client, we have a standard template of how the upgrade will go.  It looks like this:

  1. Backup existing system
  2. Install the new version as a separate instance or if it exists, install into the staging instance.
  3. Upgrade the staging instance and turn off any automatic scheduling so you don’t upload exports or links to project management twice (one from production, and again from staging)
  4. Review logs from the upgrade for any errors then review all data for any issues. Record how the errors or issues were resolved.
  5. Use the staging instance and duplicate a representative number of timesheets from the current system. Review reports and exports to ensure they are working correctly.
  6. Inform existing users when you intend to bring your production instance of TimeControl offline to perform an upgrade
  7. Production Upgrade day:
    1. Take TimeControl offline
    2. Backup the data and the application directory in case it is needed for a rollback
    3. Upgrade the instance
    4. Review upgrade logs. Using your notes from any corrections that were needed during that upgrade, perform the same corrections here if needed.
    5. Restart TimeControl
    6. Do a check of basic functions to ensure the system is working properly
    7. If everything appears in order, inform the users that TimeControl is back up and available.
    8. If there are major issues for some reason with the production instance, roll-back and speak with HMS about errors encountered.

Next – Back it up

You might think that everyone backs up their enterprise data but sadly that’s just not true.  No matter how confident you are that your particular deployment of TimeControl will be seamless and instant, back up your data.  We do.  We don’t start an upgrade on behalf of a client without backing up the data.  In some cases, organizations with virtual servers can actually back up the entire TimeControl environment include the database server, the database itself and even the TimeControl instance.  That’s fine.  But don’t get started on an upgrade without backing it up first.

Look before you leap

This advice is often given to swimmers venturing outdoors into an unknown area.  Diving into water that looks deep but turns out to be rock-filled or shallow can be dangerous.  In the case of TimeControl, take a look at the “Read-Me” files, any “What’s New in this version” files and even the installation and upgrade guide before jumping into a new version.  Just because a new version of TimeControl has an exciting new screen doesn’t mean that you need to upgrade right away.  If your current TimeControl is happily operating then there is a disincentive to go through the effort of upgrading.

All the world’s a stage

”All the world’s a stage…” said Shakespeare (in As you Like It).  In this case, I’m referring to staging your upgrade.  Every enterprise system should probably have both a production instance and a staging or development instance.  Your TimeControl licensing allows you to do this without extra cost.  Establishing an instance of TimeControl that has everything your production configuration has (easy to do by copying the production database back to the staging instance) means that you can test out new updates before they’re made available to the end-users.  That’s just a best practice for any enterprise system, not just TimeControl.  This allows not only new updates but any configuration changes such as new filters, new reports, new validation rules to be tested out in advance.  With a new version like TimeControl 6.0 where the architecture was significantly changed or 6.1 where core functions like table management underwent big changes, you’ll be able to ensure that your system will work just as it should before end users are exposed to it.

Do the whole upgrade

One of the most common upgrade problems reported to our technical staff from clients is finding that the client either skipped a step or didn’t finish the entire process.  This is particularly true when clients are trying to upgrade through multiple versions and the client doesn’t let the ensure that the Transaction Server has started or that the Scheduling Server is actually running and complete the update work in each version before moving onto the next.  So, make sure you’ve complete all the steps to the update!

Be prepared to advance to the rear

During the Korean War, General Oliver Smith was asked if the American Marines were retreating.  “We’re advancing to the rear,” he is reported as answering.  When we’re talking about software, it’s a fact that not every upgrade goes perfectly and for a wide variety of reasons.  When you do your update, be prepared to retreat, regroup and try again.  If you backed up not only your data but also your application directory, you should be able to roll back the upgrade with relatively little effort or time.  If that happens, talking to HMS Technical Support about what errors you encountered may help.  Make sure to have your error logs and the process you followed available

We’ve seen a lot of updates and full upgrades over the last couple of decades.  If you’d prefer, HMS Consulting services is always available to help you get the very latest version up and running or, if upgrades are just not for you, you can ask HMS about subscribing to TimeControl Online and we’ll take care of upgrading for you automatically.

TimeControl 7.1 now available

Late last night we released TimeControl 7.1 and we couldn’t be more excited.  TimeControl Industrial 7.1 was also released but we’ll do a post and more notes on that edition of TimeControl tomorrow. TimeControl 7.1 includes numerous new features and many improvements on features that are already a part of the TimeControl 7 family.  The features we’ll mention here are shared by both TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial:

Line Item Approval

tc71_lia_300x240One aspect of TimeControl that has been a constant has been the multi-faceted way that approvals are handled.  We coined the term “Matrix Approval Process for Labor Actuals™” (Yes, that’s our trademark).  TimeControl has had both an organizational approval aspect and a project management line-item aspect of approvals since its very first version but now we go much, much further.  The new Line Item Approval mechanism allows additional parallel approval paths to progress as part of an approval design.  Imagine one stream of approvals for HR and Payroll, another for Project Management, yet another for Account Management or even another for Onsite Client approvals.  The implications of how flexible approvals have just become is so vast, we’re still wrapping our heads around it and will share our insights in a white paper in the coming days.

Web Services link to Oracle Primavera EPPM

primaveralogo_300x76TimeControl now has two ways of linking to Oracle’s popular project management product.   The existing database-to-database link will remain but for some environments this was not enough.  With the new TimeControl Primavera Web Services link, TimeControl takes advantage of the Web Services API within Primavera EPPM to create a bi-directional link with the same functionality as the existing link.  TimeControl has had an integration with every version of Primavera since 1997 and with this new architecture, it looks like that integration will continue for decades to come. For users of Primavera Professional or EPPM users who need intimate database-level integration in an on-premise implementation, the existing links will remain in TimeControl.

Batch Debit / Credit

TimeControl Industrial had a feature in the past used for doing Debit / Credit adjustments for many employees at the same time.  In the high-volume world of TimeControl Industrial, it was a must but it was also so popular that we’ve rewritten Batch Debit / Credit and have made it part of the regular TimeControl.  Administrators are likely to love this easy to use method of making adjustments for multiple timesheets and even across multiple employees in a single interface.  For organizations with many adjustments to make each period, this will be welcome news.

Employee Banks Report

We didn’t talk about this much in the last version of TimeControl because it was new even to us but the Employee Banks Report is a new dynamic interface that allows administrators to view, aggregate, group, sub-group and analyze the status of all data in the Banked areas of the employee records.  For larger organizations this view is tremendously powerful and allows HR managers to get a handle on what time off has been taken, what categories it’s in and what is still to be taken for any selection of staff.

And so much more…

These are just the more visible changes available as part of TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial 7.1.  There are so many more changes under the covers including performance improvements for high capacity or high volume implementations, ergonomic improvements to many of the screens, and improvements to the table interface which makes it faster to perform most functions.

You can get it now!

TimeControl version 7.1 is available immediately.  Find out more about the new features at TimeControl.com/features/latest.  Existing users with a current support contract can access the upgrade at no charge at TimeControl.com/support/updates.

TimeControlOnline users will be updated automatically in the coming weeks.

TimeControl Online makes the move to version 7!

Following the announcement in August that we had released TimeControl 7 for on-premise installations, we are thrilled to tell you that TimeControl Online has now been migrated to the version 7 architecture!

TimeControl Online is HMS Software’s Timesheet-as-a-Service in-the-cloud subscription service and includes everything that you’ve come to love about TimeControl.

Everything we’ve been talking about in the new version 7 architecture is here in TimeControl Online 7 as the code-base is the same for both on-premise installations and the online service.  So TimeControl Online users are now starting to enjoy the many new and enhanced features of TimeControl 7 including:

Multi-line edit timesheettimesheet.jpg

The TimeControl 7 timesheet has been completely rewritten to allow all cells in the timesheet to be edited simultaneously. For those with timesheets that have a large number of pre-loaded tasks, this will be a welcome change.

Gantt ViewsMyAccount_Gantt2.jpg

TimeControl 7 now allows you to view projects, tasks or assignments in graphical Gantt charge views. The view is highly configurable and is accessed from either the Reporting tab or the MyAssignments tab of each user’s Options page.

Calendar Views

TimeControl 7 introduces a brand new view into assignments with a calendar view. The view can include assignments and/or calendar_viewTimeRequests™ and can be accessed from either the reporting view or from right inside the TimeRequest Approval screen.

 

There’s lots and lots more!

There are more than 40 more exciting new and improved features in TimeControl 7 that we haven’t even listed here.

But, those using TimeControl Online didn’t have do the upgrade or worry about being on the latest version because that’s all part of the service when you subscribe to TimeControl Online.

For a more complete list, see the Latest in TimeControl page on the website.