How often do we release new TimeControl updates?

TimeControl version number, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter VandersluisOne of the most common questions from both prospective and new clients is “How often will we get updates and how are they indicated.

We’ve built significance into our version numbers so when you see an announcement or see that your version number has changed, you can easily determine how that might impact your system.  We keep a current list of the version numbers for both TimeControl Online and TimeControl on-premise in the TimeControl Support area at: TimeControl.com/support. We list the last date of an any version and the exact version number.  The TimeControl version number has four parts to it, each corresponding to a specific level of release.  We’ll identify those below along with the expected frequency of an update of that level.

Level 4: Build

The full version number of TimeControl always includes the “build” number.  For an initial release, that number might be zero (0).  For example, in version 8.2.1.4, “4” would be a new build of update 8.2.1.  This Build number may change over time.  A new build is usually made when we identify a hotfix that is required but might only refer to a highly specific and limited circumstance.  A build almost never has any change to the database at all and never introduces new functionality.  It is typical for us to release a new build every 4-8 weeks.

Level 3: Updates

An update to TimeControl is identified by the 3rd level of the version number.  For example, in version 8.2.1.4, “1” would be an update.  An update to TimeControl includes fixes to existing functionality and while it may have small additions to the data structure it has no changes to the existing data structure.  An update may include minor enhancements to existing functionality and, rarely, new functionality.  We release an update to TimeControl every 6 months or so depending on the need.

Level 2: Upgrades

An upgrade to TimeControl is identified by the 2nd level of the version number.  For example, in version 8.2.1.4, “2” would be an upgrade.  An upgrade to TimeControl may includes fixes to existing functionality and will contain enhancements to existing functionality as well as new functionality.  An upgrade may include some changes to existing data structures as well as additional data structure elements.  We strive to never deprecate data structures, so there should never be the removal of a table or fields.  It is typical for us to release a new update every 6-12 months.

Versions

A new version of TimeControl is identified by the 1st level of the version number.  For example, in version 8.2.0, “8” would be a new version.  A new version of TimeControl represents a change in the underlying architecture.  This may mean a change or an increase in the types of platforms supported, in the technology layers such as database connections or communications protocol and in the fundamental interface design and architecture.  A new version typically includes new functionality and enhancements or changes to existing functionality.  In some cases, functionality in a new version is deprecated and a path to shifting from the old functionality to new functionality is identified.  Data structures may undergo change in a new version compared to an old version.  We typically release a new version every 3-4 years.  TimeControl is enjoying its 30th anniversary this year and we are in version 8 so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a version 9 in the next year.  That’s something to be excited about.

Where to find your version number

In either TimeControl Online or TimeControl on-premise, you can clickon your profile logo at the top right of the screen and select “Support Info”.  You’ll see a screen like the one here.  The version numbers is in the Web Information area.  You can see the version is 8.5.0.3.  That’s Version 8, Upgrade 5, Update 0 and build 3.  You can ignore the “e” as this is sometimes used for internal systems.

We always publish the changes in any new Version or Upgrade. on the TimeControl website.  You can find the most current release notes at: TimeControl.com/features/latest.

RECL, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter VandersluisWe’re always happy to hear from our clients but when one of them writes a testimonial letter explaining how TimeControl has made a difference in their organization, it makes everyone at HMS delighted.  This week we are proud to showcase the Ron Eastern Construction Ltd. (RECL) whose president, Bruce Thomas sent us a much-appreciated letter.  Bruce explains how pleased they are that they transitioned from an Excel-based timesheet to TimeControl.  You can read the letter in its entirety on the TimeControl website at: TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/testimonials/recl.

We thank Bruce and his entire team at RECL for trusting TimeControl and making us their partners for this initiative.

TimeControl Online includes an optional Sandbox!

One option that almost all TimeControl Online subscribers opt for is a TimeControl Sandbox.  This service is tied to your production instance of TimeControl but is a completely separate instance of TimeControl operating on the same server.  The parallel service allows administrators to replicate the production database and test new reports, modifications, Validation Rules, Accruals Rules Links and more in a way that will not interrupt the production usage of TimeControl Online, TimeControl Industrial Online or TimeControl Project.  The cost is a fixed amount per year and is associated to the subscription.

The cost is a small fixed price per year regardless of the number of users on your TimeControl Online subscription.

Here’s how it works

TimeControl Sandbox Restore screen, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter VandersluisThe sandbox instance is logged into separately and has its own URL.  Once in the instance as the administrator, you go to Maintenance/System and you’ll see a button called “Restore from Production” that isn’t visible from a non-sandbox TimeControl.

Clicking on “Restore from Production” will move all production data into the Sandbox and will turn off any scheduled services.  Now you have a current copy of the production data on which to experiment.  If you make a mess, not to worry, you can redo the Restore from Production whenever you want.

Here are some notes to be aware of:

  • You can never restore the Sandbox database back into the Production database. This prevents any possibility of damaging the production database.
  • If you are satisfied with the new Filter, Report, Validation Rule, etc, that you have created in the Sandbox, you can move those items into the Production system with the Export Packages function.  Then use the Import Packages function in the Production system to imports those items.
  • The Scheduling Service in the Sandbox is automatically turned off at the server level. This prevents any unexpected transfers, emails or other schedulable services from occurring and avoids pushing data twice to corporate, or project systems.

The TimeControl Sandbox is available as an option for all TimeControl Online, TimeControl Industrial Online and TimeControl Project subscriptions and can be added to an existing subscription at any time.  To find out more or to inquire about pricing, contact HMS at TimeControl.com/contact or email info@hms.ca.

Microsoft / HMS Software relationship turns 29!

Microsoft Partner Network, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter VandersluisMicrosoft has renewed HMS Software’s membership in the Microsoft Partner Network for a 29th remarkable year.

The Microsoft partner system has changed names and directions in those 29 years but the work between HMS and Microsoft has been a constant.

HMS started its formal relationship with Microsoft as a solutions partner in 1995 and our primary objective was to integrate then new TimeControl system with Microsoft Project.  We integrated with Project version 4 and the just-released Project 95

“In 1995 it seemed like such a simple conversation,” explained our president, Chris Vandersluis.  “We would move data in and out of Microsoft Project and Microsoft could point to TimeControl if ever a prospective client asked where to find the timesheet. We quickly discovered that the integration required a more intimate understanding of how Microosft Project processes progress.  Given HMS Software’s history with project management software, that was right up our alley.”

Over the years HMS has adapted our relationship to keep up with so much more than one product link.

TimeControl can be tied to Microsoft 365, SQL Server, Azure 365 Active Directory, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics, and of course, Microsoft Project, Project Online, and Project for the Web.  The ongoing relationships with Microsoft is at multiple levels both for business and on the technical side.  As Microsoft Project and other elements of Microsoft technology evolve, TimeControl is adapted to include them.

Microsoft technology is used to deliver TimeControl Online, HMS Software’s in-the-cloud subscription timesheet service and TimeControl on-premise.  Other technologies used can vary from client to client. Windows Server is the platform for the server and some clients will combine the TimeControl Online service with Microsoft Project, Microsoft 365, SharePoint, Teams, or Dynamics.

Using HMS Software’s TimeControl either in the cloud or on premise with Microsoft technologies allows clients to enhance their business processes to comply with numerous timesheet requirements such as simultaneous project tracking, billing, HR management, payroll, job costing and auditable governance such as R&D tax credits, DCAA or Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.

To help find HMS Software resources on the many different Microsoft technologies TimeControl interacts with, HMS has a free resources portal .  The portal includes numerous resources including white papers, webcasts, PowerPoint presentations and more.  The TimeControl Microsoft Technology Portal can be found at: Microsoft.TimeControl.com.

Accrual Use Cases

TimeControl Banked Vacation, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter VandersluisWe don’t talk often about the Accruals module in TimeControl since almost all of its work is in the background, yet it is one of the most popular features of the product.  Like everything in TimeControl, Accruals is incredible flexible so, rather than look at a whole list of how it works, let’s talk instead about a few example use cases of where you might want to use it.  There are 4 categories of Accrual Rules that you can create in TimeControl, and you can have as many rules as you wish.  An Accrual Rule can apply to all employees or only certain employees.  The four categories are:

  1. A rule based on the calendar and on a static value
  2. A rule based on the calendar but calculated on values in the timesheet
  3. A rule based on the Rate code
  4. A rule based on the values in the hours on the timesheet

The possible uses of these four categories is vast and we’ve seen some clients use them in highly innovative ways that we wouldn’t have ever thought of when we created the product.  Let’s consider a couple of real-life use-case challenges:

Earning Vacation every month

Let’s say your organization lets you earn your vacation on a monthly basis.  If, for example, you get 3 weeks of vacation a year, then every month you’ll earn 1/12 of those 15 days.  That works out to 1.25 days per month.  Simple enough.  In TimeControl, you’d make an Accrual Rule based on the calendar and a simple numerical calculation.  TimeControl would trigger the value on the last day of every month and then you would add 1.25 days to the Employee Field you have defined for Vacation.   If you do something similar for sick leave, you can do the same thing in a second rule.  Let’s say you get 6 days of sick leave per year.  Each month, you’d earn ½ a day of sick leave.  Once you’ve set this rule up, there’s nothing else to do about it.  It will continue on forever for any active employee.  If you have different rules for employees in different categories or different locations, you can create the rule multiple times and associate it to a filter of employees

What about taking vacation that an employee has earned.  Simple again. You create a charge code, let’s call it “Paid vacation” and in the Charge Code table, let’s flag that code against the same field we talked about above for vacation.  Now TimeControl will reduce the amount in that bank of time by the amount taken on a timesheet as it’s posted.

Once this process is established, it rarely needs to be touched again.  Hours will be earned and go into the bank, hours will be spent and taken out of the bank all in the background.  You can create validation rules that checks that people have enough hours in their vacation bank to ensure that everything stays within your policies for time off.

Banked Overtime

Let’s turn to another common business challenge.  Your organization allows employees to earn overtime but rather than pay that overtime out immediately, the company allows the employee to bank the overtime for use as vacation time later.  This is a very popular process.  Sometimes the time is banked at 100% of the overtime worked, sometimes it is at 150% or some other percentage.  In some cases, employees elect not to bank the overtime but would prefer that it appear on their pay.  All of this is accomplishable in TimeControl with a combination or Rate/Charge code combinations and Accrual Module rules.

In the Rate table, we make a rate code for banking the time.  Let’s call it “Bank-in. In the Accrual module, we make a rule that says “When you see “Bank-in”, put those hours at the defined percentage into one of the banks defined by in the Employee Table.  Now, when the timesheet is posted, the appropriate number of hours are added to that bank.

To take time out of the bank, we use the same process.  We name a rate field “Bank-out” and a vacation code called “Vacation from Bank” then someone can take vacation using the Bank-out rate and that will remove those hours from the bank associated to that charge in the Charge Table.

Employees can always see where their banked time is in reports and views right inside TimeControl.  TimeControl’s security never lets someone look at data they don’t have the rights to, so these views are often put right on the TimeControl dashboard.  A more detailed dynamic view is in the reporting area where employees can self-serve their banked and earned time in a view that shows every transaction in and out of the bank.

Special Condition Bonuses

We’ve had requests for things that don’t sound at all like vacation that are easily handled in the Accruals module.  Let’s say that sometimes an employee will have to do something out of the ordinary.  Perhaps it is climbing with special equipment or descending into a tunnel or diving underwater.  In those circumstances, the agreement from the company is to pay a particular type of bonus.  This might be an amount of money or might be something unusual such as replacement equipment or clothing if the employee worked in a haz-mat situation. The Accruals module can identify these kinds of conditions in the timesheet with a Rate code or Charge code condition and then create a specific entry in a banked field defined in the Employee table.  This would allow the specific bonus or money to be flagged by payroll or HR or whoever would be responsible for such bonuses.

Banking Personal Time Off for part-timers

We’ve talked about earning vacation and sick leave for salaried people but what about people who work irregular hours.  Can TimeControl calculate how much Personal Time Off (PTO) should be earned by a part-time or irregularly scheduled employee?  Of course.  The TimeControl Accruals Module would make a rule based on the values in the hours on the timesheet.  Let’s say that part-timers earn time off at the same 3 weeks a year rate we talked about earlier.  That’s a 15% earning rate.  Easy to calculate.  For every 100 hours worked, you’ve earned 15 hours of PTO.  These hours would be banked into either the bank defined as the regular vacation field or into a unique bank for PTO.  Then paid time off could be taken against that bank.

But of course, that’s not all

That’s just 4 possible use-case scenarios of the Accruals Module.  Combinations of flexible charge codes, flexible rates, the Accruals Module and other TimeControl functionality allows a virtually limitless number of business challenges to be modeled in the system.

With the flexibility of TimeControl underlying every feature we write, it only makes sense that you’ll find it in these human resources types of challenges too.

You can find out more about the Accruals Module at: www.timecontrol.com/features/accruals.  You can find out more about HR business challenges including an example of a detailed Banks report at: www.timecontrol.com/use-cases/human-resources.  If you’ve got a particular business challenge you’re wondering if TimeControl can handle, let us know what it is at: www.timecontrol.com/contact.

 

 

 

Oracle has confirmed that they have extended HMS Software’s technical partnership for a 27th year!

Oracle and HMS Software have confirmed that they have extended their technical alliance for a 27th consecutive year. Oracle Partner Network, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter Vandersluis

This technical alliance stands among a tiny few that have endured over a quarter century.  The partnership between HMS and Oracle started back in 1997.  Today the technical ties between the products and technologies of the two firms extend to a vast range.

Started originally to ensure a link between TimeControl and what we now call Oracle Primavera EPPM and Oracle Primavera Pro.  The work between the firms quickly extended to support first Oracle architecture such as the Oracle and MySQL databases and Java.

The integrations at the application level include JDE and NetSuite and numerous other touch points.

The real benefits of this long lasting alliance between HMS Software and Oracle has been what we have been able to deliver deliver to our mutual customers.

HMS and Oracle partner across multiple fronts. HMS Software’s TimeControl timesheet system supports Oracle databases, we also integrate with numerous Oracle Applications including Oracle-Primavera EPPM and Primavera Pro.

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

  • The multi-functionality and auditability of TimeControl that allows it be used for project management, HR, payroll, invoicing, job costing and government compliance all at the same time
  • Support for multiple rates per employee
  • Automated business rule validations
  • Automated workflow
  • Vacation management
  • 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

To read the recent press release on this relationship, visit TimeControl.com/resources/newsroom/press-releases/2024-05-15. For more information on how Oracle and HMS Technologies work together, visit the Oracle/TimeControl Portal at: Oracle.TimeControl.com or contact HMS at info@hms.ca for more information.

 

HMS is celebrating a remarkable 40 years in business today. 

HMS Software 40th anniversary, TimeControl, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter VandersluisThe statistics were not in our favor.  45% of companies don’t survive five years.  95% percent of companies don’t survive 30 years.  So we are delighted to be here to tell you that it is our 40th birthday and we could not be prouder.  We thought of how to share this news.  A cake of course, but how would we get it all to you?  A song and dance perhaps on social media, but we’re not that musically inclined.  We decided in the end to ask Gail Robinson who is known to many of you as the source of much of our marketing material to interview Chris Vandersluis.  We wanted our President and the founder of HMS Software to look back and tell us about how HMS has continued to be so successful over such a long period of time.

Gail: Mr. Vandersluis, can you bring us back right to the beginning in 1984 and explain the motivation for starting HMS?

Chris: Sure.  I actually co-founded the company with a partner at the time.  He and I got it started.  We were a two-man consulting company with a lot of enthusiasm and some experience in project management systems.  Our first client was Philips Information Systems who actually designed and manufactured personal computers which were competitors to the IBM PC at the time.  The proliferation of personal computers was just picking up momentum and we were at the right place and the right time to be advisors and consultants about software.  Project Management software is everywhere these days but in 1984 that wasn’t the case.  There were only a few vendors who made such software and we picked one of them for Philips.  The deployment was complex but we were aided a great deal by the company having an established and experienced Project Management Office.  We would come to find out that wasn’t as common as we would have hoped.

The implementation required a timesheet along with the scheduling tool we had picked and Philips agreed to let us write it for them.  That was our first experience with creating a project-based timesheet system. 

My partner and I would work together for some 10 years before he decided to move onto other things but in that time HMS had become recognized as a leader in Canada in high-end project management systems. 

Gail: We call ourselves HMS Software but the full legal name of the company is Heuristic Management Systems. Inc.  Where did that come from?

Chris: That didn’t actually happen until 1987.  The company was continuing to expand and we were hiring our first employees.  We decided to incorporate HMS but we were told by the Canadian government that our “HMS Software” was too close to the names of other possible companies and we would have to expand the acronym.  The original “H” had been for the town my partner lived in so we decided that wasn’t going to work.  We knew the “M” would be “Management” and the “S” would be “Systems” but we struggled for weeks with what the “H” should be.  Finally in frustration, we sat down with a dictionary, committed to find a word in the “H” section we could live with.  We got to “Heuristic” and thought how appropriate it was for people interested in project management analysis. 

Gail: So HMS was primarily a consulting firm in its first 10 years?

Chris: Actually, we took on a product line from a company in Houston, Texas called Welcom Software.  They had the scheduling tool Open Plan that we had deployed at Philips and we became their Canadian distributor.  The combination of reselling Welcom Software’s products and our own consulting was our primary business during that time.  Apart from Philips we were also called upon to write two or three additional timesheet systems during that time which would all come in handy in 1994.

Gail: When did HMS expand from its Canadian focus to its worldwide servicing now?

Chris: In 1993 My partner and I started talking about going our separate ways.  It was an agreeable separation.  I wanted to keep the project management focus and he had other ideas that better suited him so we crafted a deal where I could buy him out of the business.  That culminated in 1994.  My thinking had been to shift from being a distributor and consultant to becoming a software publisher.  All our experience in project-based timesheets had given us some amazing background and experience in that domain and I decided that a timesheet would our first product.  All the timesheet systems we’d written until then had been DOS based interfaces, so character only screens.  We put together a new timesheet in that same mode and called it TimeControl version 1 but we were already hard at work creating a Windows version which would become TimeControl version 2.  That took off at a pace that surprised us and we never looked back. 

It’s HMS Software’s 40th anniversary but it’s also TimeControl’s 30th anniversary which we plan to celebrate later this year.

Gail: That’s a remarkable transformation.  What happened with your dealings with Welcom Software?

Chris: We continued to distribute their Open Plan and Cobra products for a few more years but TimeControl took up more and more of our time and we finally decided to end our distribution agreement.  Again, it was an amicable arrangement.  Welcom would later be purchased by Deltek.  Open Plan and Cobra are still products under the Deltek EPM product line and TimeControl has active links to those products even today, 30 years later.

Gail: Were your sales always done directly from the Montreal office?

Chris: There was a long time when products like TimeControl and other project management products needed local representation to be successful.  We embarked on a campaign of recruiting TimeControl dealers some of whom we have maintained business relationships with even today.  But the whole distributor, dealer paradigm started to shift in the early 2000s as Internet speeds increased.  Where once we would have expected a dealer to get in their car and go sell TimeControl to a local prospective client, now that client was asking us to video conference that demonstration so they could see it from the publisher.  It was quite a dramatic shift in the software business and it wasn’t unique to us.  At that time, you’d have had to be a massive company to be able to buy software directly from Microsoft but these days, armed with a credit card, you can sign up for their software in minutes.  Those changes weren’t even restricted to our industry.  Finding a travel agent or insurance broker is much less common as people book their own travel or sign up for insurance online.  So these days, yes, most of our sales are done in communication with our own staff in our Montreal and Toronto offices and the clients could be calling from anywhere.

Gail: Where has TimeControl been sold?

Chris: It’s all over the world.  TimeControl is in use on every continent but Antarctica.  In fact, there was a bid to provide timesheets for the US base in Antarctica many years ago and I would have loved to have closed that deal but the timing was all wrong and we weren’t able to participate.  Having clients worldwide is both a privilege and a challenge.  We have users in all or almost all time zones.  We have users who speak many different languages and have many different devices.  We’ve tried to ensure that TimeControl is highly flexible and highly responsive to different types of users.  It supports multiple languages but the module for creating a new language definition file is included too.  So, if there’s a language we didn’t support or we supported a dialect that the client doesn’t prefer, the client themselves can translate perhaps just the timesheet or as much of the interface as they wish.  Localization also carries to things like currency symbols and the way a date is displayed.

Gail: It’s a pretty remarkable team here.  How long have they been together?

Chris: The staff are all amazing at HMS.  Of our current employees we have three people who have been in the company since the 1980s and have seen the entire evolution of TimeControl from version 1 through today’s 8.5.  It’s not common anymore for people to say they’ve made a career at an IT company but it’s been true here and I find it humbling.

Gail: It’s a remarkable story so far.  Is 40 years enough?

Chris: We’re showing no signs of slowing down.  Last year was our biggest year ever.  The year before was until then the biggest year ever.  We’re both profitable and growing and for any software publisher, that’s as good as it gets.  We’re working hard on the next version of TimeControl and all its iterations including TimeControl Project.

As for myself, I’m not going anywhere.  I’ve been privileged to be part of something that has impacted so many organizations.  Our clients have put things into space and have created incredible engineering marvels.  They’ve made medicines to cure disease.  What else could I do that would have that kind of impact?  It’s been 40 years so far but I can see HMS growing for years to come.

TimeControl remains in the news

TimeControl, Gunnison, TimeControl Industrial Online, SuperbCrew, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter VandersluisIt’s always fun to see TimeControl mentioned in the news. In this case, it’s the folks over at SuperbCrew who loved our recent case study with Gunnison.  You can see their articles on their three publications at:

Superb Crew: www.superbcrew.com/hms-software-partners-with-gunnison-to-enhance-timesheet-solutions/.

TechCompany News: www.techcompanynews.com/hms-software-partners-with-gunnison-to-enhance-timesheet-solutions/

and

Daily Company News: dailycompanynews.com/hms-software-partners-with-gunnison-to-enhance-timesheet-solutions/

The original Gunnison / TimeControl Case Study can be found on our main website at: www.timecontrol.com/why-timecontrol/case-studies/gunnison.

 

TimeRequest Validation Rules are a powerful TimeControl function!

TimeRequest Conditional Approval Paths, TimeControl, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter VandersluisOne of the most popular features ever released in TimeControl has to be the automated Validation Rules.  This function allows an administrator to define what makes a valid vs. non-valid timesheet.  The feature isn’t global.  It’s typically defined by group or by role but it can be very granular and some rules might apply in one geographic area while other rules might apply elsewhere.  Some rules might work for certain employees, salaried employees for example, while other might work for part-time employee or contractors.  The rules can be very simple like “no more than 24 hours in a day” or much more complex like “no overtime unless a) you get overtime and b) you’ve done more than 40 hours of regular time this week and c) none of that regular time was for sick leave or personal time off” etc.  There is no limit to the number of rules you can create.

So you might wonder what, if automated timesheet validation rules were so popular, we took so long to introduce the notion of validation rules for TimeRequests.  We’re sorry to admit we don’t have a great answer.  But, at last in the current version 8.5 of TimeControl we’re delighted to say that TimeRequest Validation Rules are now a part of the regular TimeControl system.

TimeRequests are, of course, a method of getting approval for time to be put on your timesheet in the future and they are most commonly used for vacation requests for requests for personal time off.  This too is a highly popular function so when we turned our attention to how we would implement automated TimeRequest Validation Rules we wanted to make sure we did it right.  The request came out of a simple business process challenge.  What if the approval process for vacations wasn’t the same as for timesheets?  This wasn’t a strange question for us.  At HMS, the approval patch for vacations isn’t the same as it is for timesheets so our first instinct was to follow the same structure as the Timesheet Validation Rules but there were more questions to be answered here. The resulting design and implementation is quite impressive.

In TimeRequest Validation Rules, an administrator can define what TimeRequest Charge Codes will cause what validation path.  This is done on the TimeRequest screen for administrators who have security access to it.  We imagined several scenarios.  Let’s say that the Technical Department vacation approvals had to go to one supervisor but the rest of the company had to go to someone else.  Or, let’s say that vacation approvals had to take one approval path but personal time off took another.  TimeRequest can be used for many things.  Let’s say that out-of-office training had to be approved by someone completely different than vacation or personal time off.  TimeRequest Approvals can even check how much time is left in an employee bank such as the bank of already earned vacation time.  The new Automated TimeRequest Validation Rules cover all these types of scenarios.  The Administrator chooses one or a series of charge codes (e.g. paid vacation plus unpaid vacation) then determines which filter of employees this rule will apply to and then creates the sequential approval path of who will makes those approvals.  From there, it works just like TimeRequest Approvals always has except that who is receiving and approving the requests might be quite different.

After saying all of that, it’s also not uncommon for TimeRequests to be approved by the very people who approve timesheets in which case, there’s nothing new to set up and TimeRequest Approvals will work as they always have and, once approved will appear on the end-users timesheet automatically in whatever timesheet period they were approved for.  End users can even click on a calendar entry to add the approved time right into their calendar app.

Flexible TimeRequest Approval Paths are an important and powerful aspect to TimeControl and are describe in detail in the TimeControl Reference Guide.

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