TimeControl Mobile App includes both labor and non-labor field data collection

If you are a TimeControl Industrial user then you are no doubt familiar with how the free TimeControl Mobile app adapts to whether it is connected to TimeControl or TimeControl Industrial.  For TimeControl Industrial users of the free TimeControl Mobile App, additional features such as Crew timesheet entry appear but TimeControl Mobile App can do much more.

TimeControl Mobile supports not only the data collection of timesheets in the field by using the Crew timesheet.  It also allows non-labor entries.  This makes the app an ideal field data collection tool.  Labor is entered on the Crew timesheet but there is also an icon for Material entries in which any non-labor entries can be made.  Just as in TimeControl Industrial on the web interface, you can enter here materials consumption, equipment usage and even production values right from the field.

With the combination of these and other features, the TimeControl Mobile App delivers a LEMS (Labor, Equipment, Materials) collection system.  The Mobile app can also collect and attach pictures of the site, receipts for material delivery or other attachments that then become part of the centralized record.  Multi-faceted approvals are also handled in the field or back at the office.

This makes the TimeControl Mobile App a powerful field data collection tool and it’s all controlled right in the hand of a supervisor, foreman, team leader or clerk.  Collecting the data  right where the work is taking place leads to a much higher data quality and speeds all parts of the project progress workflow.

Once the data is released for approval, TimeControl’s powerful approval mechanisms ensure it meets the organization’s standards for data and that the people who need to approve the work get to do so whether that is through the Mobile App or back in the office on a computer web browser.  Either way, getting the data ready to update the project management system, the payroll system and the invoicing system happens much, much faster.

The TimeControl Mobile App is free and connects to TimeControl, TimeControl Online, TimeControl Industrial and TimeControl Industrial Online.  There is no fee for downloading or using the app.  The only requirement is that it be connected to an active TimeControl User License on the main system.

We mean there is no additional cost. None. When you download the app from Google Play or the Apple App store, you don’t pay a thing. All you need to do is connect to your existing TimeControl system.  The TimeControl Mobile App supports TimeControl on premise version 7.2 and higher, TimeControl Industrial on premise version 7.2 and higher, TimeControl Online or TimeControl Industrial Online.

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

You can download the TimeControl Mobile App from Google Play or the Apple App store.

Contact HMS for more information on how the TimeControl Mobile App can help your remote workers get connected.

Oracle and HMS Software renew their technical partnership through 2021

Oracle and HMS Software extend their technical alliance for a 24th consecutive year.

We are pleased to continue our long standing relationship with Oracle.  It began back in 1997 and has become an enduring example of how technical companies can combine their efforts to deliver better products and services to their mutual clients.

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:

  • 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

You can read our Press Release on this latest extension to the HMS Software / Oracle partnership.  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.

 

The benefits of alternates

Since the earliest days of TimeControl we have had a request for people to stand in for another user for a host of different reasons.  Perhaps a supervisor is absent on a Friday when they needed to be doing approvals or perhaps a person will be out of the office and away from the Internet and needs to call in to have their timesheet completed in their absence.  “Do we need to share our passwords to deal with this?” was a common question.

When we considered how to address this problem, we had to consider also the base principles of TimeControl being an auditable system.

The end result is the Alternate Users function.  This functionality allows a user to declare other users as their delegates.

When you log into TimeControl, you will be presented with a screen that appears only if you have been declared as an Alternate User for that person.  You will be asked if you’d like to log in as yourself or as the alternate.

When you elect to log in as the Alternate, at the top of the screen you’ll see that you are logged in as the delegate but you’ll see your user name too.

That’s because TimeControl will keep track of who is really in the system as you make changes and edits.  As an Alternate you will now see TimeControl exactly as that user, rather than yourself.  You’ll see only the menu functions they see. You’ll see only the data they have access to.  Even changing a personal preference will be changing their personal preference.  If you make additions or changes to key data.  TimeControl will log those changes as though it was the alternate but it will also attach your own user name so that in an auditing situation, it will be apparent who actually made the change, approved the data or added new entries.

If you are listed as the Alternate for multiple users, at the top of the screen under your login name, you’ll see a down arrow and a new option that allows you to switch between any of the alternate users without having to log out and relog in again.

While an Administrator can create alternates for users in the User Table, A user can define for themselves who they wish to have as an alternate in their Account information.

A user can define one or multiple alternates.  For each alternate they can define when that person’s access to their account will automatically expire and they can also ask that emails from TimeControl that would normally go to the user, be redirected to the delegated user.  Throughout the entire Alternate User environment, TimeControl security and auditability are maintained.

Alternate user functionality has been with TimeControl for a very long time and it’s a way of keeping the organization entering and editing data effectively when some people will be away from their post.

 

HMS and Microsoft have extended our long standing alliance

TimeControl within Microsoft Teams
TimeControl within Microsoft Teams

We were delighted to announce this week that HMS has renewed its technical alliance with Microsoft. This will make 26 consecutive years we’ve had a formal partnership with Microsoft which, in itself is remarkable. Most software companies don’t last 26 years but this alliance has thrived over these many years.

The relationship formally started when we first released TimeControl version 2 in 1995. We had decided that we needed a link to Microsoft Project which was then at version 4.0 with version 4.1 named ‘Project 95’ about to be released. Once we’d found the right people to connect with at Microsoft, our ability to work together moved quickly.

Since then we have integrated TimeControl with every version of Microsoft Project right up to the most recent. That includes Project for the Desktop, Project Server, Project Online and Project for the Web. We invest in this integration every year. It’s a constant for the TimeControl development team. Numerous HMS team members have links to multiple Microsoft staff. It’s a broad team collaboration.

Over the years we’ve leveraged many aspects of Microsoft’s technology including SharePoint, Teams, Office 365, SQL Server and the Windows Server operating system.

That will continue.

To read our press release on the alliance’s renewal, see: TimeControl.com/resources/newsroom/press-releases/2021-06-09

Table Validations have a huge impact on data quality

We have had timesheet Business Validation Rules since the first version of TimeControl but did you know that you can apply the same kind of logic to table entries?

All TimeControl tables include an option called Table Validations.  These rules are defined by you and determine what makes an accurate entry into that table.  Think that doesn’t matter much?  You’d be surprised.  The number one issue reported by TimeControl Administrators is caused by inaccurate or incomplete entries in one of TimeControl’s tables.  Let’s imagine that you have a timesheet Charge Code filter that is defined by the department an employee is in.  That’s great unless someone forgot to enter a value for that employee’s department.

Table Validations can catch all of that.  You can make a rule that says that a particular field cannot be blank or a field is dependent on another field or that the value must fall into a particular range or even that the range is dependent on the value of some other field.  A rule can have several arguments within it and you can have multiple rules for each table.

When combined with TimeControl’s Pop-up selection functionality, this rule structure has data in the all-important TimeControl tables be of very high quality.  The rules are also respected when using an API or the TimeControl imports to load a table.  If an import doesn’t conform to the table’s rules, it will be rejected.

Table Validations are easy to create but you should strategize about what rules you want to create and follow to make sure you don’t make rules that contradict each other.  HMS Technical Services can always help.  You’ll find more information about Table Rules in the TimeControl Reference Guide.

New TimeControl White Paper on Change Management

Process change in an enterprise can be complex.  The more people who are touched by the changed process, the more likely it is to have people concerned by even the smallest change.  At HMS we encounter this phenomenon on a regular basis.  When you think about TimeControl, for most users it constitutes a tiny part of their work week but the implementation of a timesheet touches every human in the organization and sometimes beyond to those not even in the organization.  So, the potential for resistance to a new enterprise system becomes very real.

Our president, Chris Vandersluis, speaks on this topic often when lecturing or teaching at project management groups.  He has grouped some of his work on the subject into a White Paper entitled, “Managing the Change of Change Management”.  We’ve formatted it into a TimeControl white paper although the subject has relevance to almost any enterprise system deployment.

You can find the white paper on our Resources White Paper directory. or you will a version of it on Mr. Vandersluis’s blog at EPMGuidance.com.  The white paper can be downloaded in PDF format in case you wish to share it.

This is a subject that will likely be added to as time permits so keep an eye on the website for changes.

Getting back to the office in person and hybrid work

In some areas of the planet, people are slowly being called back to the workplace to do in-person work.  In other areas staff are still working from home virtually.  For those areas where in-person work is starting, a new type of work environment has evolved that has been termed a hybrid workplace where people will work in the office for some part of their week, work virtually for some part of their week and perhaps even have flexible schedules for some part of their week.  This kind of environment would have been considered quite radical only 18 months ago but not so much today.

Many organizations shifted their on-premise corporate systems such as timesheets to a more online environment when the pandemic first ordered shutdowns.  Other organizations made longer term plans for shifting to cloud-based software as a service but on a slower, more managed pace.  Here at HMS we have been busy since March of 2020 working extensively with both new and existing clients on shifting on-premise timesheet systems to our own TimeControl Online subscription service in the cloud.  That work continues.

As workers start to shift to on-premise work, there will be a natural blend of some people doing some work in the office, some people doing some work from home, some people doing all work from home.  Not everyone will shift simultaneously even within one organization.

There are other complications to getting everyone back to work as well.  During this time, some organizations have extended their offshore working teams.  After, all, if we’re all virtual anyway, what difference does it make if someone is at home down the road or at home on the other side of the world?  Now, as some workers shift back to on-premise work, these new offshore workers will have to be blended into shifting HR policies.

All of this may feel very disruptive to people as the routines they and their families have gotten used to are changed.

One thing that has been a stable force for the TimeControl Online clients is knowing that no matter where you are located, accessing your timesheet to report the work you’ve accomplished and, to report your presence or absence is a given.  The TimeControl Online subscription service in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere there is Internet via a web browser or a mobile device (Android or iOS).

We expect in the coming weeks that many of our clients will use TimeControl’s flexibility to add a field to the timesheet asking the employee to record where they were for the line item listed.  Did that work occur at the office, at home or, elsewhere?  It’s a change that takes only minutes and it will give the organization insight into where people are when they’re getting their jobs done.

Here at HMS we’re still all working remotely and will be for the next few months at least.  But, once we’re able to gather in person again, we’ll almost certainly start to do so in a phased-in approach with a blended at home/at work policy.  We’ll let you know, right here on the blog, when that happens.

For more information on TimeControlOnline, visit: https://www.timecontrol.com/features/timecontrol-online.

 

Free Timesheet Buyer’s Guide on the TimeControl website

The TimeControl team hosts a section of our website that could be of value to anyone choosing a new timesheet system.  The TimeControl Buyer’s Guide is a free collections of resources that are the culmination of experience from our TimeControl timesheet deployment experts.

This area of the website provides information that both helps prospective timesheet buyers determine what kind of timesheet they might require and then shows how TimeControl can respond to those requirements. The information isn’t specific to just TimeControl so no matter what kind of timesheet you’re looking for, these resources may be of use to you.

The Timesheet Buyer’s Guide includes a number of tools that may be of interest to those considering a new timesheet system including:

  • Webcasts of how to determine what type of timesheet might be required,
  • A white paper analyzing the choice of buying a commercial off the shelf timesheet system vs. subscribing to a timesheet in the cloud vs. writing your own customized timesheet
  • A downloadable evaluation checklist spreadsheet of the most commonly requested timesheet features with options for weighting features and scoring multiple timesheet systems,
  • A Return on Investment Calculator spreadsheet which shows the financial impact of automating your timesheet system and;
  • Numerous links to other resources.

The Timesheet Buyer’s Guide is available at: TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/buyers-guide.  Access to the Buyer’s Guide is free.

 

The TimeControl team continues to add free Online Training

The TimeControl printed documentation can be intimidating at first glance.  It runs over 1,000 pages.  But our User and Reference Guides are only one of the many tools available to Administrators and end-users on how to use TimeControl.

We’ve done added some lessons to our Online Video Training Library. There are many lessons for TimeControl 8 and even older versions.

The video lessons are only 3-7 minutes each and are designed as “how-to” so users can work at your own pace. Each mini-lesson shows a single feature or function of TimeControl. Some are designed for end-users, others for TimeControl Administrators.

There are many other resources as well on the website including webcasts, white papers, slide presentations and factsheets.   You can browse through all of these resources at no charge at the Resources Area TimeControl.com.

Join our live Webinar showing TimeControl and BrightWork together

TimeControl is a multi-purpose timesheet designed to integrated with multiple project management systems. When it is integrated with BrightWork, you can create a collaborative project management SharePoint environment where the organization’s timesheets are blended naturally into the project process.

On Wednesday, May 12th at 11am EDT, 8am PDT, 4pm GMT BrightWork and HMS Software will co-host a live webinar showing how to enhance your Project Analysis in SharePoint using BrightWork and TimeControl.

You will discover:

  • How to quickly get started managing projects and portfolios with SharePoint
  • How integrating TimeControl as an enterprise timesheet brings a single point of entry for timesheets into the project environment
  • A live demo of BrightWork and TimeControl working together

Don’t worry if you can’t attend! Sign up anyway and we will send you the recording.

The Webinar is scheduled for July 11th at 4pm GMT, 11am EDT, 8am PDT.

To Register click: Register Here.

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