All posts by chris.vandersluis

Updates to the TimeControl.com website for TimeControl Project

We’ve made numerous updates on the TimeControl.com site to accommodate our exciting new premium version of TimeControl Online.  TimeControl Project.  The main area TimeControl Project is at Project.TimeControl.com. You’ll find links there to the updates of many different kinds of collateral including:

TimeControl Project Webcast
This 15 minute video shows TimeControl Project in action and explains the basic concepts and advantages of this remarkable evolution in project management systems.

TimeControl Slides and screenshots
This PowerPoint presentation is what we use to showcase TimeControl Project and includes numerous screenshots and explanations of the TimeControl Project concepts.

TimeControl Factsheet
This 4-page factsheet is an overview of TimeControl project that is suitable for sharing with anyone who is interested in the system.

TimeControl Project Online Training
We have added a new section to our online training guides specifically for TimeControl Project and we are adding to it constantly. You’ll find here short 3-5 minute videos showing how to use basic functions in TimeControl Project.

This is, of course, only a fraction of the resources for all of TimeControl of which TimeControl Project is a part. See the Resources area of the website or the TimeControl Blog for even more collateral or, contact HMS with any questions.

TimeControl Auditability a brand new white paper

From the very beginning of TimeControl’s design, we knew we needed a timesheet system that would pass the stringent controls the Finance department need for processes like Payroll and Invoicing as well as the activity-based-costing and progress tracking requirements of project management. This is what has TimeControl be simultaneously a highly flexible system and a highly auditable system.

The design and functionality that is used to make TimeControl auditable is so woven into the fabric of the product that we often don’t think to highlight it until someone asks about some specific aspect.  So, we’ve never made a document outlining how TimeControl is auditable.

Until now.

In our new white paper “TimeControl Auditability What do we mean when we say auditable”  we discuss what we mean when we say TimeControl is auditable.  You’ll find it in the TimeControl Resources WhitePapers area of our TimeControl website.

TimeControl Project Launches!

We’re very excited to announce the release of TimeControl Project.  TimeControl Project is a premium version of TimeControl Online and TimeControl Industrial Online that delivers a unique set of Views, Analysis and Data to enable Project Management and Project Execution.

Now the power and flexibility that TimeControl is known around the world for extends its functionality from project actuals to project planning and execution.  We have taken a unique approach to providing project management functionality within TimeControl.  Instead of thinking of project management as a big bucket of tasks that automatically roll up from level to level from the most detailed task in the organization to the portfolio selection at the executive, we have created data, analysis and displays that are appropriate to each level.  Data can be integrated or it can be distinct depending on what you need.  It doesn’t seem to make sense that every task that changes at the most tactical level will be instantly displayed in summary charts and projections.

Sometimes it’s better to look integrated than be integrated.

TimeControl includes tools at the Strategic Level for executives that might include Sheets Spreadsheet Views and summary GANTT barcharts.  At the Operational Level, project managers and resource managers might prefer GANTT Views and decision making Board Views.  At the Tactical Level, team leaders, team members and, scrum masters might prefer Board Views for an Agile approach.  TimeControl Project keeps these distinct when needed and integrated when that makes more sense.

TimeControl Project is available only as a premium edition of TimeControl Online and TimeControl Industrial Online subscriptions in the Cloud.

For more information about TimeControl Project, visit project.timecontrol.com or contact your HMS account manager.

Managing non-project hours in TimeControl

TimeControl is so often talked about as a project management tool that we sometimes forget how important it is to manage hours that aren’t part of a project at all.  One of the most powerful aspects of TimeControl is being able to be the timesheet that can track hours for tasks as well as all the non-project time.  This allows a timesheet to be entered that is complete.  It has all the hours spent in the organization for all purposes.

Unlike the timesheets that are included with many project management systems, TimeControl is designed to serve both Project Management and Human Resources at the same time. A TimeControl timesheet may have entries that are destined for updating tasks in a project but it might also have hours that are key for invoicing, for job costing, for vacation, sick leave and other entitlements and, of course, for payroll.  Only an auditable timesheet is suitable for these multiple purposes at once and TimeControl is designed with this in mind.

Aside from the obvious time and attendance functionality, there are numerous functions within TimeControl to support these many non-project processes they include:

  • TimeControl’s Banks management includes functionality to track time off, overtime, sick leave, banked overtime, vacation management, training time and more. This gives Human Resources powerful auditable tools for tracking entitlements that have been taken and time remaining for those categories.
  • TimeControl’s TimeRequest™ lets timesheet users request vacation or personal time off in advance and once approved, have that time automatically inserted right into their timesheet on the appropriate day.
  • TimeControl Accruals does automatic, auditable calculations of overtime, banked time, rate changes and keeps a traceable record of when time and extra earnings were earned.
  • TimeControl’s TimeRequest™ Wizard lets an administrator pre-approve days off for such as holidays for large groups of users and have those timesheet entries automatically appear in user’s timesheets on the appropriate day.
  • TimeControl’s business Validation Rules lets you configure the rules that are appropriate for using entitlements like vacation time or personal time off so that users don’t accidentally take sick leave on a weekend or vacation time that wasn’t approved or personal time off that exceeds the time in their bank.

The free TimeControl and Human Resources Portal has extensive information on the non-project use of TimeControl including white papers, webcasts, factsheets and video lessons to help you understand how TimeControl timesheets can play and important role far beyond your project management needs.

 

The TimeControl Evolve program

The TimeControl Evolve program enables TimeControl on-premise clients to easily migrate to TimeControl Online

The TimeControl Evolve is designed to enable TimeControl on-premise clients to migrate to TimeControl Online, the TimeControl Software as a Service subscription in the Cloud.  The evolve program is an inexpensive and effective way to move your TimeControl system into the cloud.

TimeControl on-premise has been marketed since 1994 (yes, that’s right, 28 years!) so there are a lot of on-premise clients out there.  Even though more sales these days are for our subscription Cloud service, TimeControl on-premise is still sold and supported and will be for the foreseeable future.

But that leaves a lot of on-premise clients who are interested in migrating from an on-premise timesheet system to the SaaS equivalent.

There are many advantages to migrating to a TimeControl Online subscription:

  1. First, all maintenance of TimeControl is handled by HMS. We do all the server, database, malware prevention and application upgrades for you.
  2. TimeControl Online is upgraded automatically by HMS. You will no longer have to be concerned about upgrades.  HMS takes care of all updates, upgrades and new version installation centrally on the TimeControl Online servers.
  3. Continuous monitoring is handled for you. TimeControl Online is monitored 24x7x365.  We are looking at the system continuously and are proud of our 99.9%+ uptime since the service was first launched in 2011.
  4. TimeControl Online and TimeControl on-premise are the same code. That means that all functionality that you know and love in TimeControl on-premise is already in TimeControl Online.
  5. Data backups and disaster recovery is already included. TimeControl Online is backed up daily and you can even download your own database backup in case you want to be sure to have control over it.  Disaster recovery is layered to handle issues of different scales and types.
  6. TimeControl Online is highly secure. We follow the OWASP standards for testing and our data is housed by Amazon Web Services in highly secure facilities.

The TimeControl Evolve program will let you migrate your TimeControl on-premise licenses to the cloud and we won’t charge the subscription until your current support contract expires.  Yes, that’s correct.  No subscription cost for the entire remainder of your already active support contract.  If you just updated your technical support today, then that’s a whole year of TimeControl Online for free.

Free.

When you sign up for the Evolve program we will assist you in migrating your data to TimeControl Online.  If you haven’t upgraded your TimeControl on-premise to the most current version, then you can optionally have us help do the upgrades to ensure that the data you have will immediately migrate to the online version.  We can also advise you on maintaining or enhancing your links to external systems such as project management tools, ERPs and more.

Everyone’s situation is different.  If you’d like to talk to one of our Account specialists about whether the TimeControl Evolve program is right for you, contact us at: https://www.timecontrol.com/contact or email us at info@hms.ca.

 

Semiconductor company AMD and HMS collaborate on TimeControl Case Study

We are very excited to kick off blog posts for the new year with something we’ve been working on for some months.  In the summer of 2021, AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) and HMS started working on a case study to showcase how the world renowned semiconductor company has deployed TimeControl to its employees around the world.  That case study is now complete and you can read it here.

Our thanks to the TimeControl deployment team at AMD for their partnership as well as all the AMD staff who interact with TimeControl every day.

You can read or download the story here:
TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/case-studies/amd.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year

The holiday season is upon us here at HMS Software and we would like to takes this opportunity to wish all our clients, colleagues, partners and business contacts a safe and very happy holiday season and a healthy and happy New Year.

We look forward to working with you all in 2022.

We will be closing at noon on Friday, December 24th.  Our office hours for the rest of the holiday season are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5) as follows:

  • Friday, Dec 24: Closed at noon
  • Monday, Dec 27: Closed for Christmas
  • Tuesday, Dec 28: Closed for Boxing Day
  • Wednesday, Dec 29: Open
  • Thursday, Dec 30: Open
  • Friday, Dec 31, Closed at noon
  • Monday, Jan 3: Closed
  • Tuesday, Jan 4: Closed
  • Wednesday: Jan 5: Open and our regular schedule restarts

TimeControl and the Apache Log4j zero-day vulnerability

We have had numerous calls from clients today regarding the “Apache Log4j zero-day vulnerability”.  We’re happy to inform you that this security issue does not affect any of our TimeControl environments.  This includes our SaaS TimeControl Online, and any TimeControl or TimeControl Industrial on-premise installations.

For more information on the Apache Log4j zero-day vulnerability, go to: https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2021-44228.

 

TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial 8.2 on-premise, now available!

We’re very excited to announce the launch of TimeControl 8.2. Over the next few weeks, you’re going to see a number of different announcements about product releases. This first is to announce the release of the TimeControl 8.2 upgrade for on-premise installations. For clients of TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial with current support agreements, this new version can be downloaded from the Client upgrade area at TimeControl.com/support/updates. In the next few weeks we will be updating TimeControl Online and as part of the TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial Online upgrade, our subscription service of TimeControl in the cloud. As part of the TimeControl Online 8.2 upgrade we will also be announcing the availability of TimeControl Project, a new premium version of TimeControl.

This version has significant and enhanced features for both Online and On-premise TimeControl clients. Here is more detail on some of what’s new:

Enhanced Timesheet Entry

We’ve enhanced the way timesheets are created to allow the creation of multiple timesheets at the same time. We also have now included a multiple new line entry to allow multiples lines to be added at once. Also within the timesheet, we allow a single click line-item copy. When copying timesheets, we now allow start/stop values to be copied.

Enhanced Crew Timesheets

In TimeControl Industrial, we’ve made a number of enhancements. The Crew Timesheets now takes into account TimeRequests and adds the appropriate lines right into the Crew Timesheet. We’ve also enhanced the multi-line function to allow multiple projects and charges to be added to multiple crew members at once.

Missing Crew Timesheet Notification

Also in TimeControl Industrial, we’ve added a new function for Missing Crew Timesheets that we expect to be just as popular as the individual Missing Timesheet Notification is.

And much more…

Enhanced Integration with Oracle Primavera, Reporting, Assignments, TimeRequests, Extended Rates, Filter visibility, performance and other usability enhancements across the application.

For a more complete list of new and enhanced features in this version, please visit, TimeControl.com/features/latest.

If you are a TimeControl or TimeControl Industrial on premise client with a current support and maintenance agreement, you can download the new version at no additional charge at: TimeControl.com/support/updates. We will notify TimeControl Online subscribers about their update and their access to the new TimeControl Project in the coming weeks. TimeControl Online will be updated automatically.

Timesheet approvals can matter… a lot!

When looking at a timesheet used for a single purpose such as time and attendance, then timesheet approvals are straightforward.  Who is responsible for this employee’s attendance?  Were they working?  Were they on vacation or sick leave?  Ok, approved!

With remote work now much more common, there are more questions for time and attendance that can make approvals a bit more complex but the process is the same.  Approvals for one purpose timesheets is essentially a one-dimensional matrix.

But, how do you handle approvals for a timesheet that was deployed for multiple purposes?  That can be more complex.  When you have a multi-purpose timesheet like TimeControl, it turns out that everyone would like a seat at the approvals table.  The more purposes in use for the same timesheet data, the more dimensions to the timesheet approval matrix.

Let’s imagine a couple of scenarios

Timesheets used for Payroll plus Project Management updates

This was the first two-dimensional matrix that we ever confronted with TimeControl.  Project Managers needed to approve work before it is accepted into the project management system.  That might include hours of course but also non-labor resource usage, estimates to complete a task or indications that a task is done.  A project manager might need updates weekly or even more frequently if in an industrial environment.

The Payroll Department isn’t interested in what was done at all. They need to know if the employee was working or not and if not, whether that was part of an entitlement like vacation or sick leave time or if it was an unpaid absence.  The updates to Payroll might only need to happen every other week or twice a month or on some other schedule.

TimeControl’s approval design accommodates this perfectly with the overall timesheet approval happening at the organizational level with whoever is responsible for that employee’s attendance and then, once the timesheet totals are settled, at a line-by-line level for the project manager.  It’s part of the Matrix Approval Process for Labor Actuals™ which we created in the 1990s.

Timesheets used for Project Management updates, Billing and Capitalization

Ok, let’s take something with three dimensions.  Now we still need projects to be updated and we still need project managers to look at things line by line but we need other line-by-line approvals.   Here the total amount for the timesheet could be locked in by an organizational approver or automatically as part of TimeControl Workflow.  Then project managers would approve items line-by-line in the Project Manager Validation screen in TimeControl.

A billing manager could see something very similar in the Line Item Approval screen and approve or reject lines for invoicing from there.  Then an automated transfer from TimeControl to Invoicing would include only those items marked as approved to invoice.

A similar exercise could be done by Finance for use in Capitalizing some work.  Depending on the situation, some work could be invoiced and still capitalized.  Some work might not be invoiced and still be capitalizable.  The numbers are important particularly for Sarbanes-Oxley compliant firms as the numbers are auditable so having a trace of who approved these timesheet hours for Capitalization is important.

Timesheets used for Human Resources plus R&D tax credits

Let’s take a look at a different two-dimensional approval process.  Here the HR department really needs to see who took time off and whether that time was an approved absence, whether that was part of an entitlement like vacation or sick leave that needs to be reflected in the bank of vacation or sick leave for that employee and what balance is left for those banks for the employee in the future.  Here an organizational person who is responsible for the employee’s attendance and approved absences will review the timesheet and sign off on the totals.  This process could be sped up using TimeControl’s Workflow functionality to automatically approve timesheet totals under certain conditions.  For example, if the timesheet already has the expected total of 40 hours and there are no exceptions like sick leave or time off then the timesheet totals could get automatic approval right away.  That leaves only the timesheets with exceptions to be reviewed.

Tasks eligible for R&D credits have to be approved line-by-line so that can be done in TimeControl’s Line-Item-Approval function.  The accepted tasks end up in the R&D tax return for credits and rejected tasks are not considered for this purpose.  This is usually distinct from project approvals or billing approvals as someone in Finance will have to be responsible for this portion of the tax return.

TimeControl’s remarkable approval functionality has been tested in countless scenarios and is so flexible that even if additional dimensions to the approval challenge arrive later, you can add these onto the process without having to restart.

TimeControl technical staff are experienced not just in TimeControl’s functionality but also in how to create a working process for different elements of the organization at the same time.  That kind of skill and experience isn’t as common as you might think.

You can find out more about TimeControl’s approval functionality at TimeControl.com/use-cases/matrix-approvals. On that page you’ll find a number of different resources including the white paper “Creating your Approval Process in TimeControl” which covers more elements of the timesheet approval challenge.