All posts by chris.vandersluis

De-centralized Project Management and Centralized Timesheets with TimeControl

wp_decentralized_centralized_300x383The most common notion of Enterprise Project Management (EPM) systems means that all users access a single centralized system for all related functions.  This concept became popular in the late 1990s with the rise of ERP systems.  Project Managers have been asked to store their data and adopt the centralized project management system.

Yet there are still millions and millions of individually run project management tools running on desktops or even as services in the cloud but not part of a centralized project management process.

That might be fine for each project manager but when it comes to a process that needs to be centralized like timesheets, we run into a bigger problem.  The result is that one aspect of the enterprise such as Finance insists on a timesheet for payroll for all personnel.  Another department insists on a timesheet for all users for HR to track time off and another department needs a billing timesheet for all users who contribute to billing time.  Each project manager might need to deploy their own timesheet system for their teams.

It can become chaos in a hurry.

We’ve just released a white paper that deals with this exact business challenge.  It’s called “De-centralized Project Management and Centralized Timesheets with TimeControl”.  It’s free to access and it’s available right now as part of our ongoing efforts to show how to realize the benefits of TimeControl. If you are interested in having project managers continue to use multiple systems but need to have one timesheet to bring all the actuals together for different purposes, you’ll find this paper of interest.  The white paper can be downloaded from: https://www.timecontrol.com/pdf/whitepapers/centralized_decentralized.pdf.

For more free resources on enterprise project management and enterprise timesheet systems, go to: TimeControl.com/resources.

TimeControl timesheets and Primavera project management make a winning combination

TimeControl and Primavera have a long history together.  First paired in 1997, HMS Software has ensured it’s TimeControl has had a continuous link to every version of Primavera since.  For those users who need a Primavera Timesheet that supports both financial and project processes simultaneously there is no better selection.

TimeControl includes links using direct database-to-database connections for Primavera Professional and Primavera EPPM and a Web connection link for Primavera EPPM so all the basis are covered whether Primavera and TimeControl are in the cloud or on premise.  The bi-directional link moves projects, tasks, resources assignments and progress to TimeControl then sends back hours, costs and progress.

Primavera clients who need a single timesheet to update not only the task progress in Primavera but also Payroll, Billing, Finance, Job Costing or HR use TimeControl to provide multi-purpose timesheet functionality that will allow a single point of timesheet entry and multiple corporate uses at the same time.

Some of the benefits of integrating TimeControl as your Primavera Timesheet include:

  • Automated Business Validation Rules
  • Expense tracking
  • Extensive Rate Management with unlimited rates per person and multiple values per rate
  • Management of Vacation, Sick Leave, Personal time banks
  • Crew Timesheets (with TimeControl Industrial)
  • Material consumption, Equipment usage and Production accomplished (with TimeControl Industrial)
  • Management of Banked Overtime
  • Included integration with Oracle-Primavera Pro, EPPM and many other project systems
  • The free TimeControl Mobile App for tablets and smartphones
  • Missing timesheet management
  • Multi-lingual interface
  • The Matrix Approval Process for Labor Actuals™

TimeControl is available as a subscription in the cloud or for on-premise deployment or.

HMS has a free information portal with white papers, video lessons, slide presentations and factsheets on our website at: http://primavera.timecontrol.com.

 

Keppel FloaTEC sends a strong recommendation for TimeControl

Just in time for the holidays we can share yet another great reference from one of our TimeControl clients.  Keppel FloaTEC is a leading provider of engineering services and solutions for deep water floating production systems.  They are a long-standing client of TimeControl with over 13 years of experience with the system.

TK Das, the President of Keppel FloaTEC penned a great recommendation for TimeControl which he has graciously allowed us to publish on the TimeControl website.

“Our labor records are subject to audit by our customers,” TK explains.  “We have been able to satisfy our customer requirements using this system and most of our customers are major oil companies around the world.”

That’s high praise indeed.

We thank TK and the entire team at Keppel FloaTEC for our long standing relationship and for this great recommendation.  We look forward to serving his team for years to come.

You can read TK’s letter in its entirety at: https://www.timecontrol.com/why-timecontrol/testimonials/floatec.

US Properties increases efficiency with TimeControl

We are delighted to have received a letter from US Properties about their use of TimeControl. US Properties is the leading commercial real estate brokerage and property management firm in Eastern Connecticut.

Erik Mills, US Properties’ Vice President of Operations penned a letter to us recently explaining how the deployment of TimeControl has allowed the company to improve efficiency to be able to grow without increasing its staff.

“We strongly recommend the system for its ease of use and customization but more importantly the invaluable tech employees who are readily available to assist,” said Mills.

Here at HMS, these letters are a huge motivator for our group so we thank Erik and the whole US Properties team for their support and their letter.

You can read the letter in its entirety at:
TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/testimonials/usproperties.

TimeControl joins the Internet of Things (IoT) with voice command

TimeControl has taken a leap forward to join the Internet of Things (IoT) thanks to a new Alexa skill released by EasyVoice. Over the last few months, HMS has worked with EasyVoice to help the new Alexa skills understand how to interact with TimeControl and it is now available.

Now you can say things like “Alexa, add two hours on my timesheet to my meetings task for today” or “Alexa, how much time have I booked to meetings this week?”.  The new skill allows users who are in situations where using their desktop or mobile interfaces is challenging, such as when they are driving.

To see the new EasyVoice skill in operation, go to our solutions page at: TimeControl.com/use-cases/easyvoice.

You can subscribe to EasyVoice’s Alexa skill and even get a free trial of the skill at: Voice-Time.com/giveaways.

Which browser is best with TimeControl 8?

We have had numerous questions about the performance of different browsers with TimeControl. With the release of TimeControl 8, these question have expanded to which version of TimeControl is faster, version 7 or version 8 and which browser performs better.

The HMS Technical department devoted some time to benchmarking the answer to these questions and we’re happy to share the data with you.  We tested 80 different TimeControl functions in TimeControl 7.4.1 using Internet Explorer (the most popular browser used with TimeControl when TimeControl 7 was first released) and in TimeControl 8.0 using Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer  (yes, Explorer is still part of Windows 10).   When we were done with our findings we were delighted with most of the results.

TimeControl 8 is, on average 33% faster than TimeControl 7.4.1.

The fastest browser when using TimeControl 8 was Chrome.

We were a little surprised at the poor performance of Internet Explorer.  So, in TimeControl 8.0.0.12 we included some IE-specific performance improvements which boosted the IE performance by a whopping 62% over earlier 8.0 builds and we’re delighted with that.

For those who love the raw details, we’ve included the entire study here: TC80_Benchmarks.

Migrating from Excel Timesheets to TimeControl?

There are countless organizations that still do their timesheets in Excel.  Is it any wonder that in every copy of Excel there are templates included to make multiple types of timesheets?  The advantage of using Excel for such tasks is twofold: First, it is instant.  If using a template, an Excel timesheet could be deployed in an hour.  Second, it is ultimately flexible.  An Excel timesheet can be changed to whatever degree you wish.

But, as easy as it is to create an Excel timesheet for a small group, organizations often outgrow such systems very quickly.  When the requirements for the timesheet include auditability or the need to harmonize coding to a central structure or just trying to find missing timesheets, the ease of Excel is eclipsed by its challenges.

TimeControl was designed from its inception in 1994 to have Excel integration and now, 25 years later, that integration is multi-faceted.  Aside from being able to consume Excel worksheets for lists of projects, charges or employees or being able to create Excel workbooks to enable analysis, reporting or external integration, TimeControl is a likely and common place for organizations to migrate their Excel timesheet systems.  Maintenance and the management of an Excel timesheet when an organization grows, becomes more complex, more costly and a bigger challenge.  That’s where TimeControl’s centralized data structure becomes much more attractive.

TimeControl has numerous points of contact with Excel:

Importing and Exporting data between TimeControl and Excel

TimeControl includes complete support for transferring data to and from Excel files.  If you maintain some data now in Excel, then moving that into TimeControl is a matter of moments.  If you use Excel for analysis of data, then sending TimeControl’s source data to Excel is very simple.  You can even schedule exports to Excel or imports from Excel to happen automatically on a schedule you define.

Importing legacy timesheets from Excel to TimeControl is already included

TimeControl includes import functionality for timesheets themselves so if you have an existing timesheet system in Excel you can transfer that data into TimeControl.  Our Excel Solutions Portal even has a template for you to download and use so you don’t have to create it yourself.

Integrating Excel Services dashboards into TimeControl

Some people like using Excel’s server-based charting capabilities to create analysis of timesheet or project management data.  TimeControl supports displaying Excel views in the dashboard.  Need an Excel pivot report in your TimeControl dashboard?  No problem. Need an Excel traffic light on the TimeControl dashboard?  No problem.

Displaying TimeControl Reports in Excel

Every TimeControl report including those created in our TimeControl Report Designer or with the TimeControl Drill Down Analyzer can be saved as Excel files so you can do more extensive analysis and reporting in the tools you are familiar with.

Migrating from Excel to TimeControl or TimeControl Online is so simple

TimeControl and TimeControl Online are almost always configured from Excel files.  Our technical staff give templates to new clients so they can configure the data they want into TimeControl with the features they want to enable.  If you’re using Excel already you’re all set to go.  And, if you’re subscribing to TimeControlOnline, there’s nothing to install, no servers or databases to configure.  Once your subscription is activated, you are ready to start moving your data into the system and activating your users.  Most small to medium sized organizations are able to enter timesheets a few days after subscribing.  You could be looking at your own TimeControl system only a couple of hours from now.

You can find out more about how TimeControl and Excel can work together to help your organization become more efficient on our TimeControl/Excel Use-Case portal at: Timecontrol.com/use-cases/excel-to-timecontrol.  On the portal you’ll find webcasts, factsheets and slide presentations explaining some of your options and potential benefits.

Webinar Présentation de TimeControl et BrightWork    

If you are English speaking…
You’ll find below an invitation to an upcoming webinar in French on improving your project management environment with a combination of BrightWork, TimeControl and SharePoint. If you have colleagues who speak French, please feel free to pass this along to them. If you are interested in attending this webinar in English, please let us know by replying to this message. We expect to do this webinar in English in October.


Améliorer votre gestion de projets et votre suivi du temps avec SharePoint

Trop souvent, les projets et les feuilles de temps sont gérés en utilisant le courriel et Excel, sans contrôle ni guide des meilleures pratiques. De nombreuses organisations exigent et méritent que leurs données de feuille de temps fassent plus que simplement mettre à jour les tâches dans un système de gestion de projets.

Avec TimeControl et BrightWork, les feuilles de temps et la gestion des projets de l’organisation fonctionnent de manière transparente avec la plateforme SharePoint. Les utilisateurs disposent d’un point d’entrée unique pour saisir leur feuille de temps et aussi suivre facilement l’avancement et le suivi de leurs projets.

Rejoignez Novexe et Logiciel HMS pour un webinaire en direct où vous pourrez:

  • Découvrir comment démarrer rapidement votre gestion de projets et de portefeuilles dans SharePoint avec la solution BrightWork
  • Découvrir comment transformer SharePoint en un système de gestion de feuilles de temps d’entreprise avec TimeControl
  • Assister à une démonstration en direct de l’utilisation intégrée de BrightWork et TimeControl dans SharePoint

Si vous ne pouvez y assister, ne paniquez pas! Inscrivez-vous et nous vous enverrons l’enregistrement.

Inscription: www.brightwork.com/webinars/ameliorer-votre-gestion-de-projets-et-votre-suivi-du-temps-avec-sharepoint

 

 

 

Aegion Corp and HMS collaborate on a case study

We’re always delighted when clients let us know how TimeControl has made a difference.  This month, we are able to share with you a case study of Aegion Corp. who has been a TimeControl Industrial client since 2014.   HMS and Aegion collaborated on this  case study for several weeks.  It shows the results of interviews with several Aegion clients including the CIO, Thys Lourens.  Aegion is a Missouri based pipeline services company.

Aegion selected TimeControl Industrial for its ability to enable field data collection and reports in this case study that by using TimeControl they have been able to improve overall productivity.

You can read the Press Release on this study or go directly to the Aegion Case Study to find out more about how TimeControl has helped Aegion improve their effectiveness.  Here at HMS we’re proud to count them among our many clients.

Case Study: TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/case-studies/aegion

 

TimeControl and JIRA integration

In TimeControl 8 we introduced a dynamic bidirectional link with Atlassian’s JIRA® which synchronizes task actuals bi-directionally between TimeControl and JIRA.

The link has incoming and outgoing components.  The incoming component works differently from any previous TimeControl link as it is expected to work multiple times per day or per timesheet period.  It brings into TimeControl not only the task, resource and assignment information but also the actual hours saved into JIRA by end users.  Since JIRA saves these entries as transactions, TimeControl brings in only the differential between what it has already and what has been posted in JIRA since.  The link can be called multiple times per day or as often as is convenient to populate the timesheet and from a performance perspective, because only the records that are new transactions in JIRA are transferred, the inbound link will be very quick.

The result of this process is that by the end of the timesheet period (for example weekly), TimeControl has created a timesheet for the user with all the time that has been posted in JIRA for tasks so far.  Then the user can go to TimeControl to fill in any non-JIRA or non-project time for example for meetings, travel or time-off in order to fill in a complete timesheet and then release the timesheet for approval.

TimeControl then has its usual timesheet approval mechanisms for approving the time both automatically through validation rules and manually both by supervisors and project managers.  Once all approvals are complete, TimeControl can use the outbound component of the link to send information back to JIRA so that both systems are kept synchronized.

The result is an auditable financial record of work that was originally recorded in JIRA for convenience but has become part of a corporate cost control system.

For more information on the TimeControl/JIRA integration, visit TimeControl.com/use-cases/jira.