All posts by chris.vandersluis

What is the TimeControl Client-Side Transfer?

Mostly when we talk about linking with TimeControl, we talk about it happening in the background.  Often Project Management systems are centrally managed and the link happens between the TimeControl or TimeControl Online server and the server-based Project Management system.

There is, however, a link option between TimeControl and TimeControl Online and your own desktop application such as Microsoft Project Standard / Professional or Primavera Pro P6.

These links are made possible by a part of TimeControl called the “Client-Side Transfer” App.  This app will automatically try to activate if you have created a TimeControl Interface definition between a TimeControl Project and a Desktop-based project application.

The Client-Side Transfer App allows TimeControl to reach your desktop application through the browser.  This is typically not permitted by a web browser which we why the Client-Side Transfer App must be installed on your desktop within the Microsoft Edge Browser.  Edge (and it’s older cousin Internet Explorer) allow such apps to be installed and activated specifically for this type of requirement.

Here’s the workflow of the TimeControl Client Side Transfer App
(Click to expand)

When you initiate a Client Side Transfer, if you haven’t ever done so before or if the Client Side Transfer App has been updated, you’ll be asked to install it.  This Client Open to start the installation process.  The result will be an installed app within your Edge Browser.

You must be using the Microsoft Edge Browser (Or the older Internet Explorer if you still use that) which allows for such apps and add-ons to be added to the browser. You’ll see the app is signed by HMS Software. You may see our full legal name in English as Heuristic Management Systems Inc. or the french version as Systemes de Gestion Heuristic Inc.

The app then completes its installation.

Once installed, you won’t see the installation request again for future link requests, TimeControl will perform the link with the requested application on your desktop.
Once you’ve used the App a few times you may forget that it’s even there. The link between TimeControl and your desktop-installed project management tool will just keep updating on a regular basis.
Desktop links with TimeControl are almost never schedule-able because of the nature of the desktop project management system.

TimeControl Project tips

Did you know that TimeControl Project security extends past that of TimeControl itself?

It’s true.

TimeControl Project has security that is much more granular than TimeControl, allowing those who have permission to create a View to include anyone that they have access to either as a profile or by name.

This allows a project manager to easily include his or her team in the View of task or charge-code based Board Views or GANTT Views and both the View and the data are related in that security.  In this View we can see that the User Profile “Project Managers” has been given access along with Joseph and Tom.  Below you can see that they have all been given modify rights.  Even more, if they don’t have rights to modify the View, we can further restrict the access to that person to only show tasks that were assigned to them.

Of course TimeControl’s extensive security model is still running in the background.  The security listed here won’t accidentally give users access to data they haven’t been given access to.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, TimeControl Project is part of a premium version of TimeControl Online and TimeControl Industrial Online.  You can find out more at TimeControlProject.com.

The TimeControl / Primavera Link continues to evolve

The Link between TimeControl and Primavera comes from a long partnership.  In 1997, HMS and Primavera worked together to make the first link between TimeControl 2.1 and Primavera P3.  As each product has evolved, the TimeControl Link has too.  In virtually every version of TimeControl there has been some improvement or some extension of the Primavera Link.

There are numerous advantages of blending the TimeControl auditable timesheet functionality with the power of Oracle-Primavera’s project management functionality.  Key features of the link include:

  • TimeControl’s Matrix Approval Process for Labor Actuals™
  • Uploading not only hours but also Material consumption, Equipment Usage and Progress achieved (using TimeControl Industrial)
  • Missing timesheet management
  • Automated business validation rules
  • Extensive rate management with unlimited rates per resource
  • Management of vacation, sick leave, and personal time banks
  • Management of banked overtime and;
  • The free TimeControl Mobile App.

The TimeControl Link can support multiple Primavera editions and even multiple versions at one time including Primavera EPPM and Primavera Pro.  The integration to and from Primavera can be run on demand or on your own schedule.

There are numerous resources on the TimeControl.com website talking about how to integrate with Primavera and the benefits of combining Primavera with TimeControl.  Start at primavera.timecontrol.com to discover white papers, slide presentations, webcasts and more.

TimeControl’s TimeRequest Wizard is truly magical

TimeControl has long had the ability to allow employees to request time off in the future using the TimeRequest feature.  Employees make a request for time off for an event such a vacation or expected sick leave and that goes to their supervisor for approval much like a timesheet would.  Then, once approved, that timesheet entry including the number of hours involved, the charge code and the rate code are automatically inserted into the appropriate timesheet.  If, for some reason, the employee goes to work on that day, they can just overwrite the entry with other timesheet lines.

An extension to the TimeRequest function is the TimeRequest Wizard.  This module allows an administrator to add pre-approved TimeRequest timesheet lines to many employee’s future timesheets at once.  It is most typically used for entering statutory holidays such as New Year’s Day or Christmas.

The TimeRequest Wizard has recently been enhanced with some great new features.

Administrators can set up different TimeRequest Wizard entries and then save them for later updating.  This means that one TimeRequest Wizard entry could be made for example for all the holidays in the US and associated with a filter for US-based staff then a different TimeRequest Wizard entry could be made for all Canadian holidays and associated with a filter for all staff based in Canada.

Since TimeRequest Wizards are now saved, they can also now be recalled and edited.  This provides an easy way for TimeControl administrators to onboard new staff with future holidays and to offboard staff so there is nothing still pending for their timesheets in the future.

The TimeRequest Wizard is an easy way for administrators to save a ton of time.  You can see the online lesson of the TimeRequest Wizard in action on the TimeControl Online Training page at:  timecontrol.com/resources/online-training/timecontrol-8.

Our President Chris Vandersluis is on TopEntrepreneurs podcast

Chris Vandersluis, HMS Software’s president is on Nathan Latka’s (@nathanlatka) Top Entrepreneurs podcast this week.  You can catch the interview at: https://geni.us/TopEntrepreneurs.  Chris has been interviewed once before by Nathan back in 2018 so there was lots to talk about. Nathan asked about corporate results, how to keep clients and staff happy during a pandemic and the future expectations for HMS and TimeControl.   It’s  high energy, 20 minute look at how private SaaS companies operate and succeed.  TopEntrepreneurs features almost 2000 interviews with CEOs of SaaS companies around the world.  Take a look at: https://geni.us/TopEntrepreneurs.  You can also catch the video version on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/QmmVu2GD0hA.

TimeControl support for Visual Reader software

We announced in version 8.3 that we had put some specific attention on TimeControl for Visual Reader Support.  Visual Readers are software packages that enable those with reading disabilities to have the software read what is on the screen for them.  There had always been some support in TimeControl for this but it had been sporadic in the past.  In version 8.3 we were more deliberate. First of all, we consulted a number of websites and got some great information in particular from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) website at www.afb.org.  After looking at several systems, we decided on using some freely available software called NVDA available from www.nvaccess.org.  This software is quite remarkable.  It picks up labels on objects like fields, graphics, text and reads it out loud.  We can’t recommend both the AFB and NVAccess enough.

In TimeControl, we had to make sure that all objects were labeled properly and within the timesheet grid, this took a bit more effort to make sure that each day and each line could be identified.  We concentrated on those areas where an individual user might go including the menus, the Timesheet List, the Timesheet Entry and, MyAccount.

Now in TimeControl as you over over an element of the screen, software like NVDA will read it to you out loud.  Like to see and hear it working?  We’ve got a video lesson showing it in action.  Just click here on Show me the Visual Reader or go to TimeControl’s Online Lessons.

OPAL-RT Case Study was 20 years in the making!

We’re always excited when a client decides to work with us to create a case study about their use of TimeControl.  Aside from the obvious value to everyone in the TimeControl community who can see a real-world application of our timesheet system, case studies are particularly empowering for our own team as they see their work being used to benefit a company.

In this case, the story of OPAL-RT goes a little further.  OPAL-RT is known worldwide as a high-tech supplier of real-time simulation systems.  The case study talks about how TimeControl benefits them. OPAL-RT has been using TimeControl for over 20 years.  That’s longer than most companies exist and we have maintained our partnership with OPAL-RT continuously during this time.  Next is that OPAL-RT has seen numerous versions and editions of TimeControl.  They started off with TimeControl version 4.1, moved up to our browser-based version 5 then upgraded through version 6, 7 and 8.  They migrated from the on-premise version of TimeControl to TimeControl Online our Software as a Service which is what they use today.

TimeControl has become part of the corporate fabric at OPAL-RT.  “TimeControl has become an integral part of OPAL-RT’s enterprise system.  It’s hard to imagine working without it,” explains Irene Peres, OPAL-RT Director, Metrics and Quality Department.

It’s been a great collaboration so far and we look forward to many more years of working with this great client.

You can read or download the story in its entirety on the TimeControl website.

It’s available in English at: https://www.timecontrol.com/why-timecontrol/case-studies/opal-rt

and in French at: https://www.timecontrol.com/fr/why-timecontrol/case-studies/opal-rt.

HMS President interviewed in CEO/CFO Magazine

Our President, Chris Vandersluis here at HMS has been interviewed once again by CEOCFO Magazine.  The interview covers how HMS Software and the TimeControl team have weathered the pandemic and how HMS has expanded both its staff and its product and service offering over the past two and a half years.  The interview is available online at: https://www.ceocfointerviews.com/hmssoftware22.html.

TimeControl 8.3 now available for download

We are delighted to announce the launch of TimeControl 8.3.

This version has numerous new features and some exciting enhancements that we think will be welcomed by both new and existing customers.

TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial for on-premise deployments are available for download immediately for existing clients with a current Support Agreement at TimeControl.com/support/updates.  TimeControl Online, TimeControl Industrial Online and TimeControl Project subscriptions will all be upgraded automatically in the Cloud in the next few weeks.  We will give existing subscription holders a one week notice before the upgrade.

This version has significant and enhanced features for both Online and On-premise TimeControl clients.

Here are some details on what’s new:

TimeRequest Wizard Update

We’ve done a major overhaul of the TimeRequest Wizard that will allow new employees to be onboarded and automatically adopt previous TimeRequest Wizard entires for them.overcome a challenge some administrators have had in the past.  In previous versions, having new hires be onboarded would not automatically add TimeRequest Wizard holidays to appear.  The result was a more cumbersome manual process for anyone new to make sure that their civic holidays were entered.  Now the TimeRequest Wizard will be able to do this automatically.

Visual Reader support

We have added support for Visual Readers for the Visually impaired into this version of TimeControl.  Following products listed in the American Foundation for the Blind (afb.org) we picked the open source application NVDA as our test bed.  Now users of TimeControl can log-in, access the menu, their personal preferences and enter and submit their timesheets or TimeRequests with greater ease.  We have focused on support for individual profiles in this version rather than all tables and other administrative functions.

SAML IdP-Initiated authentication

TimeControl has had support for SAML authentication for some time.  In previous versions however, we have asked that a Service Provider (the client or service used by the client for SAML) do the authentication (SP-Initiated).  In this version we have provided Identity Provider-Initiated (IdP) SAML support which means that TimeControl can now act as the Service Provider to initiate the SAML authentication request.

Default Table Templates

An Administrator can now create a template for table entries and use that default for new entries.  This can save a bunch of time when new table entries often have the same data in certain fields.  Default templates will pre-enter the data for those fields automatically when a new entry is made or can apply the template on an existing record.

TimeControl Project Copy Tasks to Charge Codes and vice versa

In TimeControl Project we’ve created new functionality to copy Charge record based Views and their associated records to Task Views and records and Task-based Views and records to Charge-records and the associated Viws.

And… there’s so much more.

Improvements in performance and capacity, interface changes to improve the user experience, TimeControl Industrial Extended Rates Options, Crew Onboarding, Enhanced Logging and Event Viewer Changes, brute force login prevention, automatic password recovery and, enhancements to the TimeControl / InEight Estimate Integration

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.

The Best Practices area of our website is full of useful info!

The HMS technical and implementation staff keep a repository of great collateral and information on what best practices we’ve uncovered when deploying TimeControl, TimeControl Online and TimeControl Industrial.

This is all maintained on the TimeControl.com website in the Best Practices area.

This section is divided into three areas:

Questions and Answers

Here you’ll find some basic Q & A of common questions we receive and answers from our implementation staff.  For example, “How much time should I spend on my timesheet each week?” is a common question.  This Q&A is not Q&A about any feature or support issue with TimeControl, it’s only focused on best practices.

Individuals

This section contains information of specific interest to individual users.  For example, you’ll find here a video presentation on how to minimize the time spent using TimeControl each week by using certain features.

Organizations

This section will be of more interest to those who are the administrators and implementers of TimeControl.  For example, in this section you’ll find a white paper on how to Manage the Change Management of a timesheet deployment”.  It talks about how to generate compliance and how to avoid potential upset when changing an enterprise system.

The Best Practices area of the TimeControl website is updated on a regular basis.  We invite you to take a look at: https://www.timecontrol.com/resources/best-practices.