All posts by chris.vandersluis

Compatibility testing with MS Project Desktop 2019 is now complete!

We are delighted to announce that we have completed testing the integration of msprojpro_300x188TimeControl with Microsoft Project 2019 for the Desktop.  This continues an unbroken integration of TimeControl with every version of Microsoft Project since 1995.  Yep – 1995 when the Dow was at 5117 and you could get a new car for $15,000.  Ebay got started that year and a new revolution – the DVD was announced.  It’s not a trivial thing to say that the relationship between HMS and Microsoft is one of the oldest technical alliances in the software industry.

We believe that the integration between TimeControl and Microsoft Project is essential.  Many software companies focus solely on integrating with Microsoft’s Project Server.  We have that integration also but there are millions of licenses of Project Desktop in the market and delivering an integrated centralized timesheet that can link to them is how TimeControl is best known.

We’re proud that TimeControl has had the longest standing integration with Microsoft Project of any tool in any category in the industry.”

The integration between TimeControl and Microsoft Project has evolved over the 24 years it has existed.   The link currently supports Microsoft Project, Microsoft Project Online, Microsoft Project Server and many other Microsoft products like SharePoint and Excel.

Integrating TimeControl with Microsoft Project gives a single source of timesheet entry for multiple purposes.  TimeControl’s auditable, multi-purpose design means the timesheet can be used not only for updating Microsoft Project with hours, costs, material and equipment consumption and task progress but also for updating Payroll, HR, Billing, Job costing, R&D tax audit tracking, Defense Contract Audit Agency Compliance and much more.

The TimeControl website contains numerous resources to support organizations who wish to explore how the link between TimeControl and Microsoft Project can help make them more effective.

For more information on which Microsoft technologies can be advantageous when using TimeControl, visit the Microsoft TimeControl portal.  It includes numerous free resources including white papers, webcasts, PowerPoint presentations and more.  The Portal can be found at: Microsoft.TimeControl.com.

Line Item Approvals brings you beyond Project Approvals

Imagine this scenario… You have to review timesheets before sending them back to the LineItemApproval.jpgproject management system.  No problem.  TimeControl’s Matrix Approvals lets you do approvals both at the organizational level and task-by-task for the project.

Now you find out that you also need to review any timesheet hours and costs prior to being accepted by billing.  It’s very similar to the task-by-task exercise but it’s not for the project.  It’s for the client, not the project.

Enter TimeControl’s Line Item Approvals (LIA).  Line Item Approvals lets you add an additional line-by-line approval mechanism prior to sending the data to the billing system.

“But wait,” you say.  “We also need to have each contractor review their timesheet data in the field prior to acceptance!”

Line Item Approval once again has this covered.  This is one of the most powerful and extensible elements of TimeControl.  It essentially takes the Project Manager Approval concept; something that has been in TimeControl since version 1.0 back in 1994 and extends it as many different times as you wish.  The design of this feature is very elegant.  It is associated to the Interface Definition of a Table Export.  You might be using Scheduled Links or OnDemand Links or even pulling the information via TimeControl’s API but the Line Item Approval process flows through the interface definition.  If you turn this on, the export will not send lines of data through that export that have not been approved.

It’s hard to make a graphic for this because it essentially takes the two axis Matrix Approval Process and makes it into a 3, 4, 5 or as many as you want axes.

Worried this might slow your approvals?  No need.  Each and every Line Item Approval flow is completely independent of the others.  So, the Project Manager Approval might be weekly, the Account Manager Billing Approval might be monthly and the on-site contractor approval might be every two weeks.  You get to decide.

There are many more features in this remarkable function.  You can, for example, send automated emails when timesheet lines aren’t approved for a particular LIA approval process or filter the information that results from the approval process.

Setting up Line Item Approval takes only seconds but before you rush to do it, working through the workflow of what you’re trying to accomplish is worth taking some time on.

You can find out more about Line Item Approval in the TimeControl Reference Guide or ask your Account Manager if you’d like HMS Consulting Services to assist.

We’ve updated our Approvals Documentation because creating a functional timesheet approval process can be a challenge

HMS has been creating timesheet systems since its first mandate in 1984.  We’ve learned a few things since then.   By the time we released TimeControl, our commercial timesheet software in 1994, we had created numerous custom timesheet systems for organizations of many sizes.  We realized that timesheet approvals was the cornerstone of creating a timesheet that would work for an organization yet almost everyone had a different perspective on how timesheet approvals should work.  Who needed to do the approval?  The supervisor, the project manager, the account manager, the payroll manager?  Who else?  The subject could quickly become a quagmire.

That led us to create functionality in TimeControl that would be tremendously flexible and yet carry many robust layers, some visible, some behind the scenes that would let administrators create the timesheet approval mechanism they needed.

In 1994 we trademarked the term “The Matrix Approval Process for Labor Actuals™”.  This process is embedded within TimeControl and allows timesheet to be approved both by Project Management and by Finance.  There can be many other elements to creating your own approvals. TimeControl has continued to evolve and the ability to create approval mechanisms within the timesheet has evolved with it.  TimeControl’s functionality includes many more options for filters, validation rules, workflow, accruals and other building blocks to creating a powerful and multi-faceted automated approval process.

HMS Software has extensive resources available to TimeControl users to help develop an approval process that supports their particular environment.  Approvals can include multiple levels, conditional branching and include both full-timesheet validation and line-by-line approvals.  The TimeControl website includes an area dedicated to approvals including white papers, webcasts and other collateral created by HMS technical personnel.  The white paper “The Timesheet Approvals Challenge” shows why so many organizations end up implementing more than one timesheet system even when that is not their intention.  The white paper “Creating your Approvals Process in TimeControl” covers all the elements of functionality that you can employ in creating your own approval process.

Find out more about the Matrix Approval Process for Labor Actuals and how to solve your timesheet approvals challenges at: www.timecontrol.com/use-cases/matrix-approvals.

 

 

 

Read the new White Paper on Integrating TimeControl and Primavera

Oracle_GoldPartner_300x80Oracle-Primavera EPPM administrators know that a Primavera timesheet for task updates is already included when you purchase the EPPM Team Member license. But there are many business scenarios where using a third party timesheet will maximize your Primavera effectiveness.

TimeControl is a multi-function timesheet that is already integrated to both Oracle-Primavera EPPM and Primavera Pro.  It was created to bring timesheet functionality even further.

Imagine one or more of these scenarios:

You need a timesheet but you are using Primavera Pro on the desktop, not EPPM on the server or in the cloud

TimeControl already includes complete integration with both Primavera EPPM and Primavera Pro on the desktop. You can support as many desktop users as you wish and even have a mix of EPPM projects and remotely managed projects on Primavera Professional integrated at the same time.

Your rates are different per client or per project or per task

TimeControl has extensive rate management functionality allowing an individual to have an unlimited number of rate codes. An employee can have different rates for different projects, different rates for different roles on the same project or different rates for different tasks all on the same timesheet. Not only that, but for each of those rate codes you can maintain multiple values so tracking the internal cost, billing value and average project cost can be done all at the same time.

You use Roles rather than individuals in Primavera for Resource Scheduling

TimeControl supports the notion of work at the role level, the generic resource level and the individual.

You are working at a different level than the project tasks

TimeControl allows you to summarize Primavera activities into higher level TimeControl Charge Codes or to summarize TimeControl Charge Codes to Primavera activities. This lets the timesheet function at a different level than the project schedule.

Same timesheet for Primavera and Payroll and HR and Billing and R&D Tax Credits…

This is TimeControl’s key design feature. It is an auditable timesheet that is designed to be multi-purpose.  TimeControl fulfills multiple timesheet requirements from the same timesheet at the same time.  It’s perfect for Finance, HR, Payroll, Billing, and governance as well as integrated with Primavera.

You need to enter timesheets for a whole crew at a time not just individuals

Need to enter a high volume of timesheet data for field personnel who don’t even have access to a computer? TimeControl Industrial is our field data collection version which allows you to enter Crew Timesheets, Material consumption, Equipment usage and even production accomplished and integrate that information with Primavera.

TimeControl 6 / Primavera 6 Solution Portal

We have just published a new White Paper in our free TimeControl / Primavera Resource Portal where you’ll also find webcasts, factsheets, white papers, slide presentations and other information. You will see how integrating TimeControl and Oracle-Primavera allows a single timesheet to be used for multiple purposes.  You can read the new White Paper at: Integrating TimeControl and Primavera. or, go to the Portal at: Primavera.TimeControl.com.

Happy Holidays

We wish you and yours the very best of the holiday season from all of us on the TimeControl team.  During the holidays our hours (all in EST) will be:

Monday, December 24: 9am-12:30pm
Tuesday, December 25: Closed
Wednesday, December 26: Closed
Thursday, December 27: 9am-5pm
Friday, December 28: 9am-5pm

Monday, December 31: 9am-12:30pm
Tuesday, January 1: Closed
Wednesday, January 2: Closed
Thursday, January 3: Regular hours recommence

We’re delighted to receive this letter from HPS

Once again we’re proud to publish a letter from one of our clients.  In this case it is our UK-based friends at Hyde Part Solutions.  We’ve known the HPS for years so when they went looking for a timesheet, we were delighted to work with them.  The letter from Richard Jebb, the HPS Chief Technology Officer explains how the flexibility of TimeControl was a deciding factor. HPS has been growing at a rapid pace the last couple of years and we wish them continued success.  You can read the letter in its entirety at TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/testimonials/hydepark.

Our thanks to Richard and the whole HPS team for their kind letter!

Everything I know about TimeControl, I learned in the Sandbox!

In early 2018, HMS introduced a new service associated to TimeControl Online. Called, the TimeControl Sandbox, it is a parallel service that brings a separate instance of TimeControl Online and features to replicate the exact data from the production instance of TimeControl.  The purpose of the service is to provide TimeControl Online administrators a separate TimeControl for the testing of new features and the creation and testing of new Link definitions, Validation Rules and Accrual processes without affecting the main system.  The TimeControl Sandbox is also an ideal place for training.

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

HMS creates a second instance of your TimeControl Online environment and links this instance to your production instance of TimeControl.  At any time, the Administrator can restore the complete production database into the Sandbox. If you have multiple backups, you can choose which backup to restore.

Some key points

  • You can never restore the Sandbox database into the Production database. This prevents any possibility of damaging the production database.
  • To move configuration changes into the Production system, the Export Packages function exports packages such as Reports, Validation Rules and Filters from the Sandbox and the Import Packages function imports them into the Production system.
  • Scheduling in the Sandbox is turned off. This prevents any unexpected transfers to or from corporate or project management systems.

For more information on the TimeControl Sandbox or to find out pricing, contact HMS at TimeControl.com/contact or email info@hms.ca.

What a difference Mobile Makes

It’s the day before Thanksgiving in the United States. More than 54 million people (yes, million) will travel more than 50 miles for the holiday in the US this year. So we’re going to take a moment to think about how to manage your timesheet responsibilities while you’re mobile.

The free TimeControl Mobile App has been available for over a year now and is one of the most sought-after elements of TimeControl functionality. If your organization has enabled the Mobile App, you can create your timesheet, edit a timesheet that is already in progress, and complete and release a timesheet. If you are a supervisor, you can do your approvals while on the move (in the passenger seat!). You can approve or reject a timesheet and, if need be, attach an email notification. If you are an administrator who had only a few more adjustments to do, you can recall a posted timesheet and apply debit/credit adjustments to it.

And all that from your phone or tablet!

The TimeControl Mobile App is available at no charge from the Apple Store for iOS iPhones and iPads and from Google Play for Android phones and tablets.

For more information on the TimeControl Mobile App, visit Mobile.TimeControl.com.

 

Our President was just featured on the Top Entrepreneur Podcast!

Here’s some news we don’t have every day.  HMS Software’s President, Chris Vandersluis was just featured on Nathan Latka’s Top Entrepreneur Podcast!  Nathan and Chris discussed HMS Software’s history as a premiere publisher of timesheet software and the rise of TimeControl as one of the most popular timesheet systems.  The Top Entrepreneur podcast is hugely popular and has featured some remarkable guests in the past.  We’re very proud to have our own President on the show!

The podcast can be found on iTunes at: http://nathanlatka.com/thetopitunes (it’s episode 1209) or from your desktop on Nathan’s site at: nathanlatka.com/thetop1209.  Take a listen to hear their conversation!