Category Archives: timecontrol

TimeControl authentication can be through Azure 365 Active Directory

Aside from its own internal authentication mechanisms, TimeControl and TimeControl Online support single sing-on from numerous LDAP (lightweight directory authentication protocols) and have supported Active Directory authentication for some time.

But not everyone knows that TimeControl also supports Microsoft’s Azure 365 Active Directory online service.  For many organizations that have embraced Office 365 and Microsoft 365, authentication through Azure 365 Active Directory is already a part of their structure.  For TimeControl, this means that all corporate users can simply use the same authentication process as they do for all their Microsoft Online services.

And that’s not all.  TimeControl does not force an organization to only use one authentication method.  Some of our clients have their internal staff using single sign-on through their corporate service such as Azure 365 Active Directory but also add users who are from outside the company such as temporary contractors to use TimeControl’s internal password authentication.  This means not having to onboard every contractor into the corporate system as though they were an employee.

It’s really the best of both worlds.  For more about authentication methods and TimeControl’s flexibility, talk to HMS at TimeControl.com/contact or email us at info@hms.ca.

Canada Day and Independence Day

From all of us here in Canada, we wish our staff, their families, our clients and colleagues a very happy July 1st Canada Day!  The HMS Offices will be closed today (July 3rd) in celebration.

For our American neighbors to the south, we wish them a very happy July 4th Independence Day tomorrow.  HMS Offices will be open tomorrow.

For everyone, wherever you are, we ask that you be safe during this busy time of travel and holidays.

It’s an all-new Dashboard in TimeControl 8.4

We’ve had dashboard views in TimeControl almost since its inception 29 years ago.  This last release of TimeControl offers a whole new look and feel to dashboards and a slew of new views.

TimeControl 8.4 included a complete dashboard rewrite.  Now, instead of 4 fixed panels, TimeControl offers moveable panels that can be drag and dropped.  There can be more panels than fit on the page so the page can become longer with more in it.  Aside from the already voluminous list of widgets to insert into those panels, we’ve also added a Notifications widget, Task assignments from TimeControl Project, a Task Project widget to show how tasks are being completed and an all-new GANTT widget.  There is a new Custom HTML widget to put, well, almost anything in.  That’s different from the existing Custom URL widget that would let you point to an external source and so much more.

Some widgets can be used multiple times on the same page.  A Barchart widget could show certain data in one panel but then be used again to show other data in another panel.  Same goes for the histogram view, the Pie Chart view and more.  The Chart widget includes options for Area, Bar, Line, Pie, Stacked Area, Stacked Bar and Stacked Line views.  That’s a big change from what was already there.  For each chart widget in a panel, you can use it for a Count, a Summary or an Average view.

Like all dashboards, they should come with a disclaimer.  If you feed the dashboard data that is untimely or mashed together from current and old projects, the view may not show what is expected.  We ask people to explain what decisions or actions they expect users to make when they see the dashboard view.  Announcements are self-explanatory.  They tell you to be advised about something or to do something.  Notification views or warning views with traffic light type red-yellow-green indicators could be telling people to take action and if so, there should be a broad consensus of what action should be taken for any particular indicator.

Just as was always the case, Dashboards can be specific to one group or shared among all.  That’s all up to you and is managed in the Dashboard security and in TimeControl’s security module.

It’s been 28 years since HMS joined the Microsoft Partner ecosystem. 

Back in 1995, It wasn’t even called the Microsoft Partner Network then.  That name would come a few years later.  In the here and now, HMS and Microsoft have announced that HMS will once again be part of the Microsoft Partner Network.

Our relationship as a Microsoft Solutions Partner started in 1995 as we sought to formalize our integration between TimeControl and Microsoft Project.  The relationship continues to be just as strong and continues to evolve even now, 28 years later.  This is one of the oldest technical alliances in the software industry.

“In 1995 it seemed like such a simple conversation,” explained our president, Chris Vandersluis.  “We would move data in and out of Microsoft Project and Microsoft could point to TimeControl if ever a prospective client asked where to find the timesheet.  Over the years we have adapted our relationship to keep up with so much more than one product link.

TimeControl can be tied to Microsoft 365, SQL Server, Azure 365 Active Directory, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics, and of course, Microsoft Project, Project Online, Project Server and Project for the Web.  The ongoing relationships with Microsoft is at both a technical and business level at many points across the organization and as each new release or evolution of a Microsoft product becomes available, the TimeControl team adapts to it.

Microsoft technology is used to deliver TimeControl Online, HMS Software’s in-the-cloud subscription timesheet service and TimeControl on-premise.  Other technologies used can vary from client to client. Windows Server is the platform for the server and some clients will combine that with Microsoft Project, Microsoft 365, SharePoint, Teams, Dynamics or SQL Server.

Using HMS Software’s TimeControl with Microsoft technologies either on premise or in the cloud allows clients to enhance their business processes to comply with numerous timesheet requirements such as simultaneous project tracking, billing, HR management, payroll, job costing and auditable governance such as R&D tax credits, DCAA or Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.

HMS has created a resources portal to help identify which Microsoft technologies can be advantageous when using TimeControl.  The portal includes numerous resources including white papers, webcasts, PowerPoint presentations and more.  The TimeControl Microsoft Technology Portal can be found at: Microsoft.TimeControl.com.

Migrating a Legacy Report into the Drill Down Analyzer

Clients who have used earlier versions of TimeControl and who created reports in the Legacy report writer in Formula1 spreadsheet format, may be interested in how to migrate these reports into TimeControl’s Drill Down Analyzer.

For those who were working with Legacy reports in the past and have now upgraded to TimeControl 8.4 either online or on-premise, this is the only way to get access to those reports.  For those who are considering upgrading to TimeControl 8.4 or higher in the future, this is something to look at in preparation for the move up.

The legacy Formula1 report generator showed reports in a spreadsheet like format.  The Drill Down Analyzer does this also.  This information is also in the TimeControl Reference Guide in the Drill Down Analyzer section.

Migrating a Legacy Report

First, locate one of these reports in the Report Table.

When a legacy report is selected, at the top of the screen, the Copy function will have an arrow appear on it that indicates there are other options besides just copying the report.

Hover your mouse over the Copy function and an option to Convert the report will appear.  Clicking on this will have the report be copied in DRILL format.

The report is now available in the Drill Down Analyzer as a View.  Going to the Drill Down Analyzer, selecting this View and Loading the data will make the legacy report definition’s data re-appear.

Now all the features of the Drill Down Analyzer are available for this View.  You can group data by just grabbing a column header to the summarize area above it, you can filter the data as you load it.  You can even export this view directly to Excel or elsewhere using the Export feature.  The original report definition is not deleted automatically in case you wish to copy the report more than once for other purposes.  In versions 8.4 and later of TimeControl however, the legacy report viewer is no longer included.

Project Integrations

Many products have a promise of links to other systems.  What they usually mean is either a simple import or export of a flat text or Excel file or, more likely, tools so you can create the link yourself.

TimeControl is not like that.

Embedded in every copy of TimeControl are pre-configured integrations with a remarkable number of project management and cost management tools.  These integrations include the ability to summarize data, link with the project tool at multiple levels and choose what you’d like to update.

TimeControl has the ability to look at each activity in the project management system and decide if it needs to be marked as started or completed or to evaluate the progress to date and properly apply the progress from the timesheet system.  Our experience with advanced project management systems dates back to 1984.  We often have to coach end-users in how project actuals are applied and dealt with by their project system.   Over the years we have continued to expand that experience and TimeControl’s capabilities as new versions of project management tools or new systems are released.

The Project Links in TimeControl have been created in partnership with the project management software vendors.  These tools include Microsoft Project, Project Online, Project for the Web, Project Server and all the iterations of Microsoft Project since 1995.  It includes Primavera EPPM and Primavera P6 Pro, Deltek’s Open Plan and Cobra, InEight Estimate (HardDollar), Contruent, Brightwork, Jira and our own TimeControl Project.  Not only all of that (and that’s a lot) but we can also simultaneously link to multiple products and even multiple versions of the same product at the same time from the same TimeControl.  That’s just not offered anywhere else.  TimeControl also includes links directly with SharePoint and Excel.

Oh, and we also include a complete bi-directional API and import/export tools that can work on demand or on a schedule for you to create links we’ve yet to think of.

Thinking of how your timesheet can link with your other corporate systems, go to our Project Tracking page and look at the various solutions.

Oracle names HMS as a certified partner for the 26th time

Oracle and HMS Software have extend their technical alliance for a 26th consecutive year.

The relationship between HMS and Oracle is remarkable for the technology industry.  Firstly, it’s remarkable to have any technology company be around for 26 years then to have created such a lasting relationship is yet more amazing.  The link between Oracle started back in 1997 when we were creating the first version of TimeControl to be based on a relational database.  That same year we began a relationship with Primavera.  Primavera would be purchased by Oracle in 2008 making the many ties HMS had with each company now housed under the same roof.

This long lasting alliance between our company and Oracle has served us both but the real impact is what we’ve been able to deliver to our mutual customers.

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:

  • The multi-functionality and auditability of TimeControl that allows it be used for project management, HR, payroll, invoicing, job costing and government compliance all at the same time
  • Support for multiple rates per employee
  • Automated business rule validations
  • Automated workflow
  • Vacation management
  • 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

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.

 

TimeControl Project Trial, back by popular demand!

TimeControl Online clients got an opportunity to preview TimeControl Project last year at no cost.  The trial period was very successful but a number of clients were unable to take full advantage of the preview because of other priorities.  We received numerous requests asking if another trial would ever be scheduled.

We are excited to announce that we will be starting a brand new TimeControl Project 90 day free trial starting with the upgrade of TimeControl Online and TimeControl Industrial Online 8.4.  Clients who have already subscribed to TimeControl Project will receive a 90 day extension on their TimeControl Project subscription.

TimeControl Project is a remarkable edition of TimeControl Online and TimeControl Industrial Online which brings multiple level project management tools to TimeControl.  Where TimeControl has become known for its power and flexibility in tracking and controlling project actuals, TimeControl Project carries that to project planning and management.

TimeControl Project provides project tools at the Strategic, Operational and Tactical levels.  These tools can be integrated with different levels where needed or work independently if that would be best.  Tools like a spreadsheet for budget vs. actual might be best at the Strategic Level.  A resource capacity barchart might be more effective at an operational level.  And, a Kanban Agile board might be more useful at the tactical level.

Like all of TimeControl, flexibility is the cornerstone of TimeControl Project so adapting the tools to your particular way of business is something we expect.

You can find out more about TimeControl Project at: TimeControlProject.com or contact us at TimeControl.com/contact.

All new hierarchy feature in TimeControl 8.4

Hierarchies

TimeControl 8.4 has some great new features in it but one of our favorites is the Hierarchy function.  TimeControl has always been able to organize and structure data hierarchically.  We see this done often in charge codes for example.  Also, the organization approval process in TimeControl is, by its nature hierarchical.  There are options in security to say “Allow the user to see their own data and the data of everyone who reports through them”.  But there are other hierarchical needs that arise too.

Let’s say that we want to create security to restrict the data that is visible to this department and all departments, sub-departments and other sub-departments below them.  That becomes a bigger challenge.

And that’s what the new Hierarchy function is for.

The new Hierarchy Table let’s you create many hierarchy structures.  Let’s say you make one for location to show countries, states, counties and cities.  Easily done.  Then you want another hierarchy that is based on accounting General Ledger Codes. even though some of those codes don’t “roll-up” numerically.  Easy to define in the Hierarchy Table.  Perhaps you have departments and more departments and more and you want to do security, reporting or exporting based on that hierarchical view.  Once you’ve defined a hierarchy you can associate it inside a table such as the Employee Table or the Charge Table or the Project Table using a new user-defined field type called, you guessed it, hierarchy.  You can then see that table with all data listed that way in hierarchical structure then, if you wish, flip that view to a different hierarchy on the fly.

The power and flexibility of this feature is remarkable and we see it becoming a common element of reporting, security, exporting and more.  Hierarchies are described in the TimeControl 8.4 Reference Guide.

Just one of the great new features in TimeControl 8.4

TimeControl 8.4 is here!

We are very excited to announce that TimeControl 8.4 has now been released. This is a big new version of TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial on-premise, TimeControl Online and  TimeControl Industrial Online in the Cloud and TimeControl Project.

There is lots to celebrate in this upgrade of TimeControl including:

All new Dashboards

We’ve done a complete rewrite of the Dashboard Editor and display mechanisms.  The editor now supports drag and drop of dashboard widgets, and dashboards that extend longer than the existing screen size. There are new dashboard widgets and improvements on the existing widgets too.

Support for Azure 365 Active Directory SSO

TimeControl has had support for SAML for some time and we’ve now extended this to include support for Azure’s very specific requirements for Active Directory in the cloud.  You’ll even find a tutorial guide on how to make this configuration work for you.

New Link RESTful API link Oracle-Primavera

TimeControl has had a link with Primavera since 1997.  With each evolution of Oracle-Primavera we have extended how TimeControl and Primavera integrate to take advantage of any new features from either product.  Primavera has evolved its original Web Services link from SOAP protocol into a RESTful API architecture.  TimeControl 8.4 supports both these services Web Services and will continue to support other link technologies we’ve already published for earlier versions of Primavera.

Mobile Version updates

The free TimeControl Mobile App has gone through an almost complete rewrite.  The underlying architecture of both the iOS version and the Android version has been brought up to the latest abilities from both including Dark Mode.  You’ll also find new functionality in TimeControl Industrial to support Equipment / Machines.

And so, so much more.

TimeControl 8.4 is available right now for existing TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial on-premise clients with a current support agreement at timecontrol.com/support/updates.  The free TimeControl Mobile App will be released on the Apple Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android devices in the next two days.  Subscribers to TimeControl Online and TimeControl Industrial Online will be informed directly on the application about the schedule of their automatic upgrade which is expected in the next couple of weeks.

For more information on TimeControl 8.4, visit www.timecontrol.com/features/latest.