Meet the new TimeControl Reporting environment
You know TimeControl as one of the most flexible timesheets on the market today but the release of version 6.5 has put reporting of your labor actuals into a whole new category. TimeControl was released in 1994 and the flexible Excel-like reporting environment (which is still included with TimeControl) was introduced in 1999. Since then, it has delivered thousands of reports in a tabular column and row approach which end users could print or save as Excel spreadsheets. As flexible as that was, there were requests for more. Could we fix the report format to show a company logo? Could we do a graphics report? Could we do a report with multiple lines or long fields that would automatically wrap their text? Could we have calculated fields that did formulas inside the report? The new report interface brings all of this and more. While there are some example reports in the new reporting system, the capabilities of this module of TimeControl are vast.
The new TimeControl Report Interface comes in two parts, a Designer and a Presenter. The Designer is designed to be used by a TimeControl Administrator and brings a rich collection of tools to a Windows PC to design and create report formats. The TimeControl Report Designer is installed using Microsoft’s Click-Once technology. The Presenter requires no installed code on the local terminal. It follows TimeControl’s.Net architecture and will present any report that has been made available to that user. The TimeControl Report Interface follows all the same security structures which are already a part of TimeControl. If a user has access only to certain data, then regardless of which report format is selected, only the data to which they have rights will be displayed. If the user is prohibited from viewing certain fields, then even if those fields are in a report format, they will not display to that user.
That’s the basic structure but what now becomes possible?
The new report environment includes a WYSIWYG report designer that lets you control fonts, insert objects such as pictures, text, calculations, graphics charts, tables, pivot tables and, of course, data from TimeControl. The new functionality is so extensive we’ve needed to create a brand new manual called the TimeControl Report Designer Guide which adds over 230 pages of new report functionality to consume. Graphics charts include pie charts, histograms, curves and more. For the first time, TimeControl can generate its own burn-down charts and spending curves.
Tabular reports are vastly improved as well. TimeControl now gives font control to every element on the report. There can be some data in a small font, and headers somewhat larger. Fonts can be colored for emphasis and conditional formatting can even show some data in one color and other data in another color based on the values displayed. Tabular reports for the first time can display multiple lines per reporting element and control over formatting extends to dates, currency and more.
Calculated fields let us create effects like transposing the words “Active” or InActive” for the Inactive User field which only contains a T/F flag for (true/false). Or, use calculated fields to calculate budget vs. actual or change person-hours to person-days.
The presentation of reports has also seen a light year leap forward. Having the report presenter created in TimeControl’s .Net environment means that for the first time, reports can be delivered using browsers other than Internet Explorer and in non-Windows environments. Reports can be presented on an iPad or other tablet or even your Smartphone.
Once a report has been created, it can be saved not only as an Excel file (yes, don’t worry Finance people, we would never take that out of the product!) but also as a PDF, an HTML or MHT page, an RFT file, bot XLS and XLSX file, a flat CSV or Text file or even an image file.
There is so much more to this new environment that we can’t possible cover in a single communication and to be honest, we know that the best reports that will come from this new system will probably come from the inventiveness of our own clients. You can see the new TimeControl Report Interface in action on the TimeControl.com site in our Online Lessons area or contact HMS to have us show you how these new reporting capabilities extends TimeControl’s reach in the market.