Tag Archives: christopher vandersluis

TimeControl named one of the top 50 most innovative companies to watch!

HMS named one of the Top 50 most innovative companies to watch in 2024 by CEO Views. Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter VandersluisWe are very excited here at HMS.  Our TimeControl division has been named One of the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies to Watch in 2024 by The CEO Views Magazine!  Our work with TimeControl has led CEO Views to categorize HMS as a “Disruptor” in our industry.

Here’s just a short quote from the article: “Solve your real-world business challenges from a single timesheet with powerful built-in integration.”  How could we not like that?

The full CEO Views Magazine will be published shortly and we’ll let you know how to see the whole magazine but the article and analysis of HMS and TimeControl can be seen now on the CEO Views Magazine site.

Is it getting harder to support an on-premise enterprise system?

TimeControl Online, Timesheeet Software as a Service Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter VandersluisOnly a few years ago we wouldn’t have even had this conversation.  Even with Software as a Service becoming more popular over 10 years ago, the conventional wisdom at the time was that significant enterprise systems would always be housed in-house.

That conventional wisdom has changed.

Big IT vendors like Microsoft, Oracle and Amazon have pushed hard for organizations to shift to an online subscription model.  At one time the thinking was that this would be most attractive to small and medium sized businesses but that thinking has evolved too.

Here at HMS, we have had TimeControl on-premise available since 1994.  TimeControl Online, our Software as a subscription Service option came out in 2011.  We continue to support both on-premise and online clients and are committed to do so for the foreseeable future.  There are some clients who have very specific and very important reasons to keep their TimeControl systems in-house on their own data platform.  Often these are government or defense sector clients.

But let’s not think about the exceptions for a moment.  Let’s think about everyone else.

Imagine an organization that has heard the evangelism from Oracle and Microsoft and has decided to move some of its data systems to a subscription model.  Both Oracle and Microsoft are making it more and more awkward to choose and install an on-premise system so the incentive to shift might be high.

The savings to the organization is that they no longer need to have quite as much expertise in the IT department.  After all, at the subscription service center, security, monitoring, upgrades, system performance, database servers, operating system updates, network configuration, security patches and, of course, monitoring, updating the hardware servers themselves is handled as part of the subscription.

Now, with one or more systems successfully migrated, the need to handle these requirements internally evaporates as does the need to have that same level of IT expertise available in house.  Many of the IT personnel can be repurposed and there are the remaining in house systems to support but the numbers start to dwindle.

Who leaves first?

In many cases, there is natural attrition and the company is happy with that.  It’s better overall for morale if people are leaving of their own free will.  Older employees who are at retirement age or who can be given an incentive package to retire early take the plunge.  They are probably still young enough to continue in the IT industry if they wish working in other capacities.  But, those people who are leaving through retirement won’t be replaced or wont’ be replaced in the same numbers.

In some cases, some employees see the future coming and decide to seek other opportunities elsewhere.  In most cases, this will be the most experienced and capable employees.

For these two categories, the impact on the organization cannot be measured by just the number of employees.  A great deal of corporate memory, experience and skill go with these seasoned veterans.

We have had contacts at some of our clients announce to us they were retiring, then announce that they couldn’t leave quite yet.  Then announce they were retiring again.  Then announce that yes, they’d actually retired by had been retained by their old employer as a contractor so we’d be continuing to interact with them.  It’s not a unique story.

For the organization, the ability to continue to support the enterprise systems that remain becomes harder and harder and so it’s perhaps no surprise that in the last 2 years, we have had more on-premise TimeControl clients shift to the TimeControl Online subscription service than ever before.  We’ve made that easier in many respects by having an Evolve Program to help defray the costs of going online but the incentive is clearly coming from within.  And, this shift isn’t restricted to our small and medium clients.  It includes some of our largest clients as well.

We expect this migration to continue.

Our own commitment isn’t likely to change however until there are literally no clients left who wish to purchase or support TimeControl on-premise.  Until then we plan to support our clients both on premise and in the Cloud.

For more information on TimeControl Online, go to: Timecontrol.com/features/timecontrol-online.

To see more about choosing Online vs. On-premises, go to: TimeControl.com/how-to-buy.

To find out more about the Evolve program go to: The TimeControl Evolve Program. or contact one of our TimeControl experts at: Timecontrol.com/contact.

Where does TimeControl stand in the use of AI?

TimeControl.ai, TimeControl, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter Vandersluis HMS started using AI techniques in TimeControl back in 1999.  Surprised?  Artificial Intelligence has been around awhile and you probably wouldn’t have noticed how we leveraged it back in 99.  At that time we created a communications protocol called “HMI” for TimeControl to transmit enormous volumes of TimeControl data through the Internet.  It had the capability of re-routing traffic based on what paths would be fastest.  With the invention of .Net and other Internet-based technologies we evolved from it.

While we are investigating how generative AI could help TimeControl administrators get the best use of TimeControl now, the questions we more commonly receive on the subject are almost all in one area:

“Can you make TimeControl use AI to automatically fill in my timesheet?”

The short answer is yes but don’t get too excited quite yet.  We have the technical capability to have AI determine what the most likely entry for any particular user’s timesheet.  The algorithm would look at the user’s scheduled work, for example, and perhaps past examples of timesheets submitted by that user and then figure out what the most likely entries would be.

The problem is, should we?

An auditor would say, ”Who entered this data?”  “TimeControl did it on its own,” we’d have to answer.  That would a problem for any audit.

“Ah,” you might answer, “but TimeControl could create the draft timesheet and the end user could just approve it.  Think of the time saved?”

That too is technically possible but imagine this scenario: A user is scheduled to work 30 hours this week on “Task A”. They’re scheduled to work 10 hours on “Task B”.  The end of the week comes and the clever AI generator says “Based on the scheduled work, the timesheet should probably look like the schedule”.  The pressure on the employee to just click Ok would be tremendous.  Perhaps they’d even justify it in their head by saying “I’ll make it up next week by doing the reverse.”

You can see the problem.  Algorithmic calculations of what should have happened don’t mix well with the simple recording of “what actually happened”.  So over the years, despite numerous requests, we’ve resisted putting our AI knowledge and our ability to automatically fill in workloads into the timesheet very deliberately.  This is perhaps why TimeControl is supported by both project administrators and Finance administrators at the same time.

We aren’t however, unsympathetic to the desires to reduce the workload in filling in a timesheet and, as a result, there are many features and functions within TimeControl that can reduce the time required to get one’s timesheet complete.  They include:

Preloading where TimeControl will automatically preload your timesheet with the project name and charge code to which the employee was assigned, and which fits into a particular filter of time.

Filtering which can filter out projects and charges the employee isn’t even working on.

Personal Preloads in which the employee defines projects and charges they always want to appear on their timesheet (think “Internal Meetings”) that they don’t want to go looking for.

Validation Rules and testing those rules on the timesheet.  This allows any errors to be caught before they’re even submitted for approval.

Notifications where TimeControl will remind you by email if your timesheet is late or about to be.

Copy where you can just copy a previous week’s timesheet in its entirety if you know you did the same thing this week as you did last week.

TimeControl can also just get you to the timesheet faster by configuring your personal preferences to have the timesheet entry screen automatically appear.

Keeping the structured financial and auditing rules of Finance, the fast-moving progress of project management and the speed at which end users want to move on with tasks they are not focused on is a balance we’ve had to manage since TimeControl was invented some 30 years ago.

Take a look at the Best Practices area of the TimeControl website for more ideas on how to improve efficiency with TimeControl either as an organization or as an individual.