Tag Archives: SaaS

Integrating corporate systems in a mixed IT Environment

Many clients ask us how TimeControl can adapt to their changing IT environments.  It wasn’t so long ago that every mid to large-sized firm would have its corporate systems located on servers on-premise, inside their facility with databases, applications and networking all handled internally.  Advances in the stability, performance and security of Infrastructure in the cloud services from major vendors like Amazon, Oracle and Microsoft have shifted the computing load of many organizations to cloud providers.

One of the key advantages of having all your corporate systems on-premise is that integration between them can happen in the background at a database level.  Even if the ties between tools are done as an import/export of transaction files, having everything on the same servers makes that a little bit easier.

With the move of systems to the cloud, internal IT personnel are confronted with the question of, “How will our systems integrate?”  The most common environment is one where there are still some organizational systems working internally on premise, some systems which are subscribed to as a service and some systems which are hosted on external cloud servers in what is commonly known as a “private cloud”.  We think of these mixed environments as “hybrid”.  And, if that’s not enough, corporate environments are changing at a faster and faster pace.  The impact of the pandemic has had many IT departments reaching out to see how they can leverage cloud computing to better server their workers who are no longer co-located.

At HMS we are asked how to support these kinds of shifting environments all the time.  The short answer to the question, “Can we integrate our hybrid systems with TimeControl is, “Yes”.  But given that’s not too useful, here are some basic points to understand about why we say so:

Both on-premise and in-the-cloud

TimeControl started as a on-premise solution back in 1994.  There were no cloud computing offerings then.  In 2011, we released the TimeControl Online subscription service in the cloud.  That service has continued and expanded since that time.  To this day, TimeControl is still offered for on-premise and in-the-cloud use and our understanding of both environments makes us particularly well suited to help integration in a mixed hybrid environment.

One Code-base

One decision we made early on was that we would maintain a single code base for both TimeControl Online and TimeControl on-premise.  This would ensure that any features or improvements we made for one environment would work for the other.  That kept a sharp focus on being able to support not just TimeControl but anything linked to it no matter what environment it was in.

Many ways to integrate

As part of creating the TimeControl Online service, we had to look at how we would continue to empower the integration abilities of TimeControl.  One method we’d used sometimes in the past to integrate two systems was database-to-database.  That was clearly not going to be available in the online service.  So we worked on expanding one existing method and adding another.

Scheduled Imports and Exports

We extended existing functionality in TimeControl for importing and exporting transaction files in several ways.

First, we made the imports and exports scheduleable so they could happen automatically in the background.  With corporate systems like ERP environments, there was an overwhelming desire to not push data programmatically into the Finance system but rather to deliver a properly formatted set of data to be imported by the ERP tools.  That left CFOs more confident that their ERP tool had validated the data with whatever rules had been established for the organization.

Second, we made it possible for imports and exports of those transaction files to support FTP connections, so the resulting files didn’t have to be on a network server that TimeControl had access to but could rather work through encrypted FTP protocols to move data to and from servers that were under the control of the client whether they were on-premise or private cloud.

Application Programming Interface (API)

The ultimate tool in integrating seamlessly in the background of TimeControl is our RESTful API.  This bi-directional programming interface allows data to be pulled from TimeControl for use by other tools and allows data to be pushed from corporate systems like HR, Payroll, Finance, Cost control to populate the data that TimeControl needs for users to function.  The API is extensive and can interface with other tools whether they are database-based or API’s themselves or middleware environments that are used to tie multiple systems together.

If you’d like to find out more about TimeControl’s flexible architecture and support for your own IT environment, visit: TimeControl.com/features/flexibility or contact HMS to talk to a product specialist at info@hms.ca.

 

TimeControl Online makes the move to version 7!

Following the announcement in August that we had released TimeControl 7 for on-premise installations, we are thrilled to tell you that TimeControl Online has now been migrated to the version 7 architecture!

TimeControl Online is HMS Software’s Timesheet-as-a-Service in-the-cloud subscription service and includes everything that you’ve come to love about TimeControl.

Everything we’ve been talking about in the new version 7 architecture is here in TimeControl Online 7 as the code-base is the same for both on-premise installations and the online service.  So TimeControl Online users are now starting to enjoy the many new and enhanced features of TimeControl 7 including:

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The TimeControl 7 timesheet has been completely rewritten to allow all cells in the timesheet to be edited simultaneously. For those with timesheets that have a large number of pre-loaded tasks, this will be a welcome change.

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TimeControl 7 now allows you to view projects, tasks or assignments in graphical Gantt charge views. The view is highly configurable and is accessed from either the Reporting tab or the MyAssignments tab of each user’s Options page.

Calendar Views

TimeControl 7 introduces a brand new view into assignments with a calendar view. The view can include assignments and/or calendar_viewTimeRequests™ and can be accessed from either the reporting view or from right inside the TimeRequest Approval screen.

 

There’s lots and lots more!

There are more than 40 more exciting new and improved features in TimeControl 7 that we haven’t even listed here.

But, those using TimeControl Online didn’t have do the upgrade or worry about being on the latest version because that’s all part of the service when you subscribe to TimeControl Online.

For a more complete list, see the Latest in TimeControl page on the website.

 

MCAP’s IT department is using TimeControl Online for cost tracking

As anyone who uses TimeControl knows, we’re highly committed to our client’s satisfaction so you can probably imagine how excited we get here in the office when one of our clients shares mcap_150x150how  TimeControl is making a difference in their organization.  We’ve just published a case study done by our clients MCAP who deployed TimeControl Online in 2011.  MCAP is a large independent financing company based in Canada. MCAP was considering upgrading a large internal project and portfolio system but instead made a strategic decision to implement TimeControl due to its flexibility.

Previous systems seemed inappropriately sized for MCAP’s needs but TimeControl was able to focus attention on the aspect of project controls that MCAP needed most.  With multiple projects, multiple locations, multiple project managers, a flexible time tracking tool that could adapt as MCAP evolved was a must.

MCAP elected to subscribed to the TimeControlOnline service in the cloud rather than install TimeControl internally which allowed MCAP’s IT department to avoid making their own chargeback timesheet another internal system they’d need to manage.

You can read the story that came from the interview of Barbara McDonald, MCAP’s Senior Director of IT in the MCAP case study at: www.timecontrol.com/why-timecontrol/case-studies/mcap.

To see other case studies on how organizations are becoming more effective by implementing TimeControl, go to www.timecontrol.com/why-timecontrol/case-studies.