Tag Archives: TimeControl Online

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 enjoys its 9th anniversary!

With quite a busy August here at HMS we completely forgot an important anniversary.  TimeControl Online, our Timesheet Software as a Service in the cloud was launched in August of 2011.  It became an instant hit and is now used by organizations around the world.  Tens of thousands of users are on the TimeControl Online platform.  Subscriptions of the online service now eclipses on-premise sales and that has only accelerated this year. We’ve been fortunate to enjoy a 99.9% uptime performance over the 9 years of TimeControl Online’s life and we continue to focus new efforts on features, performance and capabilities of the online system.

We’ll make a much bigger celebration for the 10th anniversary next year but for now we thank all our TimeControl Online clients, some of whom have been subscribers since the first release!

For more information on TimeControl Online, visit TimeControl.com/features/timecontrol-online.

TimeControl 7.3 has been released with some big new features!

We’re very excited to release this latest update to TimeControl. TimeControl 7.3 comes with some significant new features and many enhancements. This version is available in TimeControl, TimeControl Industrial and shortly in TimeControl Online.

Here’s some of what to expect:

Do your expenses in the free TimeControl Mobile App

The TimeControl Mobile App is a free App designed to work on both Android and iOS (Apple) devices. This version of the TimeControl Mobile App allows you to add expense items to any line in your timesheet. Each timesheet line item allows you to add an unlimited number of expense items and each item is associated to both the charge item and a non-labor resource type. You can also attach multiple receipts as photos or files to each expense item. The TimeControl Mobile App is available at no cost on the Apple Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android devices.

Use your camera to add attachments to timesheets or expenses

The TimeControl Mobile App now lets you attach multiple items to your timesheet. TimeControl lets you use your device to select photos, videos, to take a picture from your camera or even access files that are available to your device on Google Docs, Dropbox, iCloud or OneDrive.

Schedule reports to be created automatically and sent via

TimeControl reports can now be delivered by email on a schedule. Choose from sending an email on a schedule of your choice with a PDF attachment or just sending a direct link to an encrypted server-stored file.

And much, much more…

There is so much more. We’ve made huge improvements in filtering, added new auditing functionality and reporting for time-off banks, added single-sign-on support to the mobile app, added new dashboards and reports, added budget controls for the Charge and Project tables, enhanced the link to Microsoft Project Online and enhanced performance.

If you are a TimeControl Online subscriber, your systems will be updated over the next couple of weeks.  If you are using TimeControl on-premise and have a current support contract, you can access this latest update at: TimeControl.com/support/updates.

For more information on TimeControl 7.3, go to TimeControl.com/features/latest.

TimeControl Online is 6 years old and better than ever!

TimeControl Online is TimeControl’s Software as a Service subscription offering which launched in 2011.  At six years of age, it’s looking better than ever.

“HMS is committed to offering TimeControl both as a purchase for installation on-premise and as a subscription service in the Cloud,” explains HMS Software president Chris Vandersluis.

The online TimeControl service provides all the functionality loved by the on-premise version.  The code that is deployed for both situations is identical.

When subscribing to TimeControl Online, clients avoid having to purchase or configure hardware, networking, databases or worry about security, monitoring or anything other than simply using the timesheet.  HMS Software’s technical team handles the rest.

TimeControl Online started in 2011 as version 6.2.  It has gone through continuous updates and upgrades and is now in version 7.

For those who are using TimeControl on premise and are interested in switching to TimeControl Online, they can speak to their TimeControl representative at info@hms.ca and ask about a transfer credit towards their first year’s subscription.

For those who are considering TimeControl and aren’t sure whether to purchase for an on-premise deployment or subscribe online, our President, Chris Vandersluis has recently released a series of mini-webinars on the subject.  You can find them on his blog EPMGuidance.com.

For more information on TimeControl Online, visit timecontrol.net.

Pontoon case study showcases TimeControl Online

HMS has published a case study written in collaboration with its clipontoon.jpgent Pontoon.  Pontoon is a global HR outsourcer managing resources in nearly 100 countries.  In 2012, Pontoon selected TimeControl Online as its method of tracking project time and payroll time.

The case study demonstrates how Pontoon has leveraged the flexibility of TimeControl Online to accomodate Pontoon’s variable workforce.

“Our time tracking needs vary,” explains Stephen Nosek, Director of Global Corporate Systems at Pontoon.

HMS is delighed to have worked with Pontoon on creating the case study and in how satisfied they are with TimeControl Online.  You can read the case study in its entirety at: www.timecontrol.com/why-timecontrol/case-studies/pontoon.

To see the case studies and testimonials from some of our other clients, please visit: www.timecontrol.com/why-timecontrol.

TimeControl Online Security Architecture white paper updated to version 7

tconlinesecurity_wpcover300x387Now that TimeControl Online has migrated up to version 7, we have rewritten our TimeControl Online Security Architecture white paper which is now available on the TimeControl.com website.  The paper responds only to the security of the TimeControl Online in-the-cloud subscription service.

Like the TimeControl On-Premise Security Architecture white paper, there were many changes.

The focus of the paper is to give prospective and existing TimeControl Online subscribers the information they require to be safe in their use of TimeControl Online and covers:

  • Physical security
  • Authentication
  • Functional security
  • Testing criteria
  • Other architectural security elements

Obviously we don’t share all aspects of the security structure as to do so would compromise the very security we’re trying to implement.

You can read the TimeControl Online Security Architecture white paper now at TimeControl.com.  For those more interested in the security architecture of TimeControl for an on-premise installation, we recommend looking at the TimeControl On-Premise Security Architecture white paper.

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:

Multi-line edit timesheettimesheet.jpg

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.

Gantt ViewsMyAccount_Gantt2.jpg

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.

 

Scheduled Imports and Exports

TC610_import_250x221TimeControl was designed from its very first version in 1994 to be able to integrate with other applications.  We knew from the first timesheet we’d ever created 10 years earlier that timesheet data would be sought after by external systems for departments such as HR and Payroll as well as the project management needs we were already familiar with.  So these features have had continual improvement as TimeControl has evolved.  Did you know that as of version 6.10 of TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial you can now automatically schedule an import or an export of data for external systems?  Most ERP administrators far prefer the idea of scheduling an import of a transaction file from timesheets using the tools and controls already present in their finance system.  Prior to version 6.10, TimeControl administrators had to create these files on demand.  Now, however, you can schedule the creation of such files.  The new Schedule Export allows you not only to pick a time, format and definition of the file.  You can also choose the filter and even the naming convention.  The new Schedule Import allows you to not only import a file that has been dropped in place by an external system but also how to dispose of the file afterwards.  For example, you can move the file into a directory used for processed files.

You can see what else is new with version 6.10 at www.timecontrol.com/features/latest.

FAQ: Can we start with the Online version of TimeControl but switch to our own internal TimeControl when we get bigger?

online_or_onprem_300x144You certainly can, but you can do a lot more than that. We’ve designed TimeControl Online, our Timesheet as a Service (TaaS) to support the identical code-base as TimeControl on premises. This means that if you are using TimeControl Online as a service and you install the standard TimeControl locally (with the appropriate number of licenses of course) then you can download you backup from TimeControl Online and instantly have your system active on premises. You’ll need to use the same database of course, which is MySQL but technically the movement from Online to on premises is stunningly simple. We’ve made moving between the two environments commercially easy too. You can get a credit from your remaining subscription towards purchase of TimeControl licenses. As easy as it is to move from TimeControl Online to TimeControl on premises, the reverse is also true. You can move from TimeControl on premises to TimeControl Online and we’ll give you credit from what you purchased towards your first year’s subscription.  You can find out more about the choice of TimeControl Online vs. TimeControl OnPremises in the How to Buy TimeControl area of the website.

Talk to one of the TimeControl account specialists about how this can work for you .

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.