Tag Archives: TimeControl

New TimeControl White Paper on Change Management

Process change in an enterprise can be complex.  The more people who are touched by the changed process, the more likely it is to have people concerned by even the smallest change.  At HMS we encounter this phenomenon on a regular basis.  When you think about TimeControl, for most users it constitutes a tiny part of their work week but the implementation of a timesheet touches every human in the organization and sometimes beyond to those not even in the organization.  So, the potential for resistance to a new enterprise system becomes very real.

Our president, Chris Vandersluis, speaks on this topic often when lecturing or teaching at project management groups.  He has grouped some of his work on the subject into a White Paper entitled, “Managing the Change of Change Management”.  We’ve formatted it into a TimeControl white paper although the subject has relevance to almost any enterprise system deployment.

You can find the white paper on our Resources White Paper directory. or you will a version of it on Mr. Vandersluis’s blog at EPMGuidance.com.  The white paper can be downloaded in PDF format in case you wish to share it.

This is a subject that will likely be added to as time permits so keep an eye on the website for changes.

Join our live Webinar showing TimeControl and BrightWork together

TimeControl is a multi-purpose timesheet designed to integrated with multiple project management systems. When it is integrated with BrightWork, you can create a collaborative project management SharePoint environment where the organization’s timesheets are blended naturally into the project process.

On Wednesday, May 12th at 11am EDT, 8am PDT, 4pm GMT BrightWork and HMS Software will co-host a live webinar showing how to enhance your Project Analysis in SharePoint using BrightWork and TimeControl.

You will discover:

  • How to quickly get started managing projects and portfolios with SharePoint
  • How integrating TimeControl as an enterprise timesheet brings a single point of entry for timesheets into the project environment
  • A live demo of BrightWork and TimeControl working together

Don’t worry if you can’t attend! Sign up anyway and we will send you the recording.

The Webinar is scheduled for July 11th at 4pm GMT, 11am EDT, 8am PDT.

To Register click: Register Here.

Our President, Chris Vandersluis was recently featured on the B2B Podcast!

Our president, Chris Vandersluis was delighted to be interviewed by David Ledge of the popular, Business to Business (B2B) Podcast.  You can hear David and Chris discussing some of the business challenges HMS Software has been able to overcome and how flexibility of the TimeControl product offering has been critical to helping to thrive over 30 years of business.

You can enjoy the podcast in its entirety from:

 

Create Exception Reporting with TimeControl Scheduled Reports

TimeControl’s reporting capabilities has always been a powerful aspect to the system and this continues to improve.  One area of TimeControl reporting that is remarkably powerful is the ability to create scheduled reports.

Just as with all of TimeControl’s automatic scheduled processes, Scheduled Reports allows the process to be set for a regular schedule such as hourly, daily, weekly or really any schedule you choose.  The resulting reports will be send to one or to multiple recipients.  The reports will be generated at the planned time by the TimeControl server in the background and then sent in PDF, Excel, Word or CSV format as you choose.  If the resulting file is too large to send via email, a link to the file will be sent instead and an encrypted copy of the report file will be kept on the server to be viewed when selected.

The use of TimeControl filters allows reports by exception to be created.  The impact of this can be significant.  A report showing only information that exceeds the exception parameters can be sent on the schedule.  If no data exceeds those parameters, then no report gets sent.  This could significantly impact how managers and more senior executives consume TimeControl information.  The full system is always there of course, but the ability of TimeControl to wake up regularly and send a report to an executive that asks for immediate attention is pretty powerful.

The TimeControl report designer is powerful allowing for simple column text reports or a mix of charts and text or just charts.  You can choose from existing report templates and adapt them to your needs or create a report from scratch.

For more information on reporting, consult the TimeControl Reference and the TimeControl Report Designer Guides or contact info@hms.ca if we can be of any further help.

HMS Software makes Latka top 250 SaaS companies

We’re very proud to announce that HMS Software has made the Latka 250 list of fastest growing SaaS companies.  Nathan Latka runs a very popular podcast at Getlatka.com and maintains a massive SaaS database that is updated annually.

Our President, Chris Vandersluis, was featured on a Latka Podcast.  The show has passed 13m downloads and our profile has been viewed over 30,000 times. You can listen to the last podcast on YouTube at: https://youtube.com/watch?v=HA_DL0l0MCs.

Of the 5,091 companies that Nathan Latka surveyed, only the top 250 made the list and our growth of 26% in 2020 was enough to put us onto the list.  We’re delighted to have made it to the list.  Thanks to all our clients and team members for the successful 2020 under trying conditions.

We’re hopeful that we’ll be on the list next year too as we add more clients to our TimeControl Online services and work on releasing updated and new products later in the year.

You can find out more about the rankings at: https://getlatka.com/saas-companies/fastest-growing/revenue/2020 and for HMS Software’s profile visit: https://getlatka.com/companies/hms.

TimeControl client EXFO marks 20 years with TimeControl

We were delighted this week to receive a letter from Andre Richard, the Director of Research and Development at EXFO a worldwide design and manufacturing company specializing in telecommunications.  You may not know EXFO yourself but your phone probably does.  EXFO  works with suppliers like Verizon, AT&T, Vodafone, Orange and many, many more on testing and service assurance systems.

While all letters of praise from clients are extremely exciting to the HMS Staff and TimeControl team, Andre’s letter is particularly heartwarming because of the long standing use of TimeControl at EXFO.  “We have used TimeControl for more than 20 years to capture the efforts of our R&D team,” Andre explains.

TimeControl has been used at EXFO as part of their research and development tax credit applications and has passed the test of audits more than one.

We’re very proud to count Andre and the entire EXFO team among our many clients and look forward to many more years of working together.

You can read Andre’s letter in its entirety at:
TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/testimonials/exfo.

TimeControl Technical Support FAQs

The TimeControl Technical team is often quoted by clients as a key reason for their satisfaction with the TimeControl timesheet system.  One of the ways we deliver on that is by organizing the HMS team so that the same personnel who do development, consulting, and implementation also answer technical support requests.  This makes the quality of responses for technical questions very high.  We thought it would be useful to share some frequently asked questions and answers about the support service.

Question: Who is entitled to TimeControl Technical Support?
Answer: Any client who is a subscriber of TimeControl Online and any client who uses TimeControl on-premise who is either in their first year after purchase or who has paid an annual technical support contract fee.

Question: What is included in TimeControl Technical Support?
Answer: In short, HMS is committed to fix TimeControl if it is not working the way we documented it to work.  But, when calls come in for assistance, they virtually always sound like, “TimeControl isn’t working.  Please fix it.”  Our technical staff triage all incoming calls to sort out urgent issues (for example TimeControl not able to start) from less urgent (for example, I’m not happy with the way a report looks).  Then they start to diagnose the issue.  Often just figuring out if TimeControl is, in fact, broken, they determine the cause of the issue and have resolved it.  Most TimeControl issues are usually data or configuration related a small minority result in a change or fix to TimeControl.

Question: Ok, so what is not included in TimeControl Technical Support?
Answer: Anything that isn’t about fixing TimeControl.  So, with TimeControl on-premise, installations, upgrades, server configuration or upgrades, database configuration or upgrades would not be included. For TimeControl on-premise or TimeControl Online, Training or configuration of TimeControl including making filters, validation rules, reports or anything else that is client-facing are not included.  All of these are services that HMS can provide for a fee.

Question: How quickly are problems responded to?
Answer: HMS is committed to respond to an issue within 4 business hours of receiving it.  That may not mean that the fix or correction is available in 4 hours.  We focus first on any issues that have TimeControl not working at all and then on issues that are less severe.  We are committed however, to initiate the correction process within that 4 hours timeframe.  If you put in a support request first thing in the morning on a workday and haven’t heard back by 1pm that day, you should follow up.

Question: When is TimeControl Technical Support available?
Answer: Technical Support staff are available from Monday to Friday (Excepting Canadian/Quebec holidays) from 9am to 5pm Eastern time (GMT-5) but some of the staff are often working earlier than 9 and working later than 5 so there is never a bad time to send in a request.  If the HMS offices are closed for a holiday, we post that on our Twitter account and that feed is posted to the front page of the TimeControl.com account.

Question: What is the most effective way of contacting TimeControl Technical Support?
Answer: By far the best method is to either fill in a support request at: TimeControl.com/contact/tech-support or send an email to support@hms.ca.  Both of these methods trigger internal triage mechanisms for technical support and have the issue allocated to the most appropriate person to respond.  You can also call the office directly at +1 514-695-8122 but with the staff mostly working remotely, this is the least effective method.

Question: I have the email/phone# of one of the staff who I really liked, can’t I just contact them?
Answer: We would prefer that you do not unless you are already working directly with someone on a particular issue and they have asked you to be in contact with them.  Technical Support staff also rotate into development, design, implementation and consulting roles so sending a message to someone you had a good rapport with is the most likely cause of a delay in response.

Question: Where can I find out more:
Answer: Send us your question at:
https://www.timecontrol.com/contact/tech-support.

HMS Software’s timesheet best-practices portal

Did you know that HMS maintains a portal for timesheet best practices?  It’s true.  The TimeControl website has had a section dedicated to best practices for years and updates it on a regular basis.  In fact, the TimeControl website has a number of resource areas that may be of interest:

TimeControl Best Practices

This is not a list of features of TimeControl but rather how organizations, executives and individuals can get the most out of a timesheet system.  The portal is divided into those categories and each section includes resources that are targeted for that particular perspective.  In the Organization section, for example, there is an empty process guide template in Word that can be adopted to document timesheet practices on a per week, per month or per incident basis.  In the Individual’s section, you’ll find a webcast on how to get in and out of your timesheet as efficiently as possible.

The Best Practices portal is free and can be found at: TimeControl.com/resources/best-practices/organizations.

Use-Case Library

Aside from the Best Practices Portal, HMS also maintains numerous other free resources that can be of interest to those using TimeControl.  These include the Use-Case solutions area with the most common business challenges TimeControl solves.  Users can review the multiple use-cases at: www.timecontrol.com/use-cases

Resources Library

In addition to the many use-cases for TimeControl, additional resources can be found in the Resources section and the Support section including a bank of Frequently Asked Questions, webcasts, white papers, slides and factsheets.

Visit the Best Practices area of the TimeControl website and the Resources area for more information.

 

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.

 

Track Expense Reports, Freeform Notes along with hours in a TimeControl timesheet

We tend to talk a lot about timesheet entries and timesheet hours in TimeControl along with anything associated to them like project and billing values but there are many more options to data entry in the system.

Expense Reports

Associated to any timesheet line item, you can add an unlimited number of expense report items.  Each expense report is linked to a resource code and allow for a value, currency type, two taxes and more.  With each expense item, you can add an unlimited number of attachment files.  These can be something like a scanned receipt in PDF format or almost anything else.  The exact list of acceptable file types is managed by the Administrator.  If you’re using the free TimeControl Mobile App, you could, for example, attach a photograph from the camera or photo library.  This can mean you can easily associate a picture from the field to a given timesheet.

Freeform notes

You can add freeform notes either to the timesheet itself or to each line item.  Because TimeControl supports having the same charge code multiple times, you could even have different notes for each day of a particular task.  If you have optionally turned on the notes icon on the timesheet line, you will see it filled in if there are notes on that line.  Entering these freeform notes is also supported in the free TimeControl Mobile App.

Project Progress

This has been part of TimeControl from the very start.  You can enter the estimate to complete for each task or just mark it complete.  In the activity tab you can also enter the task completion if there are multiple resources on the same task. Entering project progress is also supported in the free TimeControl Mobile App.

Material Consumption, Equipment Usage and Production Accomplished

If you are using TimeControl Industrial, the Material Entry screen allows you to enter several kinds of non-labor entries including the Material Consumed, the Usage of Equipment and even how much production was accomplished.  These entries can be done with a timesheet creating a LEMS (Labor/Equipment/Materials) entry or they can be added in their own entry screen and approved separately.  The free TimeControl Mobile App supports these features as well.

Find out more about Materials entry at: industrial.timecontrol.com/features/material-entry.

You can see a lesson in Expenses in the Online Lessons area:

TimeControl.com/resources/online-training/timecontrol-8.