Tag Archives: timesheet systems

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.


Much of TimeControl.com is about you building your solution

Scavenger-Hunt_iStock-185313527_300x200Since we first launched our first website in the mid 1990s we have focused on making knowledge available to others.  This tradition of sharing information continues in TimeControl.com.  The website contains information about our product of course, but it also contains collateral of interest to anyone involved in project management systems, timesheet systems and, in particular multi-function timesheet systems.  There has never been any fee for accessing this collateral.

We always knew people would come to our site with questions about the features of our products, but people don’t fundamentally shop for features.  They shop for a solution to their business challenges.  So we have made our thinking on how to solve business challenges with our products and services easy to access here.

Surfing the TimeControl website at first glance can be overwhelming for the sheer volume of information.  There are webcasts, online training, white papers, factsheets and slide shows but the site content is organized into several logical areas:

TimeControl prospects

For those stopping by because they are interested in buying TimeControl, then the TimeControl Features area and Why TimeControl? areas are the first stops.  They contain information specific about what TimeControl can do, who has bought it in the past, why it was successful and how to subscribe to or buy it now.


For those who are interested in how a multi-function timesheet like TimeControl can be useful, the Solutions area looks at many different possible applications.  There is a section for using TimeControl for Human Resources, using TimeControl for Payroll, using TimeControl for tracking R&D tax credits, using TimeControl to integrate with Primavera or Microsoft Project and much more.  Each solutions area contains different collateral like webcasts, factsheets and screen shots to help answer questions about how to solve a particular business challenge.

Resources Library

We may have referenced some webcasts or white papers in different solutions areas but we have bundled access to all our major collateral in the Resources Library.  Here you’ll find different sections for Webcasts, White Papers, Factsheets, Slide Presentations, Online Training Videos and our Press Releases.  There’s even a section on best practices for using timesheets and deploying TimeControl.

Of course that’s not the end of our materials.  There is also this blog, articles we write for other sites and put into the public domain.  We hope this information is valuable for those who are considering our products and also for those who are just looking to educate themselves in the industry.

You’ll find the TimeControl Solutions area at: TimeControl.com/use-cases.

The TimeControl Resource Library can be found at: TimeControl.com/resources.

De-centralized Project Management and Centralized Timesheets with TimeControl

wp_decentralized_centralized_300x383The most common notion of Enterprise Project Management (EPM) systems means that all users access a single centralized system for all related functions.  This concept became popular in the late 1990s with the rise of ERP systems.  Project Managers have been asked to store their data and adopt the centralized project management system.

Yet there are still millions and millions of individually run project management tools running on desktops or even as services in the cloud but not part of a centralized project management process.

That might be fine for each project manager but when it comes to a process that needs to be centralized like timesheets, we run into a bigger problem.  The result is that one aspect of the enterprise such as Finance insists on a timesheet for payroll for all personnel.  Another department insists on a timesheet for all users for HR to track time off and another department needs a billing timesheet for all users who contribute to billing time.  Each project manager might need to deploy their own timesheet system for their teams.

It can become chaos in a hurry.

We’ve just released a white paper that deals with this exact business challenge.  It’s called “De-centralized Project Management and Centralized Timesheets with TimeControl”.  It’s free to access and it’s available right now as part of our ongoing efforts to show how to realize the benefits of TimeControl. If you are interested in having project managers continue to use multiple systems but need to have one timesheet to bring all the actuals together for different purposes, you’ll find this paper of interest.  The white paper can be downloaded from: https://www.timecontrol.com/pdf/whitepapers/centralized_decentralized.pdf.

For more free resources on enterprise project management and enterprise timesheet systems, go to: TimeControl.com/resources.