Tag Archives: timesheet

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.

 

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.   

 

TimeControl maintains a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Index

Saving answers to our Frequently asked Questions save our technical and sales people a lot of time.  When we get questions over and over we try to have an answer appear either on the TimeControl Blog, the Solutions Area of TimeControl.com or in Frequently asked questions.  The best plan is often just to do a search of your question on both the blog and the website.

This week a frequently asked question was answered about where notes can be added in TimeControl.

You can, of course, add notes in TimeControl and not only can you add notes to the timesheet, you can add them to each line of the timesheet and to each expense item and to tables throughout the application.

You can see the complete index of TimeControl FAQs at: TimeControl.com/support/faq.

Thinking of migrating from TimeControl on-premise to TimeControl Online in the Cloud?

Since its first release in 2011, our TimeControl subscription service in the Cloud, TimeControl Online has been accompanied by a process for existing TimeControl on-premise clients to migrate to the online service.LIA_1_300x192

TimeControl is available both as a purchasable license for installation on your premises or as a subscription service.  The product is identical in both scenarios and, in fact, comes from the same code-base so any fixes or enhancements done by the HMS Software development team become available to both products right away.

The TimeControl Crossover Program provides a credit to an existing TimeControl on-premise client when they want to migrate to the in-the-cloud version.  The credit is based on the number of licenses, the original purchase price of TimeControl and the date when you last renewed your TimeControl Support contract.  In many cases, the credit is substantial and is applied to your first year’s subscription costs of TimeControl Online.

Once you are using TimeControl Online, HMS takes responsibility for maintaining the environment.  We manage the servers, the databases, backups, the web server, automatic upgrades to the latest TimeControl version, malware management and 24×7 monitoring of the environment.   All you have to do is login and continue using TimeControl.  All your familiar data is ready and you will be able to continue to enjoy your integrations with Project Management tools and your Finance systems.

The process for migrating to TimeControl Online is well established by our technical staff.  First, you need to be upgraded to the latest version of TimeControl.  This can be done on your own or you can have HMS assist you with the upgrade.  Once the data is on the same version as TimeControl Online, HMS takes a backup of your data and translates it into the data format used by TimeControl Online.  Then that data is uploaded by HMS to your TimeControl Online environment and all you have to do is log in.

All your data, reports, filters, validation rules, dashboards, login information is all transferred and is immediately available to you online.  TimeControl Online is already set up to use the free TimeControl Mobile App so if you’ve been waiting to set that up, you are ready to go there too!

One option is to have HMS do the upgrade and data transfer simultaneously as that can be done quite quickly.

If you have made more extensive integrations directly to your TimeControl on premise database or you have made other customizations for things like authentication, then you can speak to the TimeControl technical staff to see how this functionality can be replicated in the TimeControl Online environment.

If you are interested in taking advantage of the TimeControl Crossover Program or in finding out the advantages of using TimeControl Online, please contact us at: https://www.timecontrol.com/contact or by email at info@hms.ca.

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

I’ll be on the Peggy Smedley Show later today

I’m delighted to have the chance to talk to Peggy Smedley later today on her radio show.  The Peggy Smedley Show has been a source of expertise in the world of digital transformation.  At 1:40pm Eastern Time, Peggy and I will be discussing the impact of voice-assisted systems on construction and industrial software such as the recent announcement we made of our partnership with EasyVoice and how being able to enter information into TimeControl by voice alone can make a big impact on efficiency.  You can find out more about the TimeControl/EasyVoice link at: TimeControl.com/use-cases/easyvoice.

You can listen to the broadcast yourself by going to the Peggy Smedley Show website at: https://peggysmedleyshow.com/.

 

Aegion Corp and HMS collaborate on a case study

We’re always delighted when clients let us know how TimeControl has made a difference.  This month, we are able to share with you a case study of Aegion Corp. who has been a TimeControl Industrial client since 2014.   HMS and Aegion collaborated on this  case study for several weeks.  It shows the results of interviews with several Aegion clients including the CIO, Thys Lourens.  Aegion is a Missouri based pipeline services company.

Aegion selected TimeControl Industrial for its ability to enable field data collection and reports in this case study that by using TimeControl they have been able to improve overall productivity.

You can read the Press Release on this study or go directly to the Aegion Case Study to find out more about how TimeControl has helped Aegion improve their effectiveness.  Here at HMS we’re proud to count them among our many clients.

Case Study: TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/case-studies/aegion

 

TimeControl / PRISM Integration now available

A few weeks ago, we announced a strategic alliance with ARES PRISM who are the publishers of enterprise project control ares_prism_200x90.jpgsoftware. We’re delighted to tell you that the integration of the ARES PRISM and TimeControl is now available.  A design team made up of both HMS and PRISM staff created the link which is available from ARES PRISM as a plug-in for their G2 system.

Now our joint clients can integrate the power of TimeControl’s multi-purpose timesheet and field data collection system matched with enterprise level forecasting and analysis.

We have created a solution page for the PRISM/TimeControl link at: TimeControl.com/use-cases/prism where you’ll find screen shots, factsheets and more.  Contact your HMS or PRISM representative for more information.

TimeControl 7.4.1 is now available!

We’re delighted to tell you that TimeControl 7.4.1 is now available for download.  This version updates TimeControl, TimeControl Industrial, TimeControl Online and the free TimeControl Mobile App.  TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial clients with a current support and maintenance agreement can download the new version immediately at TimeControl.com/support/updates.  HMS is preparing for the upgrade of TimeControl Online which will happen automatically in the next 2-3 weeks.  TimeControl Online customers will be notified a week in advance of the update.

There are many new features to be excited about.  Here are some of the highlights:

Charge Hierarchy

TimeControl now supports multiple methods of displaying a hierarchy of charge codes.  TimeControl has long been recognized for supporting hierarchical charge structures but the new functionality takes this to a new level.  Field hierarchy permits hierarchy to be built from multiple user defined fields in the Charge Table and you can create multiple breakdowns then switch them on the fly when you’re searching for charge codes in the timesheet!

Numerous new API methods

We have made extensive additions to the TimeControl API making it even easier to integrate TimeControl as part of an overall corporate environment.

Mobile Debit/Credit Adjustments

The TimeControl Mobile App now allows Debit/Credit update Adjustments.  This allows supervisors and administrators to open a Posted timesheet and apply adjustments to that timesheet and release those adjustments to Posting.

Mobile Posted Expenses and Attachments

The TimeControl Mobile App now includes the ability to view the expenses that are attached to a posted timesheet in the past as well as any attachments that might have been associated to the timesheet or expenses.

Assignments

We have made major changes to the Assignments Table.  Assignments can now be made as part of a person’s full time availability so one person could be put on two tasks simultaneously at 50% of their availability each.  You can also now have the assignment start and finish be dates other than the charge start and stop so assignments that were meant to occur only during part of the charge can be defined that way.

Administrator configuration enhancements

We have taken numerous elements of the TimeControl configuration and moved them from the TimeControl.INI file into the Administrator System Preferences and User Profiles functions.  This will make a huge difference for TimeControl Online environments where some of these features had to be managed at the server level.

New User Profile Features

There are numerous new settings in User Profiles that allows TimeControl’s configuration to be tailored to the person or group with that User Profile setting.  These changes include all-new Super-User reject and Modify rights .  You can also change how the Timesheet List appears, allowing only a certain number of weeks in the past or future to display.  A new Highlight feature helps when adding a timesheet by highlighting the current week or the last missing week for a new timesheet.

Control Period Create Times

When creating timesheets, TimeControl allows the number of periods in the past and the future to be constrained to avoid accidentally creating a timesheet in the wrong period or in a period when Finance is not expecting it.

Copy Hours

We’ve made it possible to control who is allowed to copy hours when creating a new timesheet using the Copy Timesheet function and activated the ability to copy hours.

And…

There’s so much more.  We’ve done a lot of work on high volume capacity, improved performance, added more revision auditing, and improved usability across the application.

Find out more at TimeControl.com/features/latest

New Testimonial letter from R2.ca!

We have the privilege of having some pretty awesome clients.  For those who have visited the HMS Software offices in person, you know the corridors are covered in testimonial letters written by clients over the years and we are very proud of each and every one of them.  This month we received what is, for us, a first.  Marie-Lyne Vachon, the Financial Controller at our Quebec-based client R2.ca sent us a beautiful testimonial letter in French.  You’d think with HMS having our headquarters in Quebec Canada and with virtually all our staff being bilingual, this would happen more often but it has not.  We’ve taken the liberty of translating the letter so you can read the original letter in French or the translated letter in English.  From all of us at HMS to our users at R2.ca and Marie-Lyne we say a hearty thank you!

We don’t do enough French blog posts due to our large profile of clients outside of Quebec and Canada but for this letter we can’t resist!

Nous avons le privilège d’avoir des clients assez impressionnants. Pour ceux qui ont visité les bureaux de HMS Software en personne, vous savez que les couloirs sont couverts par des lettres de témoignage écrites par des clients au fil des ans et nous sommes très fiers de chacun d’entre eux. Ce mois-ci, nous avons reçu ce qui est, pour nous, une première. Marie-Lyne Vachon, contrôleur financier chez notre client québécois R2.ca, nous a envoyé une belle lettre de témoignage en français. Vous penseriez que si HMS avait son siège social au Québec, au Canada, et que presque tout notre personnel était bilingue, cela se produirait plus souvent, mais ce n’est pas le cas. Nous avons pris la liberté de traduire la lettre afin que vous puissiez lire la lettre originale en français ou la lettre traduite en anglais. De tous les employés de HMS à nos utilisateurs de R2.ca et de Marie-Lyne, nous disons un grand merci!

Choosing between Subscribing Online or Purchasing for OnPrem

A few years ago, we’d have thought that online subscriptions of Software as a Service for enterprise software was something destined for more modestly sized clients.  If you were a few dozen or a few hundred users, then your organization might not have had a full-blown IT team or a comprehensive data center.  The promise of completely managed software in a service business would have been more attractive to such organizations we’d have thought.

That was then, and this is now.

In today’s IT world, organizations of all sizes are rethinking how they look at the On-Line vs. On-Premise decision.  The efficiency of online services and the infrastructure organizations that support them mean that software of all sizes can be attractive in a hosted environment plus the security attached to many Software as a Service (SaaS) infrastructures is often daunting for an internal IT department to compete with.

There are compelling reasons however to select either Online or OnPrem.  Let’s consider a few:

Why install on Premise?

There are many potential reasons for installing a product on your own premises.

Integration

Many Software as a Service systems including TimeControl have API modules that allow programming access to many of the functions.  No system however, opens every single possible function into their API.  It’s not because programmers don’t want to but there is a cost/benefit consideration when creating such functions.  In TimeControl for example, you can use the API to populate all the major tables.  But there are other functions such as those for maintenance that are not accessible programmatically.  That’s because they’re only used once or rarely from time to time and therefore the cost of creating programming access to them delivers little or no benefit.

But it is certainly possible that someone might have a compelling reason to integrate with TimeControl at such an intimate level and then direct access to the database might be preferable.

Another Integration attraction is for high volume integration.  When we have 500 users, the speed of the transfer of data from one system to another is so fast it’s not worth talking about.  When we have 5,000 users, perhaps it is.  There are some clients who might have such a high volume of data transfer that direct access to the data for moving data in or out is attractive.

Security

The security of many subscription services is a key preoccupation of providers.  It certainly is for TimeControl.  We’ve written numerous white papers on the subject and also leverage the security.  But security systems inside of an organization can be made even more secure.  For example, an internal TimeControl instance can be made wholly inside the firewall and not be outward facing towards the Internet.  Then potential attacks on it could only originate by either hacking the firewall or from inside the organization itself.  In-the-cloud services including TimeControl Online are, by their very nature, accessible through the Internet.

We really, really like this version

Some clients prefer to stick with a version of software and not upgrade until they are left with no choice at all.  This isn’t for everyone but in organizations where many other systems and processes depending on this system or many systems are integrated, there can be additional work implied in upgrading that may be problematic for the organization.  If you install on your premises. You decide when to and if to upgrade.

Why go with Online?

Regardless of whether you are a small or large organization, there are many reasons that subscribing to an online service could be attractive.

No maintenance

Included in your subscription fee is the cost of updating, maintaining, securing and monitoring your system.  That’s not just the maintenance for the system you are subscribing to but also all its infrastructure including the operating system, the database, malware protection, disk space, hardware performance and more.  That can take a big load of work off your internal IT department.

Updates

When you are subscribing to an in-the-cloud service, your system is virtually always up to date.  That’s because all the updates are done centrally by the provider.  In most cases there is no cost to the upgrade or work other than internal training.

Support is easier

When you call for technical support for an in-the-cloud system, there are a couple of things that are easier for you.  First of all, technical challenges like an actual malfunction of the system is much more rare because the system is shared among many clients and even more users.  Plus the provider’s testing of that system happens in what is for them a perfect environment.  They chose the operating system.  They chose the database.  They chose the network settings.  They chose the anti-virus and anti-malware software.  That helps make the system much more stable out of the starting blocks.

A second implied advantage for support is that you are always speaking to the support department about the same version of the product.  There is never a “What exact version and build are you on?” conversation because everyone is on the same version and build.  That makes tracking down a problem and determining the cause much easier for the technician and gets you back on track much faster.

What about mixed environments?

It’s possible to have some of your systems in the cloud and others on your premises.  TimeControl is often deployed in a mixed environment.  In some cases, TimeControl has been installed on premise and has to link to ERP and Project systems that are hosted in the cloud like Project Online.  In other cases, clients are using TimeControl Online in the cloud and have to link to an internally installed project management system, BrightWork for example.  With TimeControl’s flexibility that hasn’t been a problem for us thus far and there are many combinations of on-premise, in-the-cloud, and hybrid environments you might envisage.

What about the future of TimeControl?

HMS is committed to maintaining both TimeControl Online in the cloud as a service and TimeControl for purchase for on-premise installation for the foreseeable future.  We want the product work how the client needs to.

TimeControl Resources

We have numerous resources discussing the options of subscribing Online or Purchasing for installation on premises.  You can find factsheets, webcasts and more at: TimeControl.com/how-to-buy.  There is also a series of seminars on the subject on our President’s blog at: EPMGuidance.com.

There are so many possible combinations of environments that it goes well beyond what we can discuss here.  If you have questions about what structure would work best for your TimeControl deployment, you should contact HMS at info@hms.ca.