Tag Archives: timesheet

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?
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.

TimeControl allows for start and stop times to be input right on the timesheet

As a timesheet that is often used for project management tracking, TimeControl screens typically focus on putting in the duration of work with the total number of hours calculated per day and per line item.  But, TimeControl also has the capability to track the times of work as well.

The Start/Stop clock icon on the timesheet is visible or not depending on the TimeControl security settings created in the User Profile.  Once visible, you can display the panel and, depending on your configuration, you will see either one start and stop time entry per day or multiple lines.

The panel allows Start times and End times for each day or if you use multiple starts and stops, the starts and stops can control multiple starts and stops to the day for breaks like lunch or a split shift.  The time between the start and stop can be calculated.

Some clients have configured the Start / Stop times to be used for validation rules, with the indication being that the right-hand panel of the timesheet must account for all the time the user was at work.  For some clients, this is used more as an exception report as the calculations for the last day of the timesheet period is complicated by the request for users to complete their timesheet before they leave so the timesheet’s ending time for the day may not be clear  until the next working day.

Some clients use the Start / Stop panel but make it read-only and have the data populated by external attendance systems like door-access systems or punch clocks (ok, no one really punches a card anymore – but we still call them punch clocks).

However you need to use the Start / Stop panel, TimeControl can display it or hide it with a single click, leaving you with the flexibility to track this time or not as you require.

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