Tag Archives: timesheet

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.

Otonabee Region Conservation Authority goes TimeControl

Otonabee Region Conservation Authority is an environmental agency working in the Peterborough area of Ontario Canada. They are responsible for ensuring that the Otonabee Region watershed area is healthy and environmentally diverse.  HMS applauds them for this important work.

Otonabee have been using TimeControl since 2016 and reently their manager of corporate services, Denyse Landry sent us a letter expressing their satisfaction.

“We have been very satisfied with TimeControl and the level of support provided by HMS Software,” says Denyse. “We highly recommend it.”

We believe that every TimeControl client should be a satisfied referenceable customer and we strive for this every day.

Our thanks to the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority for their trust in TimeControl to make them more efficient. We look forward to a productive relationship for many years to come.

You can read the letter from Denyse in its entirety in the TimeControl Testimonials area.

A timesheet, is a timesheet, is a timesheet… Isn’t it?

A timesheet is just a timesheet, isn’t it?

Not so much.

What we’ve found here at HMS since 1984 is that timesheet requirements seem to be all the same until you put different departments who need them into the same room. Suddenly, the requirements seem quite different.

In 1984 when we were working on the very first mandate as HMS Software, we had to create a timesheet that would encompass the requirements of payroll and project management at the same time. The design requirements were so different, we ended up almost doubling the effort we had estimated in doing the work originally.

We needed a Time and Attendance timesheet for payroll with numerous requirements from the Finance department.

We also needed a task-based project tracking timesheet with the ability to update the project management schedule.

And, that was complex enough. The project was delivered successfully but the seeds had been planted for what would ultimately become the commercial TimeControl 10 years later.

As we did design on the out-of-the box multi-function TimeControl we realized there were more types of timesheets than just those two.

How about Time and Billing? What about Job Costing?  How about timesheets for R&D tax credit compliance and so on.

We’ve created a short white paper identifying some of the timesheet types that we are most commonly asked about but this is not a theoretical exercise. If no one intervenes in what kind of timesheet to select, the most likely result is that multiple timesheets will be implemented.  Payroll and HR will want a Time and Attendance timesheet.  Finance may require a Time and Billing timesheet or a Job Costing timesheet or both.  There may be requirements from Sales or Contracts to comply with government regulation timesheets in order to successfully comply with a new order or contract.

In some organizations we arrive to find 2, 3, 4 or even more timesheets all deployed at the same time. In a worst case scenario, employees must fill in 2 or 3 timesheets every week to accommodate all the requirements.

The best solution for this dilemma, as we discovered over 3 decades ago, is to create a multi-function timesheet that has a single interface in the front end so it is easy for end users, yet has all the controls that each of these requirements demands in the back end so Administrators can fulfill the different needs from a single source.

You can read the Timesheet Types and TimeControl white paper at: TimeControl.com/pdf/whitepapers/tc_timesheet_types.pdf.  To see our complete list of white papers, visit TimeControl.com/resources/whitepapers.

We’re so pleased to have received this letter from RN Engineering

A company is only as good as its clients and at HMS, this is no exception.  We received a letter a few weeks ago which we’re delighted to have now put on our website in the Testimonials area.

The letter is from Mark Simpson a Project Manager at RN Engineering and talks about how they have been able to blend 3 separate business processes into one much more effective process using TimeControl.  You can read the letter in its entirety at RN Engineering Letter.

To Mark and his entire team at RN Engineer, we say a big Thank you!  We appreciate our partnership with the RN Engineering team and we look forward to many more years of working together.

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.

TimeControl 7 introduces the multi-line timesheet… again!

Years ago with the release of TimeControl 6, we moved from a Windows-based ActiveX timesheet to a multi-device, multi-browser version.  It was an essential move.  The world is no longer all PC/Internet Explorer-based.  So TimeControl 6 was a complete rewrite of much of TimeControl.  But in making the TimeControl timesheet work on tablets, SmartPhones and browsers like Chrome, Safari and Firefox meant a change.  multi-line-timesheet.jpgIn order to be able to evaluate the content of each timesheet cell and do all the validations that TimeControl is known and selected for, we had to move to a one-line-at-a-time edit.  For new users, this was just fine but some users of the Windows-based interface felt that editing each line at a time was slower than they were used to.

In TimeControl 7, technology caught up to us in a way that we can bring back something old that’s new again.  The technology built into the multi-device, multi-browser TimeControl timesheet now allows us to be both performant and functional and to allow all lines to be edited at once.  For users who enjoy the efficiency of pre-loading, this will be a welcome change.  Each timesheet with multiple lines has all lines editable at the same time.  Users can just click on any cell and they are instantly editing that cell.  Just like TimeControl has always done, when the focus of editing moves off of a cell, TimeControl evaluates that line and warns the user if there are any issues with that cell or conditions other data on the timesheet as required.  So cascading user defined fields and resource filters are all in place just as they always have been.

calendar_config_444x572Multi-line edit isn’t the only change in the timesheet.  The new Options screen allows a number of new selections.  For example, users can now decide if they wish to word-wrap header rows.  This allows dates and the day of the week to be displayed on two lines but also allows the field to be narrow.  Each column can also be defined to be word-wrapped.  If you have longer project descriptions or charge descriptions, just click on wrapping that column.  You can also define which fields on the left of the screen will be frozen in place in case you scroll to the right.  This is particularly important if you have defined longer timesheet periods.  If you have monthly periods for example, you’ll certainly want to freeze the project/charge descriptions on the left to be able to fill in columns far to the right!

All the other timesheet functions are still there but many have been enhanced.  Attachments can still be made at the timesheet level or the expense line item level so if you have receipts to photograph or scan, they can be attached here.  There is a new Views tab that will be of more interest to administrative users who have to check timesheets with a large number of lines.  The Views function works much like the Drill Down Analyzer, allowing the user to drag and drop timesheet columns to see data summarized and grouped by each field selected.

We think you’ll like the new multi-line timesheet.  It will form the core of this wave of TimeControl for the foreseeable future.