What button do I push?


userprofiles71.jpgLike most modern technology companies, HMS spends a great deal of time working on search engine optimization and key word analysis.  Last week one aspect of a report from our marketing team said that a keyword phrase that ended up causing a visitor to our website was “I’m in my timesheet and I don’t know what button to push.”  Now that’s a pretty specific problem from someone who wasn’t a TimeControl user but it highlights one of TimeControl’s great strength.

From the start of the very first timesheet that HMS created back in 1984 for one of our earliest clients, we knew that we had a design dilemma on our hands.  On one side, management had a long list of highly complex features for the timesheet including complex approvals, table management of many tables, reporting, integration with other systems and system management.  On the other side, we had the vast majority of users, more than 95% of them, who would be looking at the timesheet for about 5 minutes per week.  So, on the one hand, we had complex features needed, on the other hand we had absolute simplicity needed.

That’s where User Profiles came from.  User Profiles is what lets TimeControl present one set of data and functionality and rules to one set of users and a very different set of data, functionality and rules to another.  Using User Profiles, Administrators can configure TimeControl to show only those menu items, data selections and options that particular users require.  So, a regular timesheet user who looks at TimeControl for 2 minutes a day or 5 minutes a week and has no commitment at all to mastering the flexibility or nuances of TimeControl will only see one or two tabs and three or four functions.  Even the default pages of how TimeControl starts can be defined so a user might even start their timesheet in the timesheet view rather than the default dashboard.

This functionality has been so successful that there has never been a training manual for end users.  Oh, there is a user manual of course and there are some 5 minute Online Training videos for people to look at but these are rarely an issue.  That’s because for end users there are very few buttons to consider and the presentation of data in the format it’s expected makes the use of the timesheet intuitive.

There can be an unlimited number of profiles because TimeControl is designed to serve many purposes at the same time.  So a super-user type of Administrator with access to all data and all functions is a must but there may be other specific types of Administrators or perhaps something specific for Supervisors or Project Managers or Crew Entry personnel with TimeControl Industrial or Payroll managers and so on and so on.

TimeControl ships with four template User Profiles to start with but they are always reviewed during deployment and it is would be quite unusual to find two organizations with profiles that are exactly the same.

Even though User Profiles has been one of the most successful aspects of TimeControl since its first version, and even though there are some aspects of User Profiles that have carried forwards since version 1, we continue to make enhancements as features of TimeControl evolve that we wish to have secured or made available only to certain user roles.

User Profiles will continue to play a prominent role in configuring TimeControl deployments to match the specific business challenges that clients are working to solve.