Project management gains control

In times when the economic forecast is a little hazy, corporations tend to clamp down on spending and look at ways to better project management. Recently HMS Software released TimeControl 4, the latest version of its timekeeping and project management solution. The application allows companies to track costs, update project schedules, and track employee hours for payroll – bridging the gap between corporate finances and project management.

“TimeControl 4 is an enterprise corporate time sheet system, and what makes the time sheet system unique is [it’s] designed to work for both finance and project management at the same time,” said Chris Vandersluis, president of HMS Software in Montreal.

Vandersluis said the latest version of TimeControl 4 incorporates a Web-enabled browser-based interface, which means that it does not have to be installed on the end-users’ desktop.

“There is zero configuration at the end user as the system installs on a Web server and could be installed on multiple servers if you had a very large environment,” Vandersluis said.

“The system is now multilingual so that individuals can select from a variety of languages and people can alter the languages or add their own. The system can now be scaled from as small as an organization of 20 people up to 100,000. Some of the things that sets the system apart is that it has a number of links to project management systems, including Microsoft Project and the Primavera Systems suite of scheduling systems. We also have a module that allows us to link virtually any finance system (such as ERP from SAP, Oracle or Peoplesoft),” Vandersluis said.

He added that in difficult economic times, companies look to how they can be as efficient as possible with the resources they have and this is where TimeControl 4 comes in.

“TimeControl 4 can tell you not just how much you spending on labour, but what that labour is doing. And if you have to be as efficient as you can with as little as possible, then this is going to tell you where these hours are being spent. It’s surprising really how many companies have a general idea of what people are doing but no real specifics on where time is being spent – whether too much time is being spent on overhead type tasks like meetings or whether people are working on the highest priority projects right now,” Vandersluis said.

TimeControl benefits a company in two ways, said Nancy Merril, business analyst and TimeControl administrator for Kelly Services in Troy, Mich.

“We were using a product that we had to enter the time into manually, so we had administrative staff who were collecting paper copies of timesheets and entering them into the system,” Merril said.

“It was very slow, very error prone and while we are entering it in, managers could not use their project plan. (TimeControl) has increased our ability to get the information – we used to get about 60 per cent of the information, now we get 99 per cent. And we don’t have to have two clerks sitting around entering time. It’s been a decrease of two and more accurate data.”

The most important feature is the ability to link to our project management tools, said Pauline Harvey, business analyst manager for Motorola in Montreal. She added the solution also allows tracking of projects, vacations, overtime and flex time.

“Now we will be able to see the actual cost of the project and then when we estimate a new project, we will have some data,” Harvey said.