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March 30, 2011

Restoring Deleted Employees

Un-Deleting Employees in Online Time Clock MTS
The Un-Delete Employees Screen - Click to Enlarge

We've just added a new screen to Online Time Clock MTS that allows the account administrator and location administrator to restore deleted employees. This might be because your company has re-hired the employee, because you forgot to run the last payroll report for the employee, or perhaps because you need to re-run payroll reports come tax time. Be aware that you wont be able to restore a deleted employee if the total number of employees would exceed your subscription limits.

As always if you've got any questions please feel free to Contact Us.

Posted by markn at 4:00 PM

8 Reasons to Use a Web Based Employee Time Clock Part 3

Web Based Time Clock Screenshot
Online Time Clock MTS - Click to Enlarge

This entry concludes the 3 part series about my Top 8 Reasons to use a Web Based Employee Time Clock. I'll cover points 6 to 8 in this entry.

6. Low Ongoing Cost of Ownership

A good online time clock system shouldn't have any ongoing technical cost of ownership other than training of new start or up-skilling existing staff. This is simply because there's no software to keep up to date, no hardware compatibilities to deal with, no conflicting software issues to resolve, or operating system updates to worry about. This is in contract with installable software, where technical support is often on-going and costly because of hardware problems, driver issues, software interoperability problems, and various other issues.

Of course, there is usually an on-going periodic cost for a SaaS based time clock system. However, often the monthly cost is much, much less than the real cost of a single internal support incident caused by a desktop software product or the time wasted tallying up paper based timesheets.

7. Seamless Software Updates and Compatible Software Versions

We've been in the business of building and selling desktop time clock software for several years and one of the biggest problems we have encountered is ensuring that our users are using the latest versions of the software. A good time clock system should be continually improved and enhanced and desktop software usually needs someone to manually download and install updates, which just adds to the administrative overhead. It also leads to companies having mis-matched versions of the same software installed on different computers. This can often lead to data problems and timecard calculation errors. An Online Time Clock System avoids this completely, all updates are instant and complete, there's no need to download and install anything and often bug fixes are applied without the users knowing anything has happened!

A second advantage of seamless software updates is getting out of the support/maintenance/update cycle so common to the desktop software market. You won't need to worry if you're getting a free upgrade to the next release, you wont have to worry if your support and maintenance agreement is up to date, and you wont have to worry about your old data being compatible a newer versions of your time clock software.

8. Lower Hardware Costs

An online time clock system can considerably reduce the hardware cost requirements when compared with an installable desktop product. This is simply because if your computer can run a reasonably modern web browser then it will be able to be used as a time clock station for an online system. This opens the hardware arena to older PC's, tablet based computers like iPads, inexpensive netbooks, web enabled devices like iPods, and pretty much any smartphone with a web browser.

Compare this with installable desktop time clock systems that are tied to a certain operating system with hefty hardware requirements. Or software written in the latest incarnation programming language (like the various flavors of .NET) which require huge downloads and impose their own requirements in terms of memory and disk space.

This concludes this series of blog articles, as always if you've got anything to add please Contact Us with your thoughts and comments.

Posted by markn at 1:18 PM

March 29, 2011

8 Reasons to Use a Web Based Employee Time Clock Part 2

Web Based Time Clock Screenshot
Online Time Clock MTS - Click to Enlarge

This is part 2 of a 3 part series about my Top 8 Reasons to use a Web Based Employee Time Clock. I'll cover points 3 to 5 in this entry.

3. Easier Online Integration and Collaboration

While we don't like to use buzzwords like Web 2.0 or Social Networking there's no denying that any online application opens up new possibilities that traditional desktop software doesn't. This might be tight integration with social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, or perhaps online dashboards for your company Intranet. Of course it does lend itself to simple and more direct collaboration via integrated email, shared data, online reporting, and support for your employees anywhere in the world at anytime.

4. Low Initial Setup Cost and Effort

A typical software installation on a PC requires a certain level of investigation and testing before it can be rolled out reliably across all computers in a company. For example, if the software uses a database (like MySQL or SQL Server) then you would have to check that ADODB drivers are current on all computers, or you might have to check that Windows Scripting versions are current for all your computers. The problems only become greater if you've got a mish-mash of operating systems. You'll find that just because an application runs on Windows XP that there's no guarantee it will run on Vista or Windows 7. There are even problems with the same application running fine on Windows 7x32 and not running on Windows 7x64!

A 100% web based employee time clock system doesn't suffer from this problem. Got a computer or a smart phone or a tablet computer with a modern browser? If the answer is yes then an online application will work, no software installation required, no compatibility tests required, no expensive roll-out program, and no down time while systems are updated by your IT staff.

5. Global Availability

A typical problem with installable desktop time clock software is that of multiple locations in different timezones. Or perhaps issues with employees working off-site or travelling. Usually a solution to this problem requires system administrators to setup VPN's or WAN's to allow for remote access to the business network where the off-site employee can record their time and attendance information. An online time clock system can eliminate this hassle. All an employee needs is a device with a web-browser and an internet connection, whether it be a smart phone, a laptop with a wireless connection, or even a simple PC in an Internet Café.

A good web based time clock system must take this idea of global availability one step further. It should allow any employee in any timezone globally to record their time and attendance information online. This information should be recorded reliably and be able to be processed quickly and easily by your payroll department without the need to fiddle about adjusting times, or even having to double enter times from a hastily typed email or illegible paper timecard. That may sound a bit odd but you'd be surprised how many off-site workers still record their timesheets manually because of the lack of a better solution!

Posted by markn at 1:06 PM

March 28, 2011

8 Reasons to Use a Web Based Employee Time Clock Part 1

The advent of installable time clock software meant that physical punch clocks or paper time cards were largely superseded in forward thinking companies. However, problems with computer and software compatibility, hardware reliability, and on-going technical support costs as operating systems change means that there has to be a better solution for tracking employee time and attendance data. Over the last couple of years improvements in web application technology and increases in internet bandwidth means that a web-based time clock system is now a truly viable alternative to desktop time clock software.

I've decided to compile what I consider to be the top 8 reasons why your company would be better off using a web-based time clock system rather than an installable desktop software time clock. I'll spread this over three articles, of which this is the first (I'll link to parts 2 and 3 from here as they are written). Note, that the reasons I put forward here are in no particular order.

1. Vastly Improved Compatibility

A Web Based Time Clock system means no more worrying about this version of Windows, that version of MacOS, your operating system service pack level, database access drivers, or incompatibilities with DLL's or OCX's or any other number of three letter acronyms that mean almost nothing to no-one. It means that when you upgrade your computers to the latest operating systems you don't need to worry if your employee time clock will still work. It also eliminates the worry of other software breaking your vital attendance tracking system.

All a web based employee time clock system needs is a reasonably modern web browser, and internet connection, and some sort of hardware to run it on. And the hardware? No more being tied down to one platform, it could be a PC, a Mac, a smartphone (Android or iOS anyone?), or a tablet. It really doesn't matter as long as the web browser on your device is up to date.

2. Data Security and Reliability

A good online employee time clock system will store all data on servers that are completely secure from attack and manipulation. By removing the need for you to store your own data on your own computers you are advantaged in a couple of ways. Firstly, no more need to worry about data backups and retrievals, that's all handled by the Web Based Time Clock vendor. A good vendor will have a live copy of your data available at all times, and at a bare minimum will perform a complete backup of your data every few hours.

The second advantage of storing your data remotely is that your information is not available to employees to snoop or potentially manipulate. Our long experience in the desktop time clock software market shows that this is a very real risk. We've seen attendance data manipulated by employees simply wanting to falsify their timesheets right through to disgruntled IT staff wanting to wreak havoc when they are terminated. Whatever the reason, an online time clock system eliminates this risk.

Posted by markn at 8:50 AM

March 10, 2011

Fix to Message Dates Posted

I've just posted up a small fix to the employee messaging feature we included in the last major release. The message date was displayed as one day early on the list of messages than on the Manage Messages screen. This has now been rectified. Thanks to the Online Time Clock MTS user to noted the problem and then let us know.

Posted by markn at 2:36 PM