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It's About Time! The Journyx Blog

May 14, 2014

If you deal with customers on any sort of basis, you know that no matter the season, great customers are one of the main properties that keeps your business afloat. And it's not just a one way-relationship, either. It's a two-way street where it's absolutely key to reward your customers for their loyalty and continued business. But what does that really entail? 

Reliability in an unstable economy

The best way to treat your customers right is to first and foremost provide them with a great and reliable product. One of our clients, Intersys Consulting, improved their customer service by switching from their old payroll system to Journyx. “Many of our Fortune 500 clients do billing audits,” Intersys CEO J.R. Carter said. “They usually hire an outside company to catch billing errors. One of our biggest clients was just audited for a time period of three years, encompassing 600-700 invoices. The auditing company came back with no errors related to time tracking. This is, of course, attributable to our awesome office manager but also to Journyx.”

Don't just wait to speak, listen to them instead

But beyond just providing a great product, you should also strive to figure out your customer’s needs. This may require a time investment, but if you can understand what your customer wants, you can focus your efforts to help them achieve it. Position your company as an important part of your customers’ future strategies and they will likely pay you back many times over.

Be prepared to weather any storm with them

Of course, don't get frustrated when the other line is a little quiet, either. Not every customer will be responsive to your outreach efforts. Even if you have determined that you can devote time to developing a relationship, some customers just aren’t interested in anything beyond your core product. That is still great. Scale back your efforts, but don’t completely cease them. Sometimes, persistence pays off. Similarly, keep an eye to the future. Companies often change strategy and focus, which could present a future opportunity to reengage. Be ready to step up your activities when it’s the right time for them.

The most successful targeted customer outreach programs are mutually beneficial.

A mutualistic relationship is the best relationship

At Journyx we have implemented a deep integration with the Microsoft Dynamics GP accounting systems for some of our customers because our software is a flexible add-on to Dynamics. Although we originally implemented this for just one customer, we have been able to expand on the success of the original offering. If it weren’t for a specific instance of customer outreach, we wouldn’t have discovered a profitable new market for this business to dive into.

Take customer outreach seriously, and treat it with as much respect as any other business project. The results can be measured in your bottom line, and you may uncover unexpected benefits that you might have otherwise missed. Move forward intelligently, with an eye to your costs and capabilities, and the rewards will be substantial.  

May 12, 2014

business portal replacementMicrosoft is dropping Business Portal from the next product release of Dynamics GP, version 2015, that is due out by the end of this year. You will not be able to use your existing version of Business Portal once you move to the 2015 version of Dynamics GP.

As a quick recap, Business Portal is a SharePoint-based tool that provides collaboration, data entry and reporting using your Web browser directly into Dynamics GP. Some of the more popular apps are timesheet entry, requisitions, human resources and payroll self-service, key performance indicators, document management and queries.  All of these can be created and saved to an individual user or groups of users.  When a user logs into Dynamics GP, their home page in Business Portal is unique to them.

Business Portal is linked to Financials, Sales, Purchasing, Inventory, Project Accounting and Manufacturing.  The create-and-modify wizard makes setting up and using Business Portal very easy.

That said, Business Portal has not gained the adoption that Microsoft had hoped and due to end-user and VAR feedback, Microsoft is replacing Business Portal’s features and functionality with built-in features in the future releases of Dynamics GP.

Jamie Grant, a Program Manager on the Dynamics Development team, had this to say:

Our plans are to bring back those features offered in the portal and introduce them into the Dynamics GP application.  In the next month or so, you will see the release of GP2013 R2.  This release will have a number of new features as well as fixes.  A few of the features you will notice will be around the inclusion of Time Entry and Requisitions (both formerly available in Business Portal). We will also be releasing an app that will allow end users to quickly enter their Time/Vacation/Sick leave.

Business Portal will only be included in the web client version of GP, not in the local install version. And for those who will be able to use the web client timekeeping, the functionality is quite basic and the user interface is dated. For these reasons, many GP users have come to the conclusion that the time is now to find a reliable, robust replacement for Business Portal.

Should you be in this situation, Journyx invites you to take a look at our solution (http://journyx.com/business-portal-replacement/blog) and see if it might be a good fit for your company.

May 9, 2014

BusinessTips.com is a new friend of ours here at Journyx. Their blog is a place where experts and authors can share their best advice, hardest-learned lessons and more. In fact, it has such a massive database of contributing writers and authors that it's mapped it out in an easy-to-use interface to find just the type of wisdom you need with just a click. They've even been kind enough to post the works of our very own CEO, Curt Finch. 

Below is an awesome article on productivity from Maura Thomas, 20-year veteran of the project management industry and published author. Visit their site here for the full story.

“Productivity” has become quite the business buzzword. Maybe just reading it makes you picture all of the blog posts you’ve seen, touting tricks to clear your inbox faster or recommending the latest, snazzy to-do list apps to install on your phone or tablet.

Sure, those things are fun, but there’s a deeper meaning to productivity, too. And unless you’re taking this big-picture view, all the tips and tools out there won’t make a big difference in your life.

Ready to shift your thinking? Here are three unconventional ideas about productivity to take to heart.

“Busy” doesn’t equal “productive.” Have you ever noticed that everyone seems to love talking about — and sometimes even bragging about — how busy they are? But being busy doesn’t mean a whole lot in itself. Think about those days when you’ve powered through tons of tasks, only to realize you didn’t get anything done that was truly important to you. Let’s go back to the dictionary for the old-school, pre-buzzword meaning of productivity: “achieving or producing a significant result.” Significant results don’t have anything to do with how busy you are. And they don’t have to be huge, life-changing or a big deal to anybody else but you. The only criterion is that the results you achieve are significant to you, whether that means finishing a proposal, making a phone call that’s been weighing on you or finding time to work out.

Continue reading...

May 7, 2014

Project accounting is a critical concept for today’s business world. More and more, corporate executives are seeking to understand their project accounting costs. If they know their project costs, they can discover financial problems with projects early on and fix them. This can potentially save companies millions of dollars.

Unfortunately, many companies have not structured their project accounting system in a way that allows them to draw upon the data for future knowledge. While it is important to understand a current project, it is equally important to be able to glean information from past projects and apply that information to future endeavors.

Fortunately, here at Journyx we have some time-tested ways you can structure your project accounting system to increase its value.

1.  Quality Data In = Quality Data Out

In order for project accounting data to be accurate, the data that is put into the system must be accurate. Bad project accounting leads to unnecessary overtime, bad estimates and canceled projects. And so, while employees are often resistant to the idea of tracking their time, they need to understand that there are tangible benefits. Without tracking time to specific projects, it is impossible to calculate the real worth of their time, and the real value of their contributions to the project. Additionally, not providing accurate time tracking information will skew the project accounting data for the entire project.

Tying bonuses or other benefits to complete data collection is often used in customer relationship management (CRM) tools to adjust sales commissions. The same can be done for other forms of data collection. Even if you don’t like to dangle a carrot to get results, providing employees with a template for future success can prove the value of accurate time and resource tracking.

2. Intuitive User Interface

When it comes to choosing a time tracking system, it’s important to consider the system’s interface and ease of use. While your IT professional might be comfortable implementing a system with a highly technical front end, other employees will balk at a complex system. Most employees just want to enter their time as quickly as possible, and then close the program and forget it.

Instituting a system that will notify employees when their time is due will help with compliance. Look for a system that pre-populates memorized information and common tasks. Even small time savings for the employee will increase the value of information you will get from them. Make it easy, make it quick, and they will do it right.

3.  Early Warning System

Most project time-tracking systems support some way of indicating what percentage of each project is complete. This can create an early warning system for projects that are going out of control. If you've spent 45 percent of the money allocated for a project, but you are only 10 percent done, it's time to hit the panic button.

4.  Limited Visibility

Any project time-tracking system that is worth its salt will be able to limit an employee or department’s visibility into the project list. An employee confronted with 500 entries on his timesheet will usually enter bad data. Pushing this burden up to an administrator will vastly improve data accuracy. You can also use this mechanism to assign people to projects, limit hours on projects, and see who has been assigned to which tasks.

5.  Estimation Improvement

Expensive and complex portfolio planning systems are designed to help you refrain from starting projects you don't have the resources to finish. They can save you lots of money but their Achilles heel is bad estimates. Time tracking can be particularly helpful in estimation improvement when many of the projects in your company are similar, and they usually are.

Detailed time-tracking data shows the cost of the first phase of a project. If the cost is 10 percent and you've spent 100 hours gathering requirements, then any estimate far from the 1,000-hour mark should be reexamined. Furthermore, 10 percent is probably the wrong number for the projects in your company, so your mileage may vary. But historical time data will give you important insight into what this average is and how variable it is, and therefore, how to perform that calculation.

 

May 5, 2014

Happy Monday and a very happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! Today we've got the latest tech resources from the best-kept-secret spots online. Being a software company ourselves, we're no strangers to the world of the fast-paced new tech cropping up on the markets. If you're feeling overwhelmed by it all (and trust us, we feel a little overwhelmed, too), then you're in for a treat with these helpful resources, trends, tips and blogs to check out. 

Have more you think would benefit? Let us know in the comment section below!

  • ArsTechnica is a massive hub of new video games, the latest tech trends and great new software finds for those ready to go "full-geek".
  • Mashable Tech cannot go without mentioning. A blog that cuts out the fluff and leaves you with the need-to-know basics and emerging trends, Mashable has been making waves in the tech blog landscape since 2005 and shows no signs of slowing down.
  • TechCrunch is a long-time fan favorite for both businesses and geek-readers alike. A place where a small software company can find their press release and a techie can find new tips on something a little deeper than the latest updates on Google Glass, TechCrunch has made itself into a crossroads for a wide array of audiences for nearly a decade.
  • GigaOm is a rising star listed in CNET's blog 100 list, and it features heavily news on startups and a high-level view of what's happening in the tech industry; great for those folks who just want the laymen's terms. 
  • ZDNet though the brand itself stretches all the way back to 1991, it eventually evolved into an "enterprise IT-focused online publication"
  • Gizmodo goes by the tagline of "Tech by Design", and it's not kidding around. Part of the "Gawker" media network, Gizmodo specializes in the latest news for both web designers and tech enthusiasts

 

Want some more? You can find these blogs, social media groups and pages below complete with the best tips and tricks for those who consider themselves "tech-newbies".

 

April 30, 2014

Every nonprofit organization, regardless of size or sector, has a mission. It might be to raise funds and awareness for a disease, assist underprivileged or abused individuals, or help conserve and protect the natural resources. At the same time each organization also faces the danger of losing sight of its mission by becoming preoccupied with necessary but often burdensome overhead and administrative work. When employee, management or volunteer time is wasted on tasks that could easily be automated, the entire organization suffers, along with the mission. 

Fine Tuning the Wheel

An expertly-developed and finely-tuned time management system that tracks project management, billing, and professional payroll can become a window into the real-time costs of any organization. This is especially true if it provides a thorough understanding of costs at every level of the organization and complete visibility into these costs for everyone who impacts them.

The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) learned this lesson quite well. As a relief and development organization with staff working all over the world, the CRWRC must be as efficient as possible in how it uses staff time. In the past, the organization found that having employees track their time in Microsoft Excel wasted this valuable time. Multiple faxes and emails were required to obtain the appropriate signatures, and the Finance department then had to recompile all the data into financial reports for grantors. For this reason, the CRWRC decided to implement a technology solution for tracking hours worked on government grant programs.

Laura Musoke, Training and Development Coordinator at the CRWRC, believes that the new technology has brought positive change to the entire organization. “The system has decreased the amount of staff time involved in compiling time-keeping data and eliminated time spent chasing signatures,” she says. This allows the staff to focus their attention on more pressing matters that help the CRWRC achieve its goals.

Diverse Benefits

Many people mistakenly believe that time-tracking data is only useful for payroll. On the contrary, if used correctly, this data can facilitate greater profitability throughout the entire organization. In fact, time data helps to automate project management, project costing, project tracking and project estimation improvement, as well as internal, external and reverse billing. It can also provide a critical view into where time is being spent and if things could be done in a more efficient manner.

Laura Musoke believes that automated time tracking has had a greater impact on the CRWRC than just facilitating payroll. She says, “The data also allows us to see areas where staff members are overloaded with grant program work – either working on too many grants or working too many hours, even weekends. We can address these specific situations by writing more personnel costs into subsequent grant applications to hire local support staff.” It is clear that for many organizations, time data provides insight into not only what people are working on, but how many labor hours are expended, helping managers to calculate the true ROI of each project.

With modern technology, there is no longer any reason to waste employee time and effort on overhead and administrative tasks. Automated time tracking not only makes payroll easier, but also highlights where employee time is spent and whether or not the projects are profitable. Without this unnecessary burden, nonprofit organizations are free to focus on their strengths and work towards fulfilling their strategic goals – the reason why they are in business in the first place. 

 

April 29, 2014
  • Congratulations to Triad Semiconductor on being chosen as Journyx Customer of the Month for May!

“Journyx is valuable to our company in that it saves on time and resources.  Employees and supervisors can more quickly and easily enter and approve timesheets,” says Cherry Taylor, Accountant at Triad Semiconductor.  “It saves resources such as paper and printer toner.  Journyx also eliminates at least four hours of work per week for the accounting department as manual entry of each employee timesheet is no longer needed.”

A specialist in IC Solutions and supply chain management, Triad Semiconductor LLC has been in business since 2002 and boast big name customers such as Texas Instruments and GE. Triad has gone on to partner with NASA to develop tools for mission requirements used by university professors developing the minds and careers of young undergraduate researchers in projects involving future spacecraft and instrument control.  Learn more about Triad Semiconductor here.

April 28, 2014

Happy Monday, all! Whether or not you’ve just downed your third cup of coffee or are zipping through it all solely off of a good night’s sleep, we here at Journyx have organized this list of DCAA Compliant links to help get you through the day. We’d like to think we know a thing or two about being government compliant, seeing as how we’re stamped and ready ourselves, and we’d like to help you get in on the action.

Here’s a list of our top resources, social groups, blogs and more to get you started. Have more links to add? Let us know in the comment section below!

  • DCAA News is a whole site packed full of good info and completely dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on all things DCAA
  • DCAA.mil is the actual website behind the entity, and they’ve laid out their tools to help so you don’t flounder
  • Working With the U.S. Government: Your Guide to DCAA is a whitepaper from us here at Journyx designed to give you the play-by-play on being DCAA complaint
  • 24th Annual Government Procurement Conference is touted as the “premier event for small businesses in the United States” where companies of varying sizes get the chance to interact in person with their national government

There’s more than one way to go social with it, as well. Here are some additional sources you can find and interact with on Google+ and LinkedIn:

Have more resources you think would be helpful? Feel free to add it in the comments below!

April 25, 2014

Our friends at GoERPCloud.com are completely connected. They’re blog has a plethora of articles from all kinds of VAR’s, partners and ISV’s – meaning, they have information coming straight from the thought leaders in the industry. You can even catch some works from our very own CEO, Curt Finch on their blog, and we love being in their good company.

Below is a great article with tips for small businesses on how to choose the right ERP software. Visit their site for the full scoop.

Maybe you are a small but growing business that is starting to feel the strain of outgrowing a basic accounting system.  Maybe you have a legacy system that is bogged down with years of bolt-on solutions that go unused.  Maybe the cost of maintaining on-premise is no longer a viable business decision.  Whatever the case, choosing the right business software is no easy task. Your new system is going to be the backbone of your business and it is going to play a major role in the future success of the organization, so there is almost no margin of error.  With that, we’ve come up with 3 key steps to choosing the right business software in a 3 part blog series.  In this first installment we will talk about matching business software to business needs.

Matching business software to business needs requires a lot of homework, carefully assessing what the business hopes to achieve with the software implementation.  Unfortunately not all departments or people are always going to be in agreement about how to prioritize business needs.

Internal sabotage from change-resistant employees is often a leading cause of ERP implementation, according to an article at Panorama-Consulting.com. So leveraging those organizational change best practices right out of the gate is part of your software selection best practices.

Continue reading…

 

April 23, 2014

creative professional womanIf you've been alive and breathing in the last decade, you've seen the many amazing (and sometimes terrible) things that the internet has to offer. But more than anything, what we're seeing is an inundating amount of how-to lists, buzzwordey articles with our top five tips and tricks, the "best" time management tactics and so on. And some of them are truly great reads, (and we've been guilty of sharing those types of articles before, too) but many of them simply don't have all of the facts. So here we present to you some absolutely surefire ways to improve your business and get ahead of your competitors with very little effort or investment.

Tone up that time management

This isn't your grandma's time management advice. Actual measurable time data can make a fundamental difference to your company if collected and used correctly. One of the ways in which time tracking can lead to success is by using it to plan for projects and then follow their progress along the way. Knowing a project is behind schedule or over budget towards the end of the project’s life span does no one any good. Knowing this information sooner, however, will help you act accordingly with your peers, employees and your personal projects as well and stop wasting time and money.

Automate it

Not only should you track time within your company, but finding the appropriate time accounting platform to automate it for you will be all the difference in the world of human errors on an excel spreadsheet. According to a major research advisory firm, fully automating the timesheet process reduces errors and staff time by 75 percent or more. Automation technologies and practices reduce improper time tracking activities and associated costs by validating project/cost code lists and monitoring approval processes electronically. Additional savings are realized by eliminating paper costs, and policy and regulatory compliance is improved.

Keeping big brother quiet

Make absolutely sure your company is in compliance with SOX, DCAA and/or other necessary standards. When payroll executives implement time and attendance systems to automate payroll, they often miss the chance to facilitate greater profitability throughout the entire company. These payroll executives are, of course, payroll experts. They are usually not, however, experts at project accounting or billing automation.

However, the time data, if collected appropriately, can also be used to automate project management, project accounting, project tracking and project estimation improvement, as well as for internal, external and reverse billing automation -- and any of these can also become SOX concerns. Most payroll and HR executives know little about these subjects, but increasingly, they are being asked to rise to new challenges with federal regulation requirements being just one of them.

Step up your PTO management

Controlling and understanding PTO expense allows you to recruit better talent. You can promise people more vacation than your competitors if you know that it's controllable. This tips the balance in your favor, allowing you to build a better team.

The first issue businesses need to address when creating their PTO plan is what to do about employees who quit or are terminated. Many states require that the balance of vacation pay be paid when an employee leaves the firm unless the company has a policy that states otherwise. If you choose to disallow vacation time to resigning employees and you run a company of high turnover—a fact of life in certain industries, like retail or food service—this allows you to re-allocate the PTO that those who leave might have used in favor of those who stick around. In essence, you can offer more generous PTO packages when recruiting than your more lenient competitors can offer, at no additional cost.

A little positive affirmation never hurt

Choosing the appropriate time management SaaS solution will only benefit your company if you can get your employees to actually use it. Hourly workers are easiest to convince because they want to be paid, so they already have an incentive. And yet, everyone regardless of status should want the company to be a success, so once they understand that using time tracking to automate billing—thereby making it more accurate—leads to more revenue, they should become more open to it.

Project accounting is more abstract than payroll or billing, and you don’t want to wind up with unnecessary overtime, stressful blown schedules, bad estimates or canceled projects. Try relating specific examples where good time collection could have prevented problems in order to make that connection in the minds of your employees.

 

April 21, 2014

professional staffingHappy Monday, all! Today we're turning our attention toward staffing agencies, and those looking for the perfect client-job combo. We love working with our staffing friends, and having an edge on the latest staffing resources, tips and tricks is a fountain of knowledge worth sharing.

Here are our top resources we’ve found that we deem helpful, useful and absolutely necessary whether you are over-capacity or under. Have more links and blogs to add? Let us know in the comment section below!

  • CWS Summit 2014 of the Staffing Industry Analysts group will be in London this year, May 13-May 14
  • 2014 ANA Staffing Conference hosted in New Orleans proves that staffing applies to everyone – including nurses. Save the date for November 4-November 5, 2014.
  • 2014 Midwest Staffing Conference will be May 1, 2014. Hosted by the ISSA, this conference kicks off the biggest staffing event of the greater Midwest area, with this year being located in the bustling city of Chicago, IL.
  • 2014 NCASP Training Conference in North Carolina brings with it a speaker list that’s almost too power-packed to contain in one weekend. Register quickly, this conference will be May 15 – May 17, 2014.
  • Manpower Group is a massive conglomerate of people, resources and open job postings for all types of skill sets and needs.

Want to go a little more social? Here are some great Google+ and LinkedIn groups to check out:

These are a few of our favorite things. Have any you think would be good for the list? Feel free to add it in below!

April 17, 2014

Our friends at Executive Street, the Vistage blog, boast a far-reaching network of executives, managers and entrepreneurs starting up their own businesses. They operate as a hub offering a daily dose of small business tips and project management advice. They've even been kind enough to publish articles from our very own CEO, Curt Finch. 

Below is a great article about how a few weak links can ruin the whole chain. Visit their site for the full scoop.

I’m sure you’ve seen advice regarding employee bonus and incentive systems, including some that are quite complex. The idea is that, to achieve a high-performance workplace, you need to motivate employees and achieve maximum efficiency.

None of this is wrong, but I often suggest another strategy that surprises a lot of people: get rid of the bad employees. It may be harsh, but it’s also true: the best thing you can do for your good workers and your company is to separate under-performing and marginal workers.

Statistically, there are always employees who seem disengaged or apathetic and some who are even working against the organization. Then there are those who are impaired by drugs or drink. Some may have problems that may, in some circumstances, be a danger to themselves or other employees. They should be separated from the company.

Another group is even more difficult: those who are not bad enough to terminate, but aren’t good enough to be retained. These are the marginal producers.

Marginal employees produce errors, inaccuracies and affect the morale of the work group. These employees demand a larger percentage of managerial attention. Sometimes, they benefit from a wake-up call from their supervisor, but often they just lower the standards for the rest of the work group. Identifying and dealing with these employees may be among the most difficult challenges that managers face.

In many companies, the problem is simply ignored. But a marginal employee’s co-workers know who the trailing workers are and expect something appropriate to be done. When something is not done, they tend to turn on the manager for his or her dereliction.

Continue reading...

 

April 16, 2014

oil worker at sunriseAs oil prices stabilize and production continues to grow, the oil and gas industry has the need to continuously focus on controlling costs. According to a recent Reuters article, the rapid growth of oil production activity worldwide has led to an increase in equipment and operating costs, as well as a shortage in specialized workers.   What this means is that companies must reduce their per-unit costs in order to grow their profits. 

Fortunately, improvements in rural cellular coverage and mobile technology offer a solution. Companies can now track their data electronically, offering visibility into and control over their lift costs. And with oil prices moderating, controlling costs may be one of the only ways to get a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded field. 

Untapped Data

The oil and gas industry has always generated a vast amount of data captured through oil wells, process equipment, financial operations, and pipeline and refining operations. But until recently, this data has not been adequately managed or leveraged by E&P companies of all sizes for business insights. In many cases, the data remained fragmented and underutilized on various paper spreadsheets.

While companies know how important cost data is to their business, they may not have had the means to accurately track their costs in real-time. As the oil and gas industry has become increasingly manufacturing oriented, dependence on timely data has increased as well.  Companies must process the streaming data from remote drilling sites and make quick decisions about equipment, personnel, and safety. Additionally, with the current high cost of labor and demands on equipment, errors and delays are more and more costly. Accurate, timely information has never been more important.

New Connectivity

Improved cellular and internet connectivity in rural areas offers a new way to gather, store and leverage information. Historically, cellular coverage was slow to deploy in remote areas because of lower density populations. This is great news for oil companies, as most now have access to wireless coverage in remote locations.

Because of improved availability of mobile access, companies can now track information via sophisticated software, rather than relying on paper spreadsheets. Advances in mobile technology make it much simpler for field workers to log pertinent data in real-time via smartphone or tablet.

Tracking Lift Costs

E&Ps know firsthand that monitoring and controlling lift costs is very important. According to the most recent data from the Energy Information Agency, the total upstream cost (finding and lifting) for producing oil averages $33.76 per BOE (operating costs + finding costs) in the U.S. Prices are expected to decline modestly due to non-OPEC supply growth and still tepid developed country demand.

Monitoring lift costs – including costs associated with transportation, labor, supplies, supervision, pump operation, electricity, and other expenses – is made much more efficient through the use of a Web-based time and expense tracking system with mobile capabilities. On-site workers can track time, expenses, and equipment usage on a per-project basis. The best systems will integrate with and feed this data into your accounting/ERP system.

This data allows companies to know their costs in real-time, tracked directly at the source. This makes it easier to spot potential problems and avert them before they slow production. But the real value lies in consolidating and leveraging this data over time. 

Moving Business Forward

Better knowledge of costs gives companies a better understanding of where money is spent and which areas of production are most or least profitable. For example, real-time data tracking can uncover overlooked expenses, such as the cost of refurbishing transportation trucks between sites. These uncovered expenses can then be charged back to the appropriate parties, lowering overall costs.

Additionally, tracking employee time and equipment usage by project allows companies to reduce non-productive time and optimize employee allocations. According to the aforementioned Reuters article, oil, gas, and pipeline employees are some of the best-paid employees in the U.S. For example, Texas workers take home around $15,000 a month. At this expense, it is imperative that companies allocate employees properly to maximize productivity and profits.

And perhaps most importantly, by tracking site data over time, companies can establish reliable key performance indicators (KPIs) against which current and future projects can be accurately assessed. Companies can more precisely predict how a new lease will perform by analyzing historical data from similar operations, improving cost estimates and lease evaluations. Integrated historical data also helps companies assess health, safety, and environmental impact, which are all increasingly important factors in the face of new, stricter regulations.

The oil and gas industry is facing a huge opportunity with improved mobile connectivity in the field. This improvement allows for the subsequent benefit of more accurate data collection at the source. If E&P companies pursue these new opportunities to automate the capture of real-time cost data at the source, they will be better positioned to compete effectively going forward.

About the Author: Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Founded in 1996, Journyx offers customers two solutions to reach the highest levels of profitability: Journyx – project, time and expense tracking software – and Journyx PX – resource management software that provides work and financial forecasting for a complete picture of project and budget status, employee time and availability. Journyx has thousands of customers worldwide, including Chaparral, Schlumberger, BP, Crate&Barrel, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Callaway Golf, Honeywell and many others. For more information, visit www.journyx.com/oil

April 14, 2014

It’s that time again for our Monday Link-Ups! For today, we're turning our focus toward our Project Manager friends. Here at Journyx, we have a place in our hearts for those stressing about balancing the scales of big projects.

So, want to live like (un)common people? Here are a few resources we've found that we think might be helpful, whether you have a bird’s eye view or you’re down in the dregs of it all. Have resources to add? Let us know in the comment section below!

  • PMI Global Congress 2014 will be congregating on October 26-28, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona!
  • The 2014 Spring CPE Conference is almost here to bring you all-you-can-learn seminars and project manager A-listers on June 6, 2014 in Chester, Philadelphia.
  • SmallBusinessTrends.com is the hub for all things newsworthy with well, small business trends and project management tips alike.
  • The International Community for Project Managers brings together the important tips and tricks and gives it to you straight. It’s a great tool for those just wanting the greatest hits for project managers and CEO’s.
  • The Project Box is a group of consultants who also happen to dole out some great (free) advice on their blog. 

Here's some other great Google+ and LinkedIn groups we've found where the Project Management Community is thriving:

These are a few of our favorite things. Did we miss any resources that would be great additions to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

April 10, 2014

CIO meeting groupOur friends at SmallBusinessTrends.com are leading authorities of articles ranging from a wide array of topics such as managerial advice to marketing ideas to people wanting a little humor. In fact, they are renown for bringing incredibly informative and articulated ideas to an engaging audience of avid readers. They've even been kind enough to publish works from our very own CEO, Curt Finch. IBM heralded a survey studying 1,600 CIO's around the world. 

Below are the results of the study. Head on over to their site to read the full article.

Who Exactly Did IBM Survey?

They surveyed:

  • 1,656 Chief Information Officers (CIOs)
  • 884 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)
  • 576 Chief Finance Officers (CFOs)
  • 342 Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs)
  • 524 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs)
  • 201 Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs)

That’s a lot of chiefs – sharing vital insights for building better businesses.

According to the study, it appears leaders’ priorities are shifting from intra-enterprise efficiency and productivity to a new agenda led by the front office – focused on extra enterprise engagement, transparency, collaboration and dialogue with clients.

It seems today’s digitally enfranchised and empowered customers are leading CIOs on a new path, one that demands collaborative technologies designed for today’s 24/7 mobile workforce.

Highlights of the IBM Study Include:

  • More than 80 percent of CIOs aim to digitize their front offices within the next few years to sync with customers more efficiently – signaling a great trend toward collaborative technologies.
  • More than 80 percent of CIOs intend to focus on two key initiatives: Using analytics to create deep insights from structures and unstructured data and implementing leading-edge technologies, processes and tools in the front office to better understand and sync with customers.
  • CIOs recognize that extracting meaningful, actionable insights from collected information will require a vastly robust information architecture to fully leverage big data.
  • Over the next few years, 84 percent of CIOs plan to invest in mobility solutions, another 84 percent on business analytics and optimization, 64 percent on cloud computing and another 64 percent on internal collaboration and social networking.

Continue reading...

April 9, 2014

 

accounting costsFinding a timesheet solution is a difficult task for any company. There is a huge learning curve in the buying process; a large amount of time taken to train employees; and communication that must happen with your provider’s support team when a problem arises. But what if your timesheet software provider called it quits, as has happened to many businesses when Quickbooks discontinued its Time Tracker & Time and Billing Manager, or when Microsoft Dynamics announced the discontinuation of Business Portal - leaving customers with the only option of an overly-simplified web-only time management tool?

Following are our top 6 tips that will help you navigate this difficult situation.

1. Protect Your Data

Create copies of your data and save it in multiple, secure locations.  Save it in the cloud, save it on desktops, save it on the network, etc. Even go so far as to make backups for your backups, in case one source is corrupted or gets hacked. Many people even encrypt their data in case it gets stolen or hacked, so the info can remain safe and intact. 

2. Create a List of Essentials

Next, write down all the features that were absolutely essential for your business that were in the expiring product, and then list out the features that were just plain handy to have. Once you’ve written down what made the old solution a good fit, write down what was lacking in the product. One of those requirements will probably be quick implementation, so a word of warning…

3. There is No Quick, Magic Fix

Vendors who claim two-day rollout times are just flat-out lying to you. They’re preying on your sense of panic of being deserted by your old provider. And trust me; they know what’s happening in the timesheet industry. You want to work with a vendor that will create a perfect fit for your company in a timely manner.

4. SaaS Flexibility Allows Early Rollouts

To accomplish your requirement for a fast roll-out, consider SaaS solutions. SaaS is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over the Internet.

In an early rollout, the vendor lets you temporarily use the SaaS site while your IT shop deploys the machine purchased for your local installation. With SaaS, you also get the benefits of server protection (sending back-up information to the vendor) and easier upgrades (you get a test site during the upgrade process that requires no hardware purchases on your part). 

project managers5. Don’t Rely on Canned Demos

You have the power to demand that any vendor prove that their solution will solve your company’s specific business problem. You deserve a detailed demonstration that uses your employee list, customer list, project list, your company’s logo and color scheme, and that provides reports on your data that will prove to you that your business problem is solved.  If a vendor can’t make you 100 percent certain that the solution will work for your specific business needs, then walk away.  

6. How’s the Support Team?

You don’t need another bad experience, especially when it comes to the software’s support team. Be wary of static, outdated FAQ lists and support staff that is part of the sales team. When support is part of the sales force, you only get help as a prospect. Once they’ve got your money, getting help is difficult. Questions to ask to pinpoint the effectiveness of the support team include:

  1. What is your support staff response time?
  2. What percentage of your customers renews their maintenance contracts each year?
  3. Can I talk to three recent customers that are in my industry and are about my size?

Your new vendor should be capable of early rollouts, server protection and simple upgrades.  You have the right to demand responsive support and a tailored demo with your company’s information. Just because you were left high and dry by your old provider doesn’t mean you can’t find an even better solution for your company moving forward.

Had any timesheet problems like these? Let us know in the comment section below!

April 7, 2014

People working togetherHappy Monday, everyone! For today, we're giving a little bit of attention to the Microsoft Dynamics community and its resources. Here at Journyx, we have a special focus in the Microsoft Dynamics space whether your attention is in GP, NAV, AX or SL.

Here are a few resources we've found that we think might be helpful - whether you're a VAR or an ISV. Have resources to add? Speak up in the comment section below!

  • GPUG Summit 2014 will be coming up later this year October 14-17 in St. Louis!
  • AX Technical Conference may have already passed, but you can check out highlights here
  • Microsoft Dynamics World is the most popular source for all things newsworthy in the Microsoft Dynamics community.
  • The Partner Channel is the premier hub for everything related to Dynamics Partners whether it's sales, marketing, or other resources - connecting people to ISV's and more around the globe.
  • Forbes has an entire subset of it's publication devoted to its friends in the Microsoft Dynamics community, shedding light and breaking news to the Dynamics industry.

Here's some other great LinkedIn groups we've found where the Dynamics community is alive in social interaction and online conversation:

We're interested in learning all we can about the Microsoft Dynamics community. Did we miss any resources that would be great additions to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Microsoft Dynamics

 

April 4, 2014

We love our friends over at Microsoft Dynamics World. They are THE authoritative source on all things Dynamics and they've even been kind enough to publish quite a few articles written by our own CEO, Curt Finch. At the Convergence show in March of this year, MSDW editor Jason Gumpert sat down with Dynamics GP MVPs, including Belinda Allen, Frank Hamelly, Mark Polino, and Mariano Gomez.

Below is an excerpt of his Q&A with them. Head on over to his site to read the full article.

MSDW: How has the event gone for you this week?

Belinda: This is like Belinda's BI Week. Everything I've done is BI related and it's amazing.

I've been hearing that partners are finding it helpful to lead with BI when talking to prospects. Do you see that?

All: Yes.

Belinda: I think people are becoming more and more aware of the accessibility of data.

Mark: I think there are cases where VARs get burned by a CEO that picked the [ERP solution] with the shiny dashboard even though it doesn't have the functionality they need.

Frank: Well, at the end of the day, what is an ERP system for? It's for disseminating business intelligence. Period.

Mariano: Customers are understanding more that the purpose of collecting all this information is to provide the right metrics and analysis for their business. Ultimately, a GL transaction or a sales order entry transaction doesn't tell you much about your business. It's how you choose to visualize that information and analyze it to drive profitability or even reduce your expenses. That's ultimately what it comes down to.

Mark: And I think some of this is maturity in GP. We have more and more customers who have been on GP for [at least] a couple of years and they're coming to Convergence year after year and they're past "I don't know how to enter a transaction" or "I don't know how to pull my financial statements and they now say "How do I get real value now that I know how to use this thing?"

Continue reading...

April 2, 2014

Congratulations to WaterGroup Pty, LTD on being chosen as Journyx Customer of the Month for April!

“We’ve been using Journyx for over 8 years, running it on our own server, and absolutely love it. Best time recording system there is out there. Seeing how much easier it is to run it in the cloud and how painless the transition was, I wish we would have moved over earlier. It would have been cheaper for us,” says Guenter Hauber-Davidson, Managing Director of WaterGroup. “We’re all about (water) efficiency, including our own smart monitoring system. What our system does for our customers’ water use is what Journyx does for our time: measure it so we can understand where it goes, and therefore save water, time and money!  You guys are absolutely awesome. We have never had an upgrade go without any hiccups, and literally happen overnight. You guys have absolutely excelled.”

A leading Australian-based water-solutions company and Journyx customer since 2007, WaterGroup secures “water and saves money through cost effective and sustainable solutions”. In operation since 2006, WaterGroup has gone on to develop major environmentally and economically sustainable tools to harvest cleaner water resources.  Learn more about WaterGroup here.

April 2, 2014

Typically, the implementation of a time and attendance system falls to a company’s human resources department. However, it is absolutely critical that top executives become involved. If not, they are missing the chance to facilitate greater profitability throughout the entire company.executive team

There is a shift happening in our world today from capital businesses to people businesses. This is a shift of valuing time as much as money.  About 50 years ago, when most people labored in a factory, workers were not considered volunteers, they were not empowered, and managing the money of the company (i.e. the capital) was much more important than maximizing the time and knowledge of the worker. Such businesses are called capital businesses because power and wealth flowed directly from the capital.

Today, capital businesses are on the wane and developed world’s economy is moving towards people businesses. Simple manufacturing has moved overseas, primarily to China and India. Software, entertainment, consulting, design and architecture exemplify people businesses, but increasingly, even traditional manufacturing businesses, like Toyota and Ford, win through design and intellect rather than through excellence in manual labor on the shop floor.

People businesses - like software companies and architecture firms - don’t track employee time to properly manage their employees. If they do it all (and they should), it is to understand costs and automate billing, and to a lesser extent, to track salary, paid time off, or to pay hourly knowledge workers correctly. The time data that is collected, if collected appropriately, can also be used to automate project management (project accounting, project tracking and project estimation improvement), as well as for internal, external and reverse billing automation. 

If an executive team running a company really acts like a team – an integrated, diverse, synergistic group of people with shared vision and goals - then the system that he or she implements must serve the whole company, not just to automate payroll or benefits management. In order for time tracking to work, top executives need to be as invested in the system as anyone else in the company. 

Have more tips like these? Let us know in the comment section below!

 

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