In part one of this two-part series, we discussed the advantages of a time tracking system, and how it can greatly simplify your organization’s payroll process. We also looked at how important it is to carefully assess your needs and plan accordingly.
In this part, we’ll look at how to choose the right system once you understand your needs, as well as how you can ensure a successful rollout.
- Selection: How to Choose
The number one mistake that people make when choosing a timesheet vendor is falling for a deceptive demo. You must require a detailed demonstration that is fully customized with your employee list, customer list, project list, company logo and color scheme, as well as a demo that shows you data that will prove to you that your business problem is solved. If a vendor does not make you feel absolutely certain about your choice, then look elsewhere. Trust your gut on this one.
You also need to consider issues such as support and trial usage. Ask about the vendor’s automated helpdesk tool, as well as whether the support staff is part of the sales team or not. If they are, you are probably more of a priority as a potential buyer than as a customer. You should also seek a trial version of the software that allows you to use it for more than fifteen days. Wouldn’t you like the ability to run a few payroll cycles using the software before you make your decision?
Another thing that is important to know is whether the vendor sells both traditional software and software-as-a-service (SaaS) or only offers one or the other. Not to mention what the pricing model looks like for each. Since most timesheet software is primarily web-based these days, the ideal provider should be able to do both. But what if you don’t have the faintest idea what each mean? SaaS means that you rent access to web-based software that runs on the vendor’s server instead of installing it on a server at your office. The benefits to this are:
- Easier IT: SaaS avoids burdening your IT department with yet another package to maintain. Let them focus on the core competency technologies that drive your company’s sustainable competitive advantage.
- Lower Cost/Risk: A monthly fee may be more advantageous than upfront costs. Put the risk of rollout success on the vendor. Why take all that risk?
However, even if you choose to install at your own location, SaaS can still provide many benefits:
- Early Rollouts: The vendor can let you pilot with the SaaS site until your IT department gets the machine ready for your local installation.
- Server Protection: E-mailing a backup to the vendor in case of machine failure at your local installation should let him get your system up on his site instantly in the event of a failure at your site. This avoids the cost of buying spare machines yourself.
- Easy Upgrades: The vendor should provide you with a test site during the upgrade process that requires no hardware purchase on your part.
Ask vendors about the specifics—how would you survive a power outage at your SaaS site and where is it hosted? How many connections to the Internet does your SaaS site have? How much does server protection cost? Can you rollout on the SaaS servers and later transfer the data to your own servers? Where are SaaS backup tapes stored? If a vendor promises to deliver certain tasks, do yourself a favor and get it all in writing.
- Implementation: Ensuring a Successful Rollout
Be sure to check references. Seek a reference that is a real company in your industry of your size. You will be putting your time and money into this vendor, so make sure you are completely confident that they are trustworthy before you begin this relationship. Prepare relevant questions in advance. For example, are they using the software in a way that is as complex as yours? Finding the answers to these questions and others is the important final step in choosing the correct system for your company.
Timesheet software can bring countless benefits to your company by automating the workflow of time & expense approvals. There’s no reason to continue to let the payroll blues get you down when there’s a better solution out there.