This is a guest blog post from Lisette Paras of Replicon.
Time is money. Time is precious. That was a waste of time.
There are dozens of cliches focusing on the commodity of time and where time is considered valuable, it must be protected at all costs. In the business world, it comes as no surprise that for many organizations – including consulting firms, retail stores, and manufacturing plants – keeping track of the hours people work in a day is necessary. Whether it’s filling in a timesheet on the web or on a mobile device, or clocking in and out of a shift, timesheets are the windows into understanding an organization’s productivity and profitability.
So how is this important for your workflow? Because time tracking is so central to business operations, it makes sense to integrate this data into other core systems so that you have a comprehensive, real-time view of your labor costs and can make more insightful decisions. Business applications are becoming more mainstream, more intuitive and more consumerized, but when it comes to migrating the data to other apps, it can be a complicated process. One of the biggest challenges is ensuring the information is integrated accurately, quickly and securely. And if this isn’t done well, companies turn to time-consuming, labor-intensive manual integrations, or call on additional IT or developer resources to solve the issue.
According to Gartner, mobile app development is also driving further pressures on businesses to enable effective app integration. With demand for enterprise mobile apps outstripping available development capacity five to one, enterprises are struggling to rapidly develop, deploy and maintain mobile apps to meet this demand, and are grappling to hire developers with good mobile skills.
Fortunately, using Workato, companies are empowered to build, deploy and manage integrations from hundreds of business applications – no coding required. Replicon, a Workato partner and time tracking app, integrates with virtually any payroll, HR, project management, finance or ERP system to help companies increase productivity, improve profitability, and achieve wage and hour compliance. To gain greater benefits from your time tracking system, here are three examples where integration makes a world of difference.
1. Core HR → Time Tracking → Payroll
A main source for employee data is the core HR system which includes information such as an employee’s address, social security number, tax status, benefit status, and other aspects of employee performance. Companies such as Namely, which provide HR, payroll and benefits, can integrate with Replicon to import specific employee information, such as employee names, employee ID numbers, email addresses, start date and login information to commence time tracking against activities.
Once all employees have entered their hours into their time tracking application, the time cards need to be reviewed and approved by their managers. The final integration would be with a company’s payroll system, to ensure that employees are reimbursed for the time incurred and so that businesses can understand their labor costs. Payroll systems such as QuickBooks or Xero can capture employee’s hours and wages as well as manage the company’s overall finances.
It seems obvious that Core HR, Time Tracking, and Accounting apps should all share data, however this is not readily the case. It’s important that they work together to reduce errors, make sure employees are paid accurately and on time, and have full records of all your employees and their work activity.
2. CRM → Talent Management → Time Tracking & Expense Reports → Accounting
To increase revenue, many organizations use a CRM application such as Salesforce to track all sales activity, including information on the lead, its status, and the likelihood that the opportunity will convert into billable projects for the business.
When a lead closes, this data should integrate with a talent management system to identify the right people to work on the project. As projects are increasingly collaborative between virtual, remote and geographically dispersed teams, talent management systems can readily identify teammates with the right skillset, proficiency level and availability to guarantee efficiency to a project. The team should start to track their time on a regular basis, and dedicated expense management systems such as Concur and Expensify can connect with time tracking applications so that projects are completed on time and on budget.
The last integration for billable projects is with a company’s accounting system, which can use the data on how much time and costs were related to each project to automatically create and send customized client invoices.
3. Project Management → Time Tracking
By centralizing departments such as human resources, IT and finance, large organizations can experience significant labor savings while standardizing processes across the business. For the most part, shared services centers make a lot of sense.
However, when it comes to planning and tracking internal costs, the ability to track how much time is being spent on a task is also required to ensure accurate charge backs to a particular department, to adjust headcount when necessary, or to meet regulatory requirements.
This is where using applications like Jira for software teams, ServiceNow for service management, and Google Sheets for internal project management can come in handy. Depending on the need, project management tools can integrate with time tracking applications to share insights on activities for better insights into costs, projects and resources.
Whether your business is looking to capture time in a basic manner or for more sophisticated client billing or project costing requirements, time tracking applications have a critical role to play in each scenario. It’s no longer viable for companies to adopt siloed applications – to make the most out of each app, integration must be a clear consideration during the evaluation and implementation process. Rather than relying on subpar in-app connections for each task, powerful integrations are available to drive greater ROI and business growth at every step.
About the Author:
Lisette Paras is a content writer at Replicon, which provides time and attendance, professional services management and other workforce management tools to support thousands of customers worldwide. Prior to joining Replicon, Lisette worked with a wide range of startup to Fortune 100 enterprise technology companies in the Asia Pacific and North America regions, in areas as diverse as cloud, big data, mobility, storage and semiconductors.