Time Tracking Tools for Salesforce Overview Part I

9/06/14
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Salesforce CRM is one of the most comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) system that combines sales management with marketing, customer service and quality control. It helps to track deals with inbound leads and manage relationships with clients.

In this article, we look at the time-tracking functionality provided by the platform.

There are many different time-tracking tools, but after analyzing the requirements and comparing the functionality you’ll manage to choose the one that fits your needs: there is a detailed description of all of them on AppExchange.

What are the drivers for using time tracking tools?

  • Getting detailed breakdown of the efforts spent
  • Calculating rewards for hourly-paid jobs
  • Better manage and allocate workforce

Thanks to the vast possibilities of Salesforce, this data can be summarized as a table, displayed as a graph for analysis or you can apply any specific business rules to it.

For a thorough analysis we chose three well-known tools with high ratings in Google that fitted our client’s needs.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Ease of customization
  • Good level of customization is necessary to implement all of the customer’s desires, whatever they may be. The first tool under question is very convenient and seems to have everything necessary, however, it is a third-party tool and the abilities to customize it are quite limited by the developers.

  • Application Support level
  • For example, there are many both managed and unmanaged packages on AppExchange. The difference is that managed ones are supported by the author of the app, they are full and completed. They can be updated like regular applications. If you have a choice then choose the managed apps, as you will know that someone is looking after it, fixing possible bugs and improving the functionality.

  • Price
  • This is awesome if the tool you’ve chosen fits the first three points. If it is free at the same time, that’s even better.

  • The completeness of functions
The set of necessary functions for a perfect time tracking tool is as follows:
  • The ability to add and modify timesheet record,
  • Set the reason for a timesheet,
  • Attach it to a particular project and add a description,
  • Assign connected record to a timesheet as a reason,
  • Approve a timesheet or get a notification.

The more the tool is capable of doing the less time you spend customizing it.

To make it more representational, we’ve made a table of all needed features so you can compare abilities of all three tools that we will analyze throughout later in this series of articles.

In this first article we will look closer at the tool called “Hourly Timesheets for Payroll, Project Timesheet Time Tracking for Billing”, next two on “Time Tracking” and “Time Track” will follow.

Hourly Timesheets for Payroll, Project Timesheet Time Tracking for Billing

https://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N300000016cOjEAI — direct link to the package for Salesforce.
https://www.timesheets.com/ — page of the tool (can be used without Salesforce).
To use it, you have to register at timeclockonline.com.

One of the many advantages of the platform under question is the wide range of options for tracking time.

However, all this is not for free. Each user has the option of getting a ten day trial account. The pricelist is as follows:

Two users — $ 9 per month, $ 99 per year
10 users— $ 45 / $ 495
20 users —$ 90 / $ 990

You can also purchase an additional feature “Photo Timestamp” that will make pictures of the user using their webcam from time to time.
Full pricelist can be viewed here: https://www.timesheets.com/default.cfm?page=Pricing.

Personal impression

Interface.

  1. The window is small and not adjustable, and though you can choose the width I didn’t find an option to change its height. The only way here is to scroll right in the window, although there is plenty of space under the tab.
  2. Far too many settings, which is a real disadvantage as you can hardly find the one that you need. The interface is clearly overloaded.
  3. You can set working hours for each employee including lunch break, and take in account all overwork hours, price per hour and bonuses. Timesheets can be signed with an electronic signature. A number of other users can be assign to a user, as well as projects and clients can be added in the next tab.
  4. Automatic time-tracking. There is a special “clock in/clock out” that can turn tracking on and off. There is also an option for manual editing of timesheets.
    You also have the option of filling reports with several alternative values: Sick, Vacation, Holiday, Unpayable/Salaried, PTO.
  5. Payment depends on the settings of the user, the project and the customer. You can add or change whatever you want, everything is quite flexible.
  6. Timesheets can be submitted with or without approval
  7. There are reports and graphs for the user and the project. It seems quite reasonable. But since the data is stored on the side of the service provider there is no way to do something customized on the side of Salesforce.
    There are also weekly reports that you receive by email.
  8. The last thing is a “daily comics” section. The developers obviously didn’t know what else to add. This is nice, but the interface is overloaded without the need for comics.

Salesforce Integration

Integration is minimal. The only interaction with existing objects is two fields for username and password for automatic login.

Several "Don't Use" tabs are added upon installation with descriptions that say “This tab is old. Use the new "TimeclockOnline.com" tab instead” — visual garbage, but it doesn’t get in the way too much.

All of the data is kept on the side of the service provider – there are no objects. Tabs use simple VisualForce pages with controllers on the side of https://salesforce.timeclockonline.com. What that means is that there is no way to automate something using triggers or your own methods or integrate your custom objects. There are several S-Controls included with the package; they can be embedded into a Salesforce page instead of adding a separate tab.

After I registered on www.timeclockonline.com, I received a letter from the manager with a proposal to talk more about the service. I asked several technical questions and received answers from a technical assistant.

Next year, I’m planning a deeper integration with Salesforce. Right now, the application is installed as a separate tab. You can add additional settings in the Setup Wizard and adjust various lists.

All in all, the service really is rich with possibilities. The support is very responsive. That being said, we would not receive any benefits from integrating it with SalesForce. We cannot use SalesForce triggers, workflows, Email notifications and reports based on data from the Time tracking tool.

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