Time Tracking Tools for Salesforce Overview Part II


In the previous part of this article we made a summary sheet comparing three different time tracking tools for Salesforce, and made a throughout analysis of “Hourly Timesheets for Payroll, Project Timesheet Time Tracking for Billing”. This time, let’s look closer at “Time Tracking” and “Time Track”

Time Tracking

https://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N300000016bTgEAI is the Salesforce package page

Log the amount of hours worked on a particular service trip. You can track the type of service that you performed, the date of service, and add notes as needed. Each Service Timecard should be associated with the relevant Contract by the customer's service Contract number.
If your company also uses the Supportforce application, you may associate Service Timecards with particular Cases that were logged requesting a Service Visit.

Unlike the previous service, which thinks “free” is a 10-day trial period, this one really is free. The package adds the "Service Timecard" object and two tabs.
The first one, "About Time Tracking", is purely for information – a description of the project.

The second, "Service Timecard", is a standard Salesforce-style tab for the homonymous custom object + the object itself.

And that’s the whole package! No logic, no total sums, no reports not even any Validation Rules.
You have to do it all yourselves. All the package adds (the object and the tabs) can be made by yourself without this in an hour.

The package is distributed as an Unmanaged Package, i.e. it doesn’t include automatic updates or any other form of support. Unlike the previous nominee, this one isn’t a service. And based on the Service Performed choices, it’s targeted at support administrators.
All in all: This package can only be regarded as a draft version upon which to build your system.

I wasn’t satisfied with either of these packages so I kept looking.

Time Track

https://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N30000001qKTYEA2 is the Salesforce package page.

App by American Data Company
The second generation of American Data Company’s Timer is a powerful tool for any organization interested in tracking time. With an enhanced user interface, this new release also empowers organizations to associate time with any standard or custom object.
Released 10/27/2009

  • Track time against any object via a standalone web based timer
  • Enhanced user experience
  • 100% native to Salesforce.com

Package Details:
Name: American Data Company Timer
Version: Public / 1.3.0
Type: Managed Package
Pricing: Free

Classes are installed with a separate Namespace Prefix: vftimer. Since this is a managed package, the contents of the classes are hidden. It includes unit tests.
The only tab, "Timer Configs", contains a list of configs (records of a homonymous custom object). The configuration options provide different ways to present four fields (checkboxes):

  1. Show Subject – Require Subject
  2. Show Description – Require Description
  3. Show Work Type – Require Work Type
  4. Show Billing Type – Require Billing Type

There can be several records and the current config is marked with the Active checkbox (there cannot be two active configs at once, it’s checked with the EnforceSingleActiveConfig trigger and prompts an error message when you try to add a second).
The Require Subject, Require Description, Require Work Type and Require Billing Type checkboxes can only be checked if the corresponding Show checkbox is marked as well (Checked using Validation Rules).

The "Timed Item" object contains records on time management: - Billing Type - picklist: - Billable - Fixed Price - Gratis - Not Billable - Work Type - picklist: - Business Analysis - Consulting - Documentation - Client-Side Development - Server-Side Development - Case – an optional lookup for the standard Case object - Date Implemented - Time - Description

The "Timed Item" object doesn’t have its own tab (you can create one if you want), instead, it offers another approach. Improvements are necessary (the steps needed are described in the instructions supplied with the package), in short:

  1. Add a lookup type field to the object users are working with and the time spent on this object needs to be taken into account. What you have to do is add a “lookup” field in the "Timed Item" directory for a particular object. The time spent by a user on this object will be tracked. This lookup exists for the Case object by default. You can add your own custom or standard objects for example, to “Contact” field to write off time spent on consulting the company’s clients. There can be many connections so you can take into account the time spent while working with different kinds of records.
  2. Add a related list to the layout of the connected object so that you can see the time written off for each specific record.
  3. Add a custom button containing a link to the VisualForce page of the component. When you press the button, a timer window opens (See pic. “3. Timer window.png”) — this is the main feature of this package. In this window, you can launch/stop the timer when you start and finish working with the object, see past time write-offs.

CRM users should follow the following sequence of actions:

  1. Create or open an existing record of the object the user is working with
  2. Press the button to open the timer window
  3. Launch the timer
  4. Work with the record you opened
  5. Stop the timer. Fill the time write-off field (if there is one). Correct the timer’s value if needed.
  6. Close the timer window. Close the window with the entry the user was working on or start on the next.

Reports and graphs aren’t part of the package. However, since a simple custom objet is used to keep time management entries, it’s easy to make them yourself using standard SalesForce tools.

The timer page has an American Data Company logo. The following browsers are supported:

  1. Firefox 3.x (cross-platform)
  2. Internet Explorer 8 (Windows)
  3. Chrome 2.x (Windows)

I didn’t test it specially, but it has a small bug in Opera – button captions are doubled. A bearable oversight.

This page is part of a managed package, and as such, it’s open source but can’t be edited. You can create your own page by copying the content of the package page and edit styles or make some modifications.

All in all: a convenient and easily customizable package which is also convenient to use. All the data is kept in Salesforce, which lets you use standard Salesforce tools. Free.
I recommend it!

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