Time Tracking at Mea IT Services with Time Cockpit
„More IT Service“, that’s what the two entrepreneurs Michael Ulm and Elisabeth Winterheller want to offer to their customers. In Styria where their company is based, people pronounce “more” as “mea” – thus for mea IT Services the name says it all. The main area of expertise of the team of five is IT-consulting for small and medium businesses (SMB). The team is a full-service provider for web projects covering everything from design over development to hosting. Recently they added social media consulting to their range of services as they have seen many SMBs not realizing the full potential of new media like Facebook, Xing & Co today. For this interview we spoke with Elisabeth Winterheller and asked her how she masters the organizational challenges in a growing startup company.
Attendance Tracking to Prevent Work Overload
At mea IT Services, time tracking has both an internal and an external aspect. Ms. Winterheller tells us that time tracking helps her to keep an overview on working times and available hours per employee. It is important to her that working hours of employees stay within reasonable bounds to prevent work overload.
“Our employees organize their work freely. They do not always work in the office. Instead they sometimes work at the customer or even in their home offices. Everyone knows that the work has to be done. How and when they do it is organized by themselves. In such an environment we as the team’s managers need time tracking to stay on top of things”, Ms. Winterheller describes.
Project Invoicing and Calculation
The second area in which time tracking is crucial for mea IT Services is billing. Ms. Winterheller says: “Fixed-price projects are approximately half of our business. The other half are projects where we only agree on a target price. Latter projects are charged based on the effective hours of work. In both cases project time tracking is essential.
In projects with a variable price we use it for monthly billing. For fixed-priced projects it is the basis for final costing. Thereby we calculate how well we have estimated in the corresponding project. Just today we had to create an offer for a new fixed-price web project. We took a similar project which we did in the past, looked at our former estimations and compared them with the effective working times in our time tracking database. Based on this we could efficiently create a reliable offer for our customer.”
Long-Time Use of Time Cockpit
Michael Ulm had used time cockpit as a freelancer before founding mea IT Services. He suggested to use time cockpit in the new company, too. Ms. Winterheller remembers: “We have used time cockpit since the foundation of our company. The software convinced me because it is easy to use. Especially my colleagues who focus mainly on entering working times understand time cockpit immediately. I could also handle more complex topics like billing or vacation management by taking a look at the software’s documentation. I really value the support that time cockpit provides for my job.”
No Complex Customization or Implementation Project
Ms. Winterheller describes that mea IT Services uses time cockpit without any complex customizations: “We use time cockpit as it comes out of the box. Neither did we need to sophisticatedly customize it nor did we need a time-consuming implementation project. The only thing we tailored to our specific needs is the export of time sheet records into Excel. We attach such Excel sheets when we send invoices to our customers. For the export we created our own template that we structured exactly the way we need it.”
Activity Log for Recovering Working Times
Every employee at mea IT Services knows that project time tracking is crucial because it is the basis for billing. Ms. Winterheller says: “In the team we agreed on booking time sheet records accurate to 15 minutes. Billing is done at the beginning of the following month and everyone knows that latest at that time, data in time cockpit has to be complete.
Sometimes time tracking cannot be updated every single day. From my own experience I know that during a busy week I need to fully concentrate on my projects. I don’t want to bother with time tracking. In such cases I make intense use of time cockpit’s activity log and time cockpit’s integration of Microsoft Outlook. With the signals in the activity log I can accurately recover what I have done without taking any manual notes. Thus I can be sure that no billable hours get lost.”
Mea IT Services is favorable to SaaS solutions. However, they pay attention to the trustworthiness of the particular service providers. “Time cockpit is not the only cloud service that we use. For instance for project management we use Jira. In our opinion not having to care for the infrastructure for such applications is a competitive advantage for us. It enables us to concentrate on our core competencies”, Ms. Winterheller describes.
“The pay-as-you-go pricing model of SaaS is ideal for small companies like us. We do not need to make large upfront investments. Instead we only pay for what we really need. Recently we benefitted from this model in time cockpit when we had a trainee for only a few weeks.”
Time Cockpit Grows With Us
“I think with time cockpit we have chosen the right software. It perfectly fits our needs. Being a SaaS solution, time cockpit grows with us – not only with regards to the number of users but also concerning our functional needs. With time tracking on paper or in Excel you would sink into chaos”, Ms. Winterheller summarizes.
Thank you for the interview, Ms. Winterheller.