Time Cockpit is Built for Knowledge Workers!

Friday, May 7, 2010 by Rainer Stropek

The importance of time cockpit’s primary target market, the tertiary sector of economy, has been constantly growing since the 70s. There is no indication that this trend will be slowing down in the near future. Within the European Union for example 74% of all non-financial companies are in the service sector.

Average number of employees

The service sector is characterized by companies that are rather small. The average Austrian company working in the non-financial service industry has 6.7 employees. On a European level this number is even smaller: 5.3 employees per company in this business sector. This is very different from other sectors. The average industrial company for instance employs approximately three times as many people as the average service firm. Additionally the service sector has always been an area in which a lot of people work as freelancers (=self-employed people without employees). In Europe there have been approximately 6 million freelancers in the service sector in 2005.

If you compare the ratio of personnel expenditure to sales revenue for a typical Austrian service company with an average Austrian business in the industry branch, it is obvious that the ratio is twice as high in the service enterprise. This fact can be observed on a European level as well. The amount of money spent for personnel in service firms is more than double the amount spent on average in the whole non-financial economy. It is obvious that tracking time is absolutely necessary for the service branch! Unfortunately traditional resource tracking systems are not sufficient. The average accuracy of the historical resource data on software development projects is for instance “less than 60%. That is, 40% of the total effort devoted to software projects is unrecorded via standard resource tracking systems” (Source: Software Productivity Research).

In the first run time cockpit’s primary target market are typical service companies or departments up to 20 employees that have a strong need for detailed time tracking data due to the reasons mentioned above. The product will include enough functions in the areas of planning and invoicing to make it a suitable solution for small companies and teams. According to our experience and to interviews that have been done in the past larger companies have existing software solutions in place for billing (e.g. ERP solutions) and data analysis (e.g. DWH or BI solutions). To support this time cockpit is equipped with a powerful SDK to implement interfaces for exchanging data.

time cockpit can be tailored to the customers’ needs to a very high degree. Users can customize data structures, validation rules, forms, lists, etc. without programming. Additionally the product offers ways to extend and customize its look-and-feel as well as its behaviour in a very fundamental way by using programming tools based on Microsoft .NET technology and scripts (DLR). With this partners are able to embed time cockpit seamlessly into their own solutions and fit the product to certain vertical markets.

The graphical user interface is a crucial factor of success for time cockpit. We believe that the quality, efficiency, ergonomics and even aesthetics of the user interface will separate successful from unsuccessful software products in the future. time cockpit is not only a functionally rich application, it is also a beautiful application that users will employ with pleasure. We have tried to combine new forms of visualizing time tracking data with well-known visualizations (e.g. calendar-view) which makes it as easy as possible to track, check and audit time data to reduce the costs for implementing and training. time cockpit is more than the electronic version of a paper based-time sheet!

(c) iStockPhoto, http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup.php?id=10646398The real difference of time cockpit compared to its competitors is semi-automatic time tracking. The idea behind this functionality is to use “electronic footprints” (e.g. using computers, mobile phones, GPS-enabled devices, using software, access devices, etc.) that every one of us leaves behind to intelligently derive suggestions for time bookings. Our vision is that a user will not track her time by writing it down manually. She will pursue her job while time cockpit collects her “footprints” and at the end of the day, week or month she uses time cockpit’s stunning graphical user interface to finish her time bookings in a fraction of the time it took her before. Think of a consultant who receives a phone call from her most important customer in the evening at home. She supports her customer for over an hour. Before she might have forgotten to take note of the time. time cockpit reads the mobile phone’s call log, recognizes the telephone number and suggest a time tracking record for another billable hour. A software developer could work on three different projects during the course of a single day. time cockpit automatically tracks the time he worked on which project, offers appropriate time tracking records and even knows which project is assigned to which customer. 

comments powered by Disqus