Time Tracking at BRAINWORX with Time Cockpit
Especially in the ever-changing IT sector, it is exciting to meet companies that keep up with the pace and have been successful for decades. One of our time cockpit customers is a prime example. For this case study we met Mr. DI Walter Moser, CEO of the Salzburg-based company BRAINWORX information technology GmbH and Ms. DI Verena Schlager, responsible for introducing time cockpit. They gave us an insight why they have been successful for years and why they decided to establish time cockpit as their time tracking solution.
Following years of successful management of the Austrian branch of the German software company DCW, Mr. Moser decided to buy out the Austrian branch of the company in 2002 and founded BRAINWORX GmbH. Since then, Mr. Moser and his team proved that it is possible to stay successful in the fast-paced world of IT if you keep being flexible and embrace constant change.
In the first years, BRAINWORX GmbH focused on the core competencies of DCW and offered ERP solutions on the AS/400 platform. When managing projects for large customers, BRAINWORX GmbH identified output- and document management as a recurring pain point. The company seized the opportunity and now offers various solutions for different aspects of output- and template management. The generation of digital and physical documents is just one field of activity. BRAINWORX GmbH also offers solutions for archiving documents, print outs for franking machines and the optimization of postage rates.
BRAINWORX employs a team of 12 and services customers in the German-speaking region and in Eastern Europe.
"If we waited for people calling us, we would not exist anymore"
A distinctive feature of BRAINWORX is how it organized sales, employing two people dedicated to sales alone. According to Mr. Moser, this is a critical factor to success: "If we waited for people calling us, we would not exist anymore. Sales and marketing are quite challenging for companies of our size. Our customers are quite big and sales processes take a while. You need a lot of patience. Closing a deal often takes years of work and building a trust relationship."
Why Time Tracking
"Just the legal necessity to keep track of the working hours of employees is not a reason to introduce a system like time cockpit", says Mr. Moser. A simple Excel worksheet would suffice for that. However, BRAINSWORX needs more than just tracking the time of attendance.
"Precise data and reports about the structure of our revenue according to licenses, maintenance and services have been important and also available ever since. However, within the services category, we lack transparency. Establishing project-based time tracking, we wanted more detailed data how project effort is structured."
Accurate Estimations as Success Factor
Mr. Moser is sure that knowing about how project effort is structured is a critical success factor. It is important not to take project estimations as granted, but regularly challenge your estimations. Only then it is possible to forecast project effort as accurately as possible.
"Potential customers tend to challenge effort estimations more and more and do not accept nebulous offers. This is because they have been blemished may times before. A lot of competitors offer at low prices, but add costs untransparently to subsequent change requests. At BRAINWORX, we deliberately go other ways. Facilitating our experience and know-how, we set apart from others by our reliability and calculability. As solid data basis on effort spent on previous projects is a precondition."
Usability is a Criterion
Mr. Moser and Ms. Schlager emphasize that usability was an important criterion when choosing time tracking software. "For us, usability means employees do not need to study a manual before using the software. The graphical time tracking calendar of time cockpit won us over in particular. The calendar applies the same principles our employees know from Microsoft Outlook.", says Ms. Schlager.
In that regard, Mr. Moser adds that for him it is very important to see various key performance indicators at first glance. That is why he appreciates the formatting profiles. "We have customized time cockpit to show billable time sheet entries in blue color. If my working week is showing up all blue, I know that it has been a successful week." Mr. Moser adds smilingly.
Ms. Schlager customized time cockpit to fit the existing processes of BRAINWORX. "Extensibility was the second criterion right after usability. A functionality that does not come in the standard package of time cockpit is travel expenses. However, we were able to add that feature by just configuring it in time cockpit. Usability and Extensibility - this package made us decide for time cockpit."
The Cloud, a Double-Edged Sword
As in every interview, we asked Mr. Moser about the way he sees the cloud and Software-as-a-Service. He tells us: "At BRAINWORX, we are not indisputably pro-cloud. Of course, cloud-computing has its advantages. In regard to time cockpit we profit from the easy usage, the fast set-up time and the availability of time cockpit no matter from where it is accessed. Above all, we value the usage-based pricing model. When it comes to cloud-computing in general, what we see rather critical is data security and the potential dependence on but a few, mostly American-based, cloud providers. You need to look at each and every use case and evaluate if the risk is worth taking."
Time cockpit is not the first step that BRAINWORX takes towards cloud computing. Microsoft Office 365 becomes more and more important and complements BRAINWORX’ product portfolio when servicing customers.
Tips from an Experienced Entrepreneur
At the end of the interview, we asked Mr. Moser for the most vital tip he can give start-up companies in terms of time tracking and organizational structure. He recommends taking project-based time tracking seriously from the beginning: "If you manage a company with many employees, time is literally money. Money is managed at your bank account and a bank statement tells you how much money you spent on what. It is the same with time. You need a tool that tells you where you spent time from your time account."
The second tip Mr. Moser gave us is to build long-lasting trust relationships with customers and suppliers. Cost- and time transparency are means to build such relationships. Mr. Moser: "A lot of companies spend time and money on brochures and mailings, but only reach a small clientele. At the same time, they view invoicing as a tedious must. However, in a way, every offer, each project report or invoice is a business card of professionalism. These things need attention to give a customer the right picture of your company."