Time Tracking at Softline Group with Time Cockpit
Rene Nulsch, CEO
Softline Group was founded in 1983 and since then has developed into a recognised service provider in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. After its realignment in 2010, Softline has been focusing on the IT consulting and IT services business. It has established a number of strong international subsidiaries concentrating on IT consulting, IT support and software asset management (SAM).
The group consists of Softline AG, which acts as the holding company, and its subsidiaries Softline Solutions GmbH, Softline Systems & Services GmbH, Prometheus GmbH, XPERTLINK GmbH, Softline Solutions Netherlands B.V., Softline Solutions N.V., ASIST BVBA as well as STR S.a.r.l.. All Softline Group companies operate throughout the whole of Europe.
We are glad that several Softline Group subsidiaries have decided to use time cockpit for project time tracking. For this newsletter we have interviewed Mr. René Nulsch (see picture on the right), CEO of Softline Solutions GmbH in Leipzig, and asked him about his view on time tracking.
Time Tracking for Business Travelers
For service companies like Softline, time tracking is an inherently important topic. Softline’s IT consultants are visiting customers every day. Therefore, Mr. Nulsch looked for a time tracking software to be used regardless of where the consultants are working: “Although time tracking is of vital interest for our company, it is sometimes an unpleasant duty for our employees. Therefore, it is essential for us to have a time tracking solution that allows our constantly travelling consultants to work on their time sheets whenever they have time for it – no matter if they are online or offline, in the office, at the customer, or even travelling by train. The fact that time cockpit can fulfill this need with its offline-enabled full client was an important decision criteria for us.”
Activity Tracking and Data Protection
Team members at Softline use time cockpit in various ways: “On the one hand, colleagues working at a particular customer for a longer time period can easily assign their working time. Other users value the help that time cockpit’s activity tracking offers them, because they are working on different projects throughout a typical day in the office. However, it is for time cockpit’s privacy features that people accept the tracking features. It is very important for our employees to know that time cockpit’s activity log is private and that a central analysis is technically not possible", explains René Nulsch.
Setting Goals and Planning
Softline agrees on two important goals regarding time tracking with every employee:
- Every employee knows his agreed goals regarding billable project times. The Softline team uses time cockpit’s statistic functions in the graphical time booking calendar to keep track of it. There, every employee sees the status of all booked hours at a glance.
- The team also agreed on entering time sheet records promptly. According to Mr. Nulsch, updating time sheet once a day would be optimal. However, the minimum standard at Softline is a weekly interval for entering time sheet records. This short time frame is important for an efficient undelayed billing process.
Integration with Upstream and Downstream Data Processing
Time cockpit is fully integrated in Softline’s IT infrastructure. Mr. Nulsch says: “For cost center- and project-related calculations we need project time tracking data within our ERP system. For this purpose, the ERP offers a web service interface. We accessed this interface using time cockpit’s scripting technology without any problem. As a prerequisite for data exchange we needed to extend time cockpit’s data model. This was possible without losing the advantages of a component-of-the-shelve software.”
The various Softline subsidiaries use different time cockpit accounts (=Tenants). Thus, each team can tailor the system to their specific needs. For reporting purposes, the Softline team aggregates data from the different accounts into a central database (=Data Mart). It is used to create consolidated, long-term reports and analysis with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services and Microsoft Office Excel Power Pivot. The results are published using Softline’s SharePoint-based intranet.
Software as a Service
Mr. Nulsch emphasizes that SaaS is attractive for Softline mainly because of the flexible pricing model: “Because of our growth and temporary cooperation with external specialists, our team changes constantly. Therefore, we value the flexible pricing of time cockpit. We only pay for the effective number of users exact to the day.”
In addition to the browser client, time cockpit is available as a Microsoft Windows full-client application to offer a feature-rich offline client. To make migrating to new releases as frictionless as possible, Softline uses automatic software distribution. Mr. Nulsch: “All employees have time cockpit installed on their PCs allowing them to enter their time sheet records whenever they need to. If necessary – for instance when working on a customer’s PC – they can access time cockpit using a browser client.”
Quality of Support as a Real Differentiator
Asked for what Mr. Nulsch especially likes about time cockpit, he mentions product support: “The excellent quality of support differentiates time cockpit from competitors. Regardless of whether we have questions during rolling out a new time cockpit release or about the API – time cockpit’s support team helps with words and deeds.”
We would like to thank Mr. Nulsch for the interview and are pleased about the positive feedback.
About Softline Solutions GmbH
The Softline Solutions GmbH is a vendor-independent IT consulting company based in Leipzig. The fully-owned subsidiary of Softline AG supports medium-sized customers as well as large international enterprises and the public sector in optimizing and modernizing their IT infrastructure.
In the field of infrastructure consulting, the specialists of Softline Solutions GmbH have distinctive and long lasting experience regarding the business areas software asset management (SAM), infrastructure design, IT security, virtualization, storage, unified communications, and systems management. Softline consultants use a holistic approach on IT infrastructures and have a broad set of certifications regarding project management and quality assurance in ICT projects.
You can find more information at www.softline-solutions.de.