Why Do Time Tracking Systems Fail?

Posted by Romeo Elias on Mon, Jan 29, 2007 @ 01:15 PM

On behalf of ygenc

Unfortunately, time tracking system implementations fail often. Very often. Two of the most common reasons for the high failure rate include a disconnect between the user and the beneficiary; and a disconnect between the time tracking system and other systems.

A time tracking system is utilized mainly by upper management, to review time spent as a baseline for future estimates, billing or to understand bottlenecks. The typical end-user, however, tends to look at time tracking systems with fear, assuming they are in place for the sole purpose of acting as a "big brother," monitoring loyalty along with efficiency.

The common process of clocking in, clocking out, and providing explanations for the time spent does not cut it. A complete time tracking system should monitor efficiency and ROI. The best option is to implement a time tracking system that will not put employees on the spot. Instead, it should link tracking time with the execution of related projects. Measuring efficiency is automated and reported by default, rather than summarized by crafty wordsmiths.

For the manager, there is no tangible benefit of receiving exaggerated, self-serving data. Unfortunately, estimates based on historical data, before a time tracking system was implemented, often provide more realistic impressions of what goes on in the organization. However, without the time tracking system there is less data available, and it is poorly organized.

The second point is more technical. Most time tracking systems are not linked to HR systems, project management systems or other internal systems that are part of the concise time tracking process. It is almost impossible to keep a time tracking system up-to-date without thorough, all-encompassing integration. This is especially the case in midsize or large companies, with hundreds of projects and hundreds of users. Project assignments and changes to HR policies cause parts of the typical time tracking system to become out-of-date quickly, or at least make it very expensive to maintain.

Time tracking software implementations should be tightly coupled with the system that is touching time tracking related information. Systems such as Interneer Intellect intuitively integrate time tracking with the related business processes, including project management, HR management and compliance management. Any time tracking system not integrated with the particular processes it is tracking faces a high likelihood of failure. Large and medium size businesses can not afford the loss in efficiency created by these incomplete time tracking solutions.