Detailed Comparison of Staff Time Tracking Software Solutions
Its 2019, and you as a business owner are plagued by the demand of increased productivity from your employees. Staff time tracking software solutions of all shapes and sizes are available – but frustratingly confusing to choose from. So, as any modern human, you turn to the internet and search something along the lines of “How to manage my staff’s time”. The search engine returns nothing short of a few hundred solutions that range in feature, function, price, suitability and complexity. All of a sudden, the search to improve your staff’s productivity has become more frustrating than your unproductive staff in the first place. So, you return to the internet and search something along the lines of “When will I be able to replace my staff with robots”.
Now, although we do not have a solution for staff replacing robots we do have a range of solutions that ensures staff are on time, in the right place, at the right time, where they will be working on value creating tasks as planned.
We at ClockInstant will do our best to help you answer this question by covering the following areas in this blog:
- Types of time tracking solutions
- Competitors in the staff time tracking industry
- Features amongst competitors
- Close alternatives amongst competitors
- Pricing amongst competitors
- What’s next?
1. Types of time tracking software
With so many time tracking options in the market, we can generally split then into two main sub-categories.
1.1 Solutions that track productivity of computer driven staff (Digitally Present Staff)
Time tracking solutions that work well if you want to monitor staff productivity on computer based tasks. This works well for Freelance, Accounting, Consulting Engineer, Design, Technology/IT, Agency and Legal employees that work either in office or remotely. Most of these solutions work on a honest system, meaning – that staff would work on certain projects and use these software tools to capture project information, hours worked and productivity levels correctly. However, we know that almost every team has that one member (let’s call him Johnny Shortcut) who likes nothing more than to cut a corner or two, for this there are many automated tracking solutions that will make sure Johnny is earning his hours and producing measurable productivity.
1.2 Solutions that track time & attendance of locational staff (Physically Present Staff)
Time and attendance tracking solutions that works well to ensure that staff are on time, in the right place, at the right time. This works well for Labour (Construction, Landscaping, Warehousing etc.), Retail, Franchise, Event/ Promotions, Tutor, Field Service and Security employees. These solutions perform more as time, attendance and locational tracking tools for staff and teams that are scheduled to be in a certain place at a certain time for a certain duration.
For this comparison we will be looking at the following time tracking software solutions:
- Time Doctor
- When I Work
- Buddy Punch
- Timesheet Mobile
2. Competitors in the staff time tracking software industry
We really weren’t joking when we said that you can find upward of a hundred time tracking software solutions online. Unfortunately, we can’t span the length and breadth of the time tracking industry to cover all the solutions you might find online, but we can cover 24 time tracking software solutions you will likely come across online. Broken down as:
- 14 solutions from the computer driven staff (digitally present) category, and
- 10 solutions from the locational staff (physically present) category.
The table below provides a very brief outline of the core functionality of each.1-3
For those of you interested in the location of operations for the respective time tracking solution providers. We find that the majority of these solutions originate from the US with a minor number of solutions coming from Europe, Australia and South Africa – with most of not all serving customers globally.
Why does this matter? Well, with the world fast becoming a boundless globalised community digitally accessible from anytime and anyplace – maybe it doesn’t. However, maybe you place a high emphasis on customer service and the ability to pick up the phone during your work-hours and calling your time tracking service provider. Besides, what kind of article would this be if we weren’t thorough for you.3
3. Features amongst competitors
Okay, so that was a whole chunk of information and you are no closer to understanding which is the best staff time tracing solution for you – don’t worry, we’re still getting there. This brings about our next area of discussion – the features, oh boy the features. So, let’s start off with the table below.
Top-to-bottom we have the 24 time tracking software solutions as part of this comparison, then left-to-right we have the base features these time tracking solutions offer (Y = Yes, feature available/ X = No, feature unavailable). Keep in mind that these are the base features we cover, there are numerous additional micro-features available as well. However, these micro-features generally distract from the core functionality and should only be taken into account if you are split between two options. Further than that, these micro-features are just a cherry on your ice-cream sundae – although a nice touch, it doesn’t solve your problem if what you actually wanted a grilled cheese sandwich.4
4. Close alternatives amongst competitors
So, by now you should have a better idea as to what solution is most uniquely suited to your business to solve your problem. Great, you say – but let’s go slightly deeper in our quest for time tracking excellence and let’s also make sure you select the best solution for your business. For this, we have prepared a graphical representation to illustrate where each time tracking solution falls within the spectrum of digital staff to locational staff, as well as the spectrum of feature light to feature heavy.
This illustration allows certain trends to emerge as well as for you to ask yourself some important questions, such as:
- Till this point in the comparison, which solution would be your first choice?
- Which alternative solutions are clustered close this “first-choice” solution?
- Of these close cluster alternatives – do they provide the features you need?
- Have you perhaps taken a liking to certain feature heavy solution when you are looking for feature light solution?
- Of the feature light options, perhaps no solution has the feature you desire – which forces you to accept a feature heavy option?
It is likely that you will come up
with a number of additional questions when looking at this illustration –
Fantastic – objective achieved in getting you to think critically about what’s
out there, what’s similar and what you actually need.
5. Pricing amongst competitors
By now you should have an even better idea as to what solution is most uniquely suited to your business to solve your problem, right? But wait, we haven’t discussed the p-word yet…price, let’s explain why.
You have spent your time reading this comparative analysis because you have a problem that requires a solution – the problem being staff time management and the solution being staff time tracking software. Therefore, we have intentionally guided you through a strategic funnel of information to shape your choice by way of best-fit solution opposed to best-buck solution. This is an extremely important distinction to make, if you place price at the beginning of your decision-making funnel then you run the risk of overlooking a best-fit solution for a solution that might be cost effective but not as functionally effective. Thus, overlooking the most important aspect of your decision, finding the best solution for your problem.
With that caveat firmly expressed lets now move onto the pricing. There are four main aspects to consider between solutions – (1) allowable number of users/ seats, (2) allowable number of projects, (3) price (almost all are per month), and (4) additional base fee per month OR extra user/ seat per month).
6. What’s next?
Let’s be honest, other articles that explicitly inform you which time tracking software solution is THE BEST are misguiding you. How can anyone know which solution is the best if they aren’t familiar with your business, your industry and not to mention if they have not tried each solution in each case? This is why, in this article, we have done our best to empower you with the right decision-making tools to find the best time tracking tool unique to you.
We leave you with these actionable steps to answer your initial question “How to manage my staff’s time”.
Start with this as a point of departure, what is your deepest pain points in the area of staff tracking?
Then read through the core functionality outlined in section 2 and get an idea of what could solve those pain points.
Thereafter move to section 3 where you will get a better understanding of exactly what base features your preferred solution offers.
After that, in section 4 you should consider close alternatives amongst competitors. Section 3 and 4 should be bounced between during this step.
Lastly, we consider the pricing in section 5. Remembering that functionally effective is the objective over cost effective.
So, move forward and be awesome to your staff by selecting great time tracking solution, we guarantee they will be awesome back to you – prompting you to never search “When will I be able to replace my staff with robots”.
This article was produced courtesy of the ClockInstant team,
ClockInstant is a startup that focusses on productivity growth solutions for SMME’s in emerging markets. Our simple, single feature, one-click time tracking solution allows employers to track staff anywhere ensuring they are on time, in the right place, at the right time.