Using Salesforce for timesheets: an internal case study
So, you want to become the resident Time Lord for your company?
Time can represent different things to different businesses. Take oe:gen, for example — with our service packages, our time is our product. So since we charge for the time it takes to complete a piece of work, every second counts. Other businesses may have a certain allocated amount of time to complete work, or simply a way of telling how efficient they are. But ultimately, time is a key bit of information which, when captured and used properly, can really help drive your business to success.
What are timesheets and how do you implement them?
Timesheets are quite simply a place for people to record how long they spent on a specific task. Sounds simple, right? Well, depending on the business, other information might want to be recorded at the same time. As you can see below, we capture:
The amount of time (we do it by 15 minute increments, some businesses charge by the second!)
Type of work
A short description
If it was overtime.
Why did we need a new system?
Our old timesheet system was this custom-built web-based thing that was clunky, unresponsive, and everyone hated using it. The consequence of that? Nobody used it. This, of course, presented lots of problems for us, including:
Profit loss As a business that charges for time taken on work, if time wasn’t recorded, we didn’t charge for it.
Scheduling difficulties We couldn’t tell how long tasks would take, or how long people would need to complete them.
Resource forecasting As we couldn’t accurately tell how much of resource we were using on average, we found it difficult to tell what resource we needed more or less of.
The approach we took was to look at what we wanted from a timesheet system, rather than trying to replicate/improve our existing one. We wanted something that was fast, easy to use, accurate and reliable.
Building our new timesheets system on Salesforce
First, working out what data we wanted to capture was key. We didn’t want our team to have 100 different fields to fill in, as it could end up taking longer to log the time than it did to do the task! That would also begin to make people less and less driven to keep it up-to-date, which would then affect the data we want to report on.
Then, we looked at what software we wanted to use. There are a lot of great apps out there: Toggle, Harvest Time etc. However, we use Sales Cloud to detail and manage our projects, and these programs didn’t have the seamless link and features we were looking for. As we have a vast array of Salesforce skills in house, we built our own on the platform!
We did this by creating a web of objects connected by process builder workflows, visual flows and a few apex triggers. We then gave it a sexy UI using Lightning components. The whole lot has been built natively in Salesforce, allowing us to take all the great stuff we’ve seen from other systems and sprinkle in lots of extra features such as:
Logging time to standard objects (Leads, Opportunities, campaigns and Cases)
Logging time to custom objects (We’ve created projects, SLAs and internal improvements)
Linking time to specific products
Daily reminders to log time (if they haven’t logged enough by a certain time)
Automated weekly time reports
Now, we can log time straight in and reference it against loads of other metrics we capture against projects, opportunities, cases and more!
Lastly, getting people on board with logging their time is incredibly important (and difficult). Especially because you don’t want them to feel like they’re in “Big Brother” and you’re watching their every movement…
Our approach was to make it clear the time logged was for reference and data purposes only. We didn’t want people to log “fake” time to meet their daily target, as that would give as data that wouldn’t be a true reflection of utilisation. If people didn’t have enough to do during the day to meet that quota, then it would be up to management to adjust the team’s workload.
We implemented the new timesheet in January; fresh year — fresh start! We did a training session to help everyone get to grips with using the new system, but we saw the results straight away. Our usage is at its highest, our turnover has doubled, and best of all — everybody loves it!
If you’d like to learn a bit more about our new timesheet system or fancy a demo, just let us know! You can get in touch via the quick form below.