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Is capturing your time archaic?
Thursday, 07 April 2011 10:24
The notion of value-based billing is appealing, yet implementation is evasive
Brian Harding, Chief Operating Officer, Airborne Consulting
IN ANY people-intensive business, what your staff do with their time is important. This is even more crucial in organisations that bill out their time. Particularly in the IT world, generally most forms of engagements come back to a factor of time and effort. So principally time is a very important component of any commercial IT project.
However, how far does one take this and is the rigorous enforcement of time-capture old news or a thing of the past? I recently read an article by consultants purporting the concept of billing for intellectual property or the “value” of what was produced. Anyone in the real business world knows that is the holy grail – whether we will get there is quite another matter. It is hard enough getting clients to judge output based on more factors than a pure rate-per-hour, and the move to full-scale intellectual property or value-based billing is generally very diffi cult.
An analogy I could give is that many years ago it was forecast that most staff would be working from home. Today’s technology has made this possible, yet we still do not see it happening on a large-scale. This is because it is too diffi cult to administer and effect in complex, project-based environments.
What I do know, is time is a vital component to any business owner. Time cannot be regained, it cannot be manufactured, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. So knowing and understanding how your employees are using their time is extremely valuable. The ability to have accurate statistics and metrics at your disposal is a huge advantage when trying to improve productivity and positive client outcomes.
Any sustainable time-keeping application must ensure accuracy and ease of use. We have consulted to various organisations and fi nd that generally employees hate capturing their time because of the archaic systems they are forced to use and the time capture itself is not real-time. This means that
estimations are made which ensure that none of the stats produced are accurate enough.
In our opinion, best practice should ensure that any time-keeping application is easy to use, is available anytime, anywhere and is real-time, thus time events are captured as and when they occur. In this way, accuracy is improved and reporting and metrics become meaningful.
There is a saying that “time is money” and there is a lot of truth therein. Understanding how your employees spend their time and thus being able to effect change in the right way can only improve your business productivity and the bottom line.
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