An Independent Time & Attendance Vendor Solution Brief
TimeTrex is a British Colombia company specialising in both free and commercial provision of payroll and time and attendance software. Originally developed in 1999 as a custom application, the general-purpose version has been available in various versions since 2003. Much of the attention that TimeTrex receives is due to the provision of a freeware version with basic functionality which has achieved a high degree of popularity with small to mid-sized businesses as well as the open-source community.
TimeTrex's Time and Attendance Application Purpose
TimeTrex comes in Standard, Business and Pro versions; both Business and Pro are commercial software whereas the Standard is available as a free download. The time and attendance software module allows an organization to track and monitor employee attendance in real-time from anywhere in the world and features a wide variety of time clock integration options. Employees can punch in using:
Stand-alone time clocks
Cell phones or PDAs
Computer (a choice of a desktop icon, a web portal, or an offline option in which 'punches' are stored locally and automatically uploaded when a connection is established)
The system also provides real-time timesheets, and accrual and time bank monitoring with appropriate levels of manager and employee self-service functionality. The Standard version does not support the hardware punching options, allowing web/PC time clocking only; however, all other features are present (in addition to payroll management and employee scheduling).
TimeTrex offers a number of additional supporting services:
The TimeTrex University offers a series of short training videos in the use and setup of all aspects of the system, covering topics such as rounding, absences, exceptions and overtime.
The TimeTrex Implementation Services team offers customizable support options including new customer start-up plans, installation support, application customizations, data migration and ongoing maintenance.
In true open source spirit, TimeTrex maintains a community forum of 7,000+ members; providing flexible and experienced support with questions usually receiving a response within the hour.
Email support packages are included with purchase of either the Pro version or any on-demand deployment. Telephone support can be purchased by the hour, or in blocks of time at a discounted rate.
TimeTrex developer Jon Hutchison has been quoted as saying, "TimeTrex is downloaded over 12,000 times each month. We have organizations with as few as two employees and with as many as several thousand employees using TimeTrex on a daily basis". Indeed, the company almost makes a selling point out of not targeting any particular sector, industry, or client size. While true to a point (the time and attendance module can be used in any employment environment), the payroll module has a distinctly North American focus. As well, though TimeTrex may make a point of not targeting a particular niche or customer type, the company does deliver a deliberate pitch to companies currently still tracking employee time manually (with spreadsheets or paper punchcards) and want to, as TimeTrex puts it, "join the 21st century" by automating time and attendance and related functions such as scheduling, payroll and job costings, document management and invoicing.
TimeTrex's Technical Specs
The on-premises versions of TimeTrex have the following requirements:
IIS or Apache web servers
PHP 5.0 or greater with PEAR
MySQL v4.1.3+ with InnoDB support or PostgreSQL v8.0+
However, TimeTrex's freely-available open-source code will run on a wide variety of operating systems – including: Linux, Sun Solaris/Sun OS, Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista/7, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, IBM AIX, and Mac – and comes with two deployment options: on-demand and on-site. The choice depends on the client's degree of comfort with having another company manage their payroll and time management assets and also the level of IT expertise that resides within the organization.
TimeTrex's Primary Competitors
Other suppliers offering similar multiple version time and attendance software with a freeware entry level option are Easy Time Control, PayPunch and CKZ; although the latest specifications would suggest that all three are Windows-compatible only.
Strengths of TimeTrex's Time and Attendance System
The freeware version may be all some businesses need and for others it allows a no-obligation try-out.
TimeTrex's OS-agnostic offering provides interested companies with the capability to run on non-Windows operating systems.
The system has the ability to interface with hardware such as iButtons, barcode readers, and cell phones.
Customer feedback praises the system's flexibility and speed.
Weaknesses of TimeTrex's Time and Attendance System
Some customer feedback found the package too feature-laden for basic needs but did acknowledge that with some work it was possible to "hide" unused features and create a simpler user interface.
As with other open-source HR applications, TimeTrex lacks the coding community backbone to seriously push innovation via user source code modification.
While technically open-source, TimeTrex's revenue model is such that very few features exist which are free—potentially reducing the company's future customer footprint.
Bottom-line for TimeTrex's Time and Attendance Software
TimeTrex's best practice-driven time and attendance software is flexible, multi-platform, has a choice of deployments, a range of support options and is open source (therefore allowing as much individual customization as the user's programming expertise can manage). Whether its appearance is as slick as enterprise-class IT budgets are looking for is questionable but for small to mid-sized businesses, it will meet all the standard timekeeping needs. As a CNET review noted, "There's certainly a lot to TimeTrex, both in terms of what it offers as well as getting the most out of it. However, at no point did this powerful tool feel at all intimidating in either local or Web-based functions. Far from it--we'd say it's one of the least confusing and complicated time-tracking programs we've tried, despite its many features and options."
TimeTrex's freely-available open-source code will run on a wide variety of operating systems – including: Linux, Sun Solaris/Sun OS, Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista/7, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, IBM AIX, and Mac – and comes with two deployment options: on-demand and on-site.