Office 365 Time Tracking – Here’s How
Your decisions are only as good as the data you base them on. With the ubiquity of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of applications, almost every organization has the same tools available. If you need to write a memo or make a presentation, you’re not going to have a secret advantage over your competition.
But with data…it can be different. Office 365 does not offer an operation-wide time tracking system. What it has is a personal calendar in Outlook that individuals can use to tell them where they should be, when they should be there, and what they should be ready to think about when they get there.
That data doesn’t help you make decisions, unless you can aggregate it.
The Importance of Aggregate Data
When you’re trying to run the forest, you don’t always care about the trees. You want to look at the health and productivity of the organization as whole. You want to know what projects cost, not just in terms of easily quantifiable material resources, but in terms of the time of your employees. Whatever business you’re in, the only way you are really going to beat the competition is by attracting better talent and allocating it in a more efficient manner.
That’s why we talk about Office 365 and the Outlook Calendar, since almost every serious enterprise uses this. That means that whatever solution you’re looking for to aggregate your data for time tracking purposes has one feature that is completely and utterly non-negotiable. It has to be compatible with the calendar you use. For most of us, that’s Outlook’s Calendar.
The Importance of Integration
Compatibility is essential because you’re being paid to make decisions, not mess around with data. If your time tracking solution is directly compatible with Office 365’s Outlook Calendar, that’s fantastic. If it requires that you re-enter data, then throw your solution away and find a new one because the entire point of the exercise is an increase in efficiency which you’re throwing away every time you take the time to re-enter time entry data.
But getting the data to the aggregator isn’t the only way you can take advantage of this data stream. If your aggregator can pass the data downstream to whatever it is you use for client management, or enterprise resource planning, it’s even better.
We’re Talking About the Life of Your Business
There is a very thin edge between success and failure. If you’re not beating the competition, they’re beating you, and they are doing it because they are making better decisions with regard to how they deploy their assets. They aren’t doing it because they have an Office 365 guru. Beyond the basic knowledge of using the tools, there is nothing knowing more about Office 365 is going to get you. What will make the difference is getting the data out of Outlook’s Calendar and into a format that will allow you to compare projects to determine what they really cost and how your employees spend their time so you can make solid business decisions based on solid data. This is done via Office 365 time tracking, with a solution like TimeSheet Reporter.
Only then will your company thrive.
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