What to consider when buying Time and Attendance Software

If you are looking for a Time and Attendance solution to implement in your company, you need to consider a few things:

  • Cost of the Time and Attendance software itself
  •  Time and/or costs involved in installing the program on all your computers
  •  Since all Time and Attendance applications are database driven, you need to consider time and/or costs involved in backing-up the database and maintain the server where database is running
  •  Learning the program and/or training your staff
  •  Time and costs involved in setting up the software and/or migrating from your current Time and Attendance software
  •  Software upgrades

Many people are concentrating on the first point (the cost of the Time and Attendance software); they are looking for the best deal they can get on the software license, without considering all other things involved to get one started.  In addition to buying the software, you need to consider the time it takes to implement it.

After you buy the workforce management application, someone has to install it.  If you have more than one computer, you need to configure each one to share the database. This is a time consuming task.  Are you planning to do it yourself?  Do you have IT staff or do you need to hire someone to do it for you?  In addition, you need to consider what to do if you get a new computer later on. It takes time to install the program on a new computer.

You also have to consider software maintenance.  Since Time and Attendance software uses database as a backend, you need to consider backing it up.  If something happens to the computer where the main database is running, you need to have a plan to recover all data and get you back online.  This is not a complicated task, but it has to be scheduled into your daily/weekly routine to avoid losing all your data.  If you are using a web Workforce management software, you need to maintain and secure a web server.

The next step is for you and your employees to learn your new Time and Attendance software.  Are you going to read the help file or user guide on your own or do you want to get a live training?  Most Workforce Management Software companies will offer you training either free or at an additional cost.  Some Time and Attendance solution providers will offer you to buy yearly maintenance plan and it might include training.  This is something you should find out before you buy a Time and Attendance software.  There one more thing to consider: what if you hire a new staff member?  Who is going to train him/her on how to use the software?  Will you be paying the Time and Attendance software company to train your new staff member or is it included in your maintenance plan (if you have one)?

After you buy and install your Workforce Management Software, you have to set it up.  You have to create your company’s infrastructure with company settings, departments, users and all your employees.  If you have 1 department and 10 employees, it might take you an hour to setup.  But what if you have 100 employees, how long will it take you to enter 100 names into a program?  Some Time and Attendance software might have features to import a list of your employees from a file or they might offer to do it for you.  Is there a fee involved?  If you are using some other Workforce Management application that you want to migrate data from, would you be able to copy all your employees and attendance data into your new Time and Attendance software?  If you have to get Time and Attendance software company involved to do this, how much will it cost?

Finally, do you want upgrades?  Most Time and Attendance software solution providers continue improving their software.  Will you be getting upgrades for free?  If not, how much will it cost?  Some Time and Attendance solution providers offer a yearly maintenance plan which includes software upgrades.  Even if you are getting free upgrades, you need to take time to upgrade this software on all computers.

There are greater costs involved implementing Time and Attendance software than just buying the license.  When shopping for a new Time and Attendance application, you should be asking these questions of the companies that are selling the software.  How will they help you minimize your costs?