Acumen’s Specialty: Custom Feature Implementation
Here at Acumen, we understand that every business is unique. Every industry and workforce faces it’s own challenges, from managing certifications while scheduling shifts for a hospital, to tracking itemized expenses and labor at an auto repair shop. That is why our hardware and software go above and beyond the ordinary to deliver exceptional results.
While other time and attendance service providers might offer simple customization options, if they offer any customization at all, Acumen specializes in developing totally custom software solutions to meet your unique business needs. While our standard software is robust and flexible enough to meet the needs of most employers, sometimes custom software features are necessary. We do everything possible to ensure your workforce management solution has all of the features your business needs. And we have experience making thousands of custom features for clients over the years.
In this article, we’ll explore how one client’s business challenges lead to the development of a number of uniquely useful custom features.
Client Profile Overview
The client that requested the features listed in this article is a medium sized business that operates across multiple states in the central region of the United States. Their primary focus is in the building services industry, featuring offerings for workspace/office cleaning, janitorial services, sanitation, building maintenance, product restocking, and carpet/hard-surface floor cleaning.
This organization has been a partner of Acumen Data Systems since 2018, and over the years has requested and successfully implemented about ten unique features. Some of the features that this business requested have even lead to significant updates and upgrades to the features of ClockVIEW and ClockVIEW Mobile software.
Notably, this featured business also has a significant mobile workforce: a large number of employees who work at one or more worksites apart from business headquarters, such as private properties or public office spaces. Because of this, the company utilizes Acumen’s ClockVIEW Mobile application in order to allow employees to clock in and out from the worksite, rather than exclusively logging their time at their office.
Expert Implementation and Quality Assurance
Acumen’s proven development process is the key to our unparalleled quality assurance.
1. Custom Feature Request
The development process begins when a customer reaches out to Acumen with a custom feature request. This can come from a phone call, an email, an implementation meeting, or even a support ticket. Once we know what challenges a business is facing, we can start the process of creating a unique solution.
2. Statement of Work (SOW)
A statement of work is drafted, either by the customer filling out a simple SOW form or by Acumen’s Support staff interpreting the customer’s needs, to document the specific requirements of the custom feature. This is then approved by the customer to ensure that the suggested feature is exactly what the customer wants.
3. Engineering Proposal
The statement of work is sent to Acumen’s engineering department. Here, once the feasibility of the feature is confirmed, Acumen’s engineers estimate the work required to develop the feature. This estimation of work, along with the statement of work, lead to the creation of a proposal, which may include estimates for time and billing.
4. Feature Development
Once the proposal is approved, work on the new feature is scheduled. The development of the custom feature is completed by our professional programmers and software engineers, and the code is moved on to the testing phase.
The custom feature that was developed is introduced to a unique test environment that replicates the client’s live production server. This environment tests the new feature realistically. After testing begins, the customer is invited to test the feature for themselves and to confirm that the feature works as proposed.
When the customer confirms that everything is working as intended, it’s time to update the customer’s production environment. The new feature update is scheduled with the customer to minimize any downtime, and within minutes the feature is live and ready for the client to use.
Alternate Language Options for ClockVIEW
In many regions, it is not uncommon to hire employees that speak multiple languages, or do not speak English as their primary language.
In order to increase accessibility and ease of use for employees who do not use English as their primary language, ClockVIEW and ClockVIEW Mobile can be configured to display in alternate languages based on employee and company preferences.
For this business, this included implementing a configuration menu to enter Spanish language text to be used in place of English text in the ClockVIEW application.
Once the new Spanish language configuration was complete, employees could be set to see the Spanish text instead of English text by modifying their individual settings. Each employee can be set individually, although this setting could be established as a default for all employees if requested.
Alternate language options are perfect for international businesses with workplaces in multiple countries. This feature is also capable of using any regional language or dialect in place of English to ensure easy accessibility for employees utilizing the ClockVIEW application.
Employee Health and Safety Surveys
In response to ever-changing health risks, this business implemented a new safety measure to keep their employees safe: an employee health survey screening program, built right into the employee time clock interface.
With this system, the company requested that a prompted survey appear before an employee would be allowed to clock in for work. If an employee reported no symptoms and good health, they were permitted to clock in. Otherwise, if an employee reported symptoms or poor health, the employee was prevented from clocking in and suggested to stay home, contact their supervisor, and seek medical attention and testing if necessary.
This process also integrated with the alternate language feature, so employees who primarily spoke the alternate language were provided the survey in their preferred language.
The health and safety of our clients and their employees is always a high priority. Using these safety measures ensure that businesses can help keep their employees healthy even while there are concerns about contagion.
Adjustable Daily Rate of Pay
Most businesses use a set rate of pay for each employee, providing them a fixed salary or an hourly rate. However, when a business needs to account for unique incentives, or different rates of pay for the same employee across multiple days, payroll can get confusing.
For this business, having the option to adjust the rate of pay for any given employee to be different for any given day was a necessity. To solve this challenge, Acumen implemented a feature that allows employee’s hourly rate to be adjusted per day, while still being automatically accounted and while maintaining their standard rate of pay for their record.
This feature is perfect for offering increased pay for weekends, or changing an employees hourly rate for the days they are scheduled to work a different position. With this much customization, ClockVIEW can account for almost any challenge.
Automatic Labor-Level Linking and Verification
For labor tracking and management, it can be useful to see employees organized by not only by which task they are working on, but which component of your business they are working within. For this type of management, businesses categorize employees by hierarchical groups of all kinds.
For this client, they required the tracking of labor for different groups and subgroups (such a local labor groups and state supergroups), as well as a method for ensuring the accuracy of their labor tracking when employees switch from one task to another.
In this new system, when a supervisor creates a new labor group, it can be automatically filed under a supergroup, such as a local branch of the company, or a group that contains all of the labor groups operating in an area. Whenever an employee clocks in and indicates they are working in this labor group, ClockVIEW automatically fills in which supergroup that employee is working under and tracks their labor accordingly. If the employee is moved to a different labor group, ClockVIEW will update which supergroups the employee’s labor is tracked with too.
Acumen implemented this system as per this client’s request, and it has been successfully deployed as a common feature for the ClockVIEW software suite.
Unique Employee Default Scheduling
Default Scheduling is the use of a default schedule for an employee, establishing when the employee is expected to clock in and out, and on which days for what type of work. While in many traditional businesses default schedules are uniform between employees, some firms need more customizable scheduling capabilities.
Our client requested the ability to establish each employees default schedule individually, and with the flexibility of our ClockVIEW software, that feature was quickly implemented.
Every single employee for this organization has their own, uniquely manageable and customizable default schedule. And although no two employees schedules are exactly the same, it’s still easy for supervisors to schedule and coordinate between employees because of Acumen’s suite of workforce management and scheduling tools found in ClockVIEW. This gives their business an edge in being able to create schedules that meet the needs of their employees and their customers at the same time.
In addition, ClockVIEW allows for real-time monitoring and editing of employee schedules. Each unique employee’s default schedule can be adjusted immediately to address any change.
There is no better solution for totally individual default scheduling.
Geofencing Clock-In Flexibility
One of the more recent developments for mobile workforce management is the use of geofencing. Geofencing utilizes GPS, Cellular, and WiFi data from mobile devices to verify that employees are clocking in within the boundaries set by their employer. This outlines a physical space with a virtual barrier, so an employee can only clock in from approved areas.
While this technique is very useful for verifying that employees are in the right place at the right time, it isn’t a flawless solution for every business. For this client, although verifying on-site employees using geofencing is ideal, sometimes greater flexibility is necessary. By default, if an employee attempts to clock in outside of a designated area, their clock-in attempt would be automatically rejected. But for a mobile workforce of hundreds of employees across dozens of different worksites, any inaccuracy in employee position tracking could prevent an employee from clocking in even when they are on site and ready to work.
To solve this problem, the company requested an alteration to the way GPS, Cellular, and WiFi geofencing data was collected and used. Instead of using this data to permit an employee to clock in, the employee’s data is collected with each clock-in attempt. Along with this data, an accuracy score is generated to show how accurate the employees positioning data might be. This allows supervisors to automatically approve punches that occur inside of approved geofences, while being able to quickly verify punches that occur outside of a geofenced area.
This keeps the mobile workforce operating smoothly and ensures employees are in the right place at the right time.
Generating Time Reports by Employee Setting or Assignment
Generating time reports and other documentation can be a hassle, particularly for companies that lack advanced filtering options in their workforce management toolkit. Without being able to filter employees by specific criteria, a company might have to run multiple different reports and compile their information manually.
Consider the value of generating reports to meet your businesses needs on demand. In the words of Acumen CEO Ed Squires:
“Although we offer more than 75 standard reports, in our experience, we find that employers are always looking for new ways to see data. The more information a business has about their employees work, the better equipped they are to succeed in their industry.”
Understanding the power of information like this is key to ensuring your business is running efficiently.
While Acumen’s standard ClockVIEW software already addresses this by allowing supervisors to generate reports based on employees task scheduling, even more refined tools were required for this business. A newly developed feature gave this firm the flexibility to generate time reports on demand based on not only an employees position (what they were assigned to do by their schedule) but also by their hours logged in other tasks (such as tracked jobs that multiple employees were assigned).
This made it easy and nearly automatic to generate perfectly curated time reports to analyze specific tasks for this organization.
Accounting Expenses for Terminated and Unscheduled Employees
Acumen offers employee expense tracking through ClockVIEW as a standard feature, which is useful for businesses of any size to monitor expenses owed to and by employees.
However, because of the high turnover rates in this client’s industry, a unique challenge arose: expense tracking for recently terminated or unscheduled employees became a tedious and time-consuming task that typical workforce management software would be unprepared to automate. Standard systems are designed to not account for unscheduled and terminated employees. This can lead to unexpected expenses, conflict with former employees, or even costly litigation if not handled properly.
For this client, we implemented a custom feature that allows terminated employees to have their expenses tracked just like current employees, allowing payroll and expense management to function automatically. Payments still owed to the employee for their labor, or security deposit returns, for example, can be handled automatically rather than manually, which can save time and money immediately for a business with departing employees and new hires quickly cycling through the business.
For any business in a field with a naturally high turnover rate, this unique feature can prove indispensable.
Experts in Timekeeping and Employee Scheduling
Acumen Data Systems is a leading provider of time clock and employee scheduling software. We help organizations manage their most valuable resources, the human kind. Acumen offers robust solutions for time and attendance, scheduling and leave management.
We believe that technology is just one quarter of the workforce management pie. Employees, policy, and the environment are just as important.
Do you have questions about implementing unique features?