When Internal Tools Are Not Enough: Online Timesheets vs. Homegrown Solutions

No one knows exactly when it happened, but some time ago, your company decided to build it's own time tracking system. Everything was customized perfectly for your business. And after some training, everyone knew how to use it.

Then things changed.

Your employees went mobile first. The internet took over everything. New requirements demanded higher levels of security and integration. Your business grew, and the once perfectly customized software suddenly seemed clunky and dated.

With that said, let's take a quick look at the differences between in-house time tracking software and modern, online timesheet platforms.

Issues with In-House Time Tracking Software

Homegrown time management software often lacks a number of key features. These typically include:

  • Mobile app for iPhone or Android
  • Flexible reporting
  • Tech support
  • Cloud accessibility
  • Modern browser compatibility
  • Centralized knowledge base
  • Software integrations

Online Time Tracking Technology

Web-based timesheets generally provide a wide range of features for tracking, planning, managing, and reporting on employee time.

  • Set up and deploy in minutes (vs. weeks or months)
  • Automated timesheet reminders
  • Ability to customize nearly anything
  • Easy integrations with accounting and other software
  • Regular feature updates
  • Flexibility to add users, clients, jobs, etc.
  • Budget management, estimation, and forecasting reports
  • Easy import of historical time and budget data
  • One-click data export
  • End-to-end data security
  • Service level agreement for 99.9% uptime
  • Robust support center and help documentation
  • Account management
  • No maintenance or upkeep fees

So, why do some businesses continue to use homegrown timesheets? Perhaps managers are holding on to legacy technology because they have already spent so much time and money trying to maintain it? (Enter the sunk cost fallacy.) Maybe there is a misconception that online timesheets are hard to use or learn, despite a wave of recent innovations around time capture, productivity management, and usability? Or it could simply be that change — any type of change — is hard for many organizations.

What do you think? If your organization is using homegrown timesheet software, let us know! We'd love to hear your point of view.