Cracking the code for success: Time tracking for IT and software development firms

How time tracking helps IT and software development firms

Table of Contents

Today’s software development companies face a world full of challenges. From keeping up with the pace of technology to effectively managing timelines and budgets for multiple projects, IT consulting firms need to work harder than ever to thrive in this age of disruption.

With project time tracking, software development firms can better understand how time is allocated across their projects. It allows them to uncover inefficiencies, identify bottlenecks, and optimize workflows to maximize productivity.

Time tracking, through historical data, also provides IT and software development firms with invaluable insights for future planning, resource allocation, and better project forecasting and budgeting.

Discover how this approach can transform the way IT and software development firms tackle their current and future challenges. It is a strategy that can pave the way not only for survival but for success in the ever-evolving tech environment.

Top challenges of IT and software development companies

All companies face challenges. While some of these are shared across a broad spectrum of industries (e.g., increased competition, marketplace unpredictability, etc.), others are more specific to the needs and nature of different types of businesses. Let’s look at some of the most critical obstacles IT consulting firms face today.

Keeping up with the pace of technology

Technology and innovation are part of the DNA of any software development company. However, keeping up with the pace of technology in these disruptive times can be tough for IT consulting firms. Not only can it be costly and time-consuming, but it also forces companies to adjust their overall business strategy.

Staying relevant in a competitive environment

As an extension of the above, staying relevant and competitive in today’s ever-changing technology landscape is another big challenge for IT consulting firms.

Apart from the already huge competition they face, software development companies need to keep their workforce up to date with the latest technologies and trends in order to deliver top-notch market solutions.

Coming up with these kinds of solutions requires not only innovation and creativity but also a solid business strategy that allows you to maintain a talented workforce while managing costs effectively.

Furthermore, meeting changing client demands while delivering high-quality solutions can be daunting. Because of this, IT consulting firms must remain agile and adaptable to navigate these challenges effectively.

Tracking time accurately

Tracking time accurately can be difficult in the consulting industry. IT consulting firms and software development companies often bill their clients hourly, meaning they need to log their hours meticulously.

However, in the fast-paced consulting industry, consultants can easily forget to accurately track time when juggling multiple projects simultaneously.

Moreover, some people may hesitate to report downtime or “unproductive” time, leading to inaccuracy in time tracking. Such inaccuracy can also lead to overworking and all that comes with it (e.g., burnout, decreased productivity, etc.).

Managing budgets and timelines for multiple projects

Managing your budgets and timelines can be challenging when dealing with various projects that differ from each other. On the one hand, you need to create a realistic and thorough budget for each project.

On the other hand, you must put together a well-planned timeline that allows you to keep each of your projects running smoothly and according to your established agreements. Accomplishing this is undoubtedly one of the most burdensome tasks in the consulting industry.

4 benefits of time tracking for IT consulting firms

Now that we’re familiar with the main challenges facing IT consulting firms, let’s consider how a time tracking solution can help.

1. Bill clients accurately

Some people believe that IT consulting firms shouldn’t bill by the hour but rather by the delivered outcome or value they provide. Whether that is your case or not, if you want to bill accurately, you need a time tracking solution that allows you to understand how much time you and your team invested in a particular project.

There isn’t any way around this. This type of information is essential to have a clear idea of the actual costs of your projects. How can you bill your clients accurately if you do not have a clear picture of the costs behind each project?

2. Optimize profitability

Even if you do not bill by the hour, a time tracking system is a perfect tool to accurately identify profitability. According to Michael Zipursky, CEO of Consulting Success, there are two important reasons to track your time:

  1. Client profitability
  2. Project profitability

Zipursky illustrates the relationship between time tracking and profitability with a story of one of his clients, a large consulting company. Thanks to the strategy that Zipursky implemented, which included an accurate analysis of the time spent on various projects, the company found that it was spending most of its time and efforts on the wrong segment of clients.

As a result of this analysis, “they set a minimum project value and updated their messaging in their marketing to more effectively target those larger clients. They ended up building a more profitable firm by doubling down on their most profitable type of client,” explains Zipursky. The following image shows us how time tracking helped that company change its overall business strategy:

With time tracking, companies can identify and reallocate time to their most valuable projects and clients.

3. Gain valuable insights through data collection

Time tracking is a valuable tool for gathering data. By keeping track of how much time is spent on specific tasks or projects, IT consulting firms are able to enjoy some of the following benefits:

  • Understand their workflow
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Make informed decisions about resource allocation

All of these benefits enable IT consulting firms to optimize their operations, improve productivity, and ultimately increase profits. Time tracking also provides a more accurate way of assessing employee performance and ensuring that projects stay on schedule and within budget.

4. Improve forecasting and budgeting

With a time tracking solution in place, IT consulting firms can improve their forecasting and budgeting processes. If you are in control of your costs and know how your workforce is distributed across projects, the odds of forecasting and budgeting with accuracy are higher.

We have covered the main benefits that time tracking systems can provide to IT consulting firms. Now let’s look at how one software development company has taken advantage of the main capabilities and features offered by the time tracking tool Beebole.

Using time tracking effectively: The SIS betting case

Sports Information Services, or SIS, is a leading supplier of betting services to retail and online operators worldwide. They are committed to offering engaging content and are continually developing innovative industry solutions. We spoke with them to learn how they use a time tracking app to streamline their workflow and hit product goals.

Software development moves at a breakneck speed, and Viktor Peacock knows this first-hand. As a Software Development Manager at SIS, he oversees the products being built and ensures his team follows the right processes. He’s also responsible for monitoring their progress and providing the right coaching and training to help them advance.

The fact that everyday operations are covered with Beebole has allowed him to spend more time meeting with his team, reviewing goals, and leading them in their personal development. We reached out to Viktor to learn more about what he finds are the most valuable features of Beebole. He explained how implementing it as their timesheet solution for the software development team has helped them to obtain more significant budget and activity insights.

Highly flexible

When Viktor was charged with finding a timesheet service he knew what he wanted from the get-go. As a developer himself, he cared about how the tool was built. The flexibility and versatility of Beebole caught his attention:

“My favorite feature is flexibility around administration as it’s highly granular and adaptable to suit our current processes.”

Indeed, given how customizable our timesheet tool is to match each particular need, questions often arise as to how to utilize a feature best. Viktor praises the support he has received from the Beebole team:

“It’s a very strong point how motivated the Beebole team is about giving support.”

The right data at your fingertips

As time passes and projects grow, data collection must be effortless and organic. Being able to pinpoint how time was spent on a task or project in a simple way has been vital for them. Viktor mentions he enjoys having the information readily available and quick to find:

“Quick search is a very helpful feature when creating time entries as we now have hundreds of projects, and scrolling through the lists is simply not an option.”

All-in-one: budget, payroll & attendance

The Software Development team at SIS comprises 12 engineers, and as the team lead, Viktor is a jack of all trades. Aside from ensuring that systems and products follow specifications and that his team focuses on their goals, he also has to assess and gather insights in various areas like activity and costs tracking of all projects. Currently, 115 SIS staff members are benefitting from the use of Beebole.

Similar to what Ramón Ramirez-Linán told us about estimating costs for Navteca’s clients, Beebole has also been instrumental to Viktor at SIS, helping him set more realistic budgets by tracking and comparing spending in real time.

“We use Beebole in delivery and PMO departments on a daily basis for activity tracking. The insights gathered are then used at the end of the financial year for budget planning purposes, cross charging, and tracking costs.”

Insights on costs & staff availability

Behind every successful team, there are loads of data to manage and new products to build that require following organizational processes and meeting demanding deadlines.

Viktor also needs the right insights to handle planning and costs, as well as to know the availability of his team members. By including Beebole in their everyday operations, teams at SIS can keep an eye on budget performance, costs, and staff attendance.

“Being responsible for a number of engineers and multiple work streams, Beebole makes my life easier by providing easy-to-access insights on costs and budgets, current work, staff availability, and holiday and absence tracking.”

Forecasting results is a crucial part of efficient software development. A team’s success depends on being proactive, managing availability and deadlines accurately, and making informed decisions about budgets and performance.

Choosing the right time tracking solution for the IT world

The SIS experience highlights some of the previously mentioned benefits regarding time tracking, including accurate budgeting and valuable insights about different data types, like costs and staff availability.

Their experience also sheds light on some of the features software development companies should consider when choosing time tracking software. We suggest considering the following when selecting a solution:

  • Find a tool that fits your business needs.
  • Make sure it is highly customizable.
  • Get a solution that is flexible and easy to use.
  • Look for reliable customer service and support.
  • Find a tool with quick search capabilities.
  • Make sure it handles processes in real time.
  • Evaluate the insights you can gather and the decisions you can make with it.

As we saw throughout this article, IT consulting firms face a disruptive environment full of challenges. Despite this, there are several tools that software development companies can use to flourish in this dynamic and competitive landscape. A time tracking solution is one of them!

Ready to help your company flourish?

Try Beebole for free today, or schedule a demo to see the tool first-hand.

Writer specialized in finance, tech and SaaS. Apart from writing, he loves football and cultural walks around Rome.

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