Call us free (AU) 1800 462 388

Hosted versus Installed Time Accounting Systems- Which is Right for Your Organization?

Today’s business owners can choose from many options for time accounting systems. Companies often concentrate on how they will use the system and what they need to do to complete and manage their time entry and reporting. Equally as important is how and where you will manage the system itself.

There are two basic options for system environs. The first is to go with a system that is housed at your facility or through a data center you employ to manage your software and hardware and provide back-up services for all critical data. If your company is very small and you do not employ full-time information technology staff, you may already be using a data center service. If your business is larger, you may have an IT staff to manage software and ensure your employee access through your local or wide area network. To avoid the complexity of buying, installing and maintaining software, you may wish to look at a software vendor who provides the features and also provides a hosting service. In this scenario, your employees will access the time reporting system over the internet through a secured web portal.

To decide what is best for your organization, you must consider the tradeoffs between hosting the application, paying your data center service to manage the software or buying a hosted product and paying the software vendor for the hosting service.

To better define your direction, consider the following questions:

  1. Do you have an IT staff to manage the application?
  2. Will you need customization of this product to meet business process requirements? If so, who will do the customization and how will you handle upgrades?
  3. Do you require integration of the time and expense system with other back office systems like financials, HR or payroll?
  4. How many users will use the system and how quickly will the user base grow?
  5. Is your internal network well secured and accessible to every employee who will need to use the time reporting system?
  6. If you use a data center or hosting service, can you easily incorporate the software into that environment and will you need to buy a special license to accommodate third party management of this software?
  7. When considering a service hosted by the software vendor, be sure each of your employees has access to a computer and to the internet to use the system and that the vendor can prove consistent availability with limited downtime.

Companies using a portal hosted by the software vendor may be too small to manage the software internally. Additionally, if you choose a hosted vendor application, the software is upgraded online and new features are automatically available to all users. Larger enterprises, with a suite of legacy systems and software products, may house the software in-house in order to integrate functionality with other or to customize the product to suit their needs.

As you see from this article, there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to these questions; but instead the necessity to match your specific needs to the offering available.

About the Author

Palantir, author alias for Susan Obijiski, is a technology professional, consultant, business coach and writer. Her experience includes management consulting, and she has published research for Gartner Group. Susan is a frequent speaker and presenter on a variety of topics including software and technology, business strategy, process improvement and organizational culture change.

> Contact author