Many business users fill out timesheets on a daily basis for employers or clients. These people will certainly benefit from Replicon, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) time and attendance management platform, which includes Replicon Mobile, an app that lets you manage your timesheet directly from your iPhone.
I recently spent some time testing Replicon Mobile on my iPhone 5 and can say it’s a world of improvement from the paper timesheets and internally-built timesheet packages I’ve seen during my IT contracting career. The Replicon Mobile app has the following requirements:
- Internet connection (Cellular/Wi-Fi)
- iOS devices running 5.1+
- Gen 3 version of Replicon timesheet and/or WebExpense software
- Company name, user ID, and password for each employee
Figure A shows the main page of a manager’s account in Replicon Mobile.
Replicon Mobile main screen.
Tracking time with Replicon Mobile
The immediate benefit I see of moving timesheet input to an iPhone is being able to do it while you're on the go, when you don’t have access to a PC. The second benefit is push alerts for timesheet due dates and when a timesheet is late for processing.
Replicon Mobile gets past one big issue I’ve seen repeatedly with internally-built timesheet management platforms, and that’s ready-access to project data. The Replicon Mobile search feels quick and efficient when searching for projects, tasks, or activities and recording your time against them.
When you tap on Timesheets, Replicon Mobile presents a list of your timesheets (Figure B).
Timesheets available in Replicon Mobile.
Simply tap on a timesheet from the list to fill it out. Figure C shows an example of an in-progress timesheet.
A timesheet in progress.
I’ve been an IT contractor for long enough to know that timesheets can be done in haste or while multitasking. If your first instinct is like mine, you’ll tap on the date where you want to record your time, but you'll only see fields for personal leave and vacation. You have to take an extra step and tap the Add Entry button (top far-right button), which can be easy to miss because the icon isn’t very intuitive. However, the well-designed Add Entry screen (Figure D) certainly makes up for the poor Add Entry icon button choice.
Add Entry screen.
The Add Entry screen puts the typical time entry options on one screen. This is particularly helpful for professional services firms that need to be precise on time entry for billing purposes.
Another area where Replicon Mobile does an excellent job of exhibiting how mobility can change a task is expense management. Frequent business travellers all seem to have their own pet methods for wrangling receipts and expense reports. Replicon Mobile can make personal or corporate mandated expense reporting much easier by enabling users to enter their expense reports directly into the Replicon Mobile app and then take a snapshot of their expense receipts to attach to the expense report. Figure E shows an example of a rejected expense report.
Rejected expense report.
Figure F shows an example of an accepted expense report.
Accepted expense report.
The status of the expense report appears on the Expense Sheet page, but it would also be helpful if the status appeared on the actual expense reports in the employee’s Replicon Mobile account.
Personally, I would like to see the receipts you submit with your expense report be more readily available throughout the process. Right now, you have to tap on Receipt Photo under Detail on the Add Expense Entry or Edit Expense Entry pages. It can easily be missed, and I think it would be more helpful if Replicon Mobile used a more visual analogy for receipts.
Managing approval processes with Replicon Mobile
Managers can approve timesheets and expense reports directly from the Replicon Mobile app. Managers can also set automatic reminders for their employees. Figure G shows the Approvals screen with timesheets, expenses, and time off pending approval.
Pending approvals in the Approvals screen.
When you're logged in as a manager, approvals are as easy as tapping the circle beside the timesheet, expenses, and time off requests that you want to approve for your employees.
While I didn’t like how Replicon Mobile requires you to open the Add Entry screen, I still found enough to like in this app to recommend it for organizations -- especially those in professional services who want to mobilize their timesheet, expense reporting, and time off requests for their employees. Have you used Replicon Mobile? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management applications, Google Apps, Microsoft technologies, and online collaboration for TechRepublic and other sites. Will also works as a contract technical writer for clients in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.