We’ve been examining time and attendance solutions recently and we believe we’ve found the best time and attendance software for small businesses in the form of stratustime. Time and attendance tracking isn’t important for all businesses and it’s important to think about whether you really need it before investing in any form of software and hardware to monitor time and attendance. If you run a small business which is primarily output focused – you may not need it. However, if you do – there’s a good chance that stratustime is the right solution for your business.
Why Did We Choose stratustime?
We chose stratustime for a variety of factors and these include:
Stratustime is made by NETtime solutions. They were founded way back in 1995 as a business to monitor biometric data. They incorporated in 1996 as “Vitrix Inc.” but soon found that their time and attendance solutions were much more profitable than the biometrics arm and they refocused purely on time and attendance in 1997.
They became a software as a service (SaaS) provider in 2000 and saw their efforts rewarded as more and more businesses switched to SaaS models to save money in the mid to late 2000s. IN 2014 they were bought out by Paychex. Paychex reports billions of dollars in revenue and has been in existence since 1971. That means stratus time has serious backing and serious longevity potential. There’s nothing to give a small business owner cause for concern in terms of the company’s reputation at all.
Value for Money
We think stratustime represents fair value for money. Depending on your needs; there’s going to be some sort of setup and hardware cost involved. We can’t give you an accurate number for that because it varies on a case-by-case basis. The setup fee does provide for a bespoke approach from stratustime and they will customize the solution based on your business’s needs. We liked that and it’s a rare approach in this industry.
Then there’s a $4.50 per employee per month cost for using stratustime. While that’s not insanely expensive by any means (and other software can cost much more) – it’s not “cheap” either. So you’ll want to weigh up the financial benefits to your business of using time and attendance solutions prior to splurging cash on it. If you’ve got 20 people using stratustime; it needs to deliver the best part of $1,000 a year in business benefits to be worth having.
We found that overall stratustime is reasonable value for money in the time and attendance sphere. However, there are additional costs for enhanced and advanced features and time clocks don’t come cheap at either $120/month or $2,000-$3,000 to purchase outright.
Ease of Use and Functionality
If time and attendance software isn’t easy to use; it simply won’t get used properly. If you create a system that requires a ton of effort from employees, contractors, etc. they’ll just bypass it and then start making excuses. We’re pleased to report that we found stratustime very easy to use.
They offer a series of options which can be used together or individually for clocking people in and out:
- The traditional “time clock” – you don’t punch these clocks but rather wave a magnetic strip on a badge near them. They upload their data to the main analytics system immediately and that means managers can quickly report on issues/problems.
- Mobile website. You can clock in our out using a mobile phone on a mobile website. They use GPS readings from the mobile device to ensure that employees are only able to clock in when they’re in a certain area if this is required.
- Telephone check in. There’s a dial in IVR system that lets people clock in and out from other sites and where there are no other clock options.
- Internet clock. This can be set up on a public terminal so that people can check in at a premise without a badge.
- Computer check in. Employees can also be clocked on when they log in to your office network or their own machine.
There’s also an online employee dashboard for each employee so that they can review their own performance, report absence, request holidays, check their vacation allowance, etc.
Managers and HR can also access a more sophisticated dashboard which allows for alerts, reporting, etc. as well as accepting or denying vacation/sick days.
The software is also perfectly compatible with most major payroll services so you can automate the flow of data to make paying people easier.
Customer support is always a key factor in adopting a software and hardware solution. That’s because the solution only adds value when it’s working and if it stops working – it causes a ton of additional work for your management team.
We’ve found that customer service from stratustime is first class. Their reps know what they’re talking about and are happy to take as much time as you need to get the issue resolved. They’re also not pushy sales people in disguise and even during the initial enquiry stage; they’re more interested in your needs than trying to make commissions.
Phone support is available from 9 to 7 (EST) and only on weekdays. They do have some online help that can be accessed during the downtime which is reasonably helpful but perhaps not all encompassing either.
Drawbacks of Using stratustime
There aren’t too many drawbacks to using stratustime. We’re not 100% happy with their customer service coverage periods. We suspect a lot of businesses that use this kind of system are working on weekends and evenings – we’d like to see extended support hours to make sure that things are always up and running.
We’re also not entirely impressed with the costs of setup fees. These add a lot to the total cost of ownership of time and attendance systems and we think stratustime’s are a little on the high side. Having said that – we do think they’re better value for money in terms of customization than many of their competitor’s fees.