Time-Tracking with Artificial Intelligence
AI tech is booming and employees are interested to see if it can solve the problem of time tracking.
Professional services is a billable hours-driven industry. Manual time-tracking can be annoying and people often forget about it. Managers have to remind colleagues to update their hours. Can artificial intelligence help companies track time even if consultants don’t for weeks on end or even months? In this article, we’ll review current tools and ways to automatically track time.
If you are interested in attendance tracking or infield work, a GPS sensor in a smartphone helps automate that. There are a number of GPS time-tracking services like https://www.timesheetmobile.com or https://busybusy.com. All have different focuses so it is hard to advise on something particular. You have to research it according to your needs. Lin Yang wrote a notable article on how to connect classic time-tracker Toggle with Geofency mobile app via Zapier.
Busybusy Time Tracking and Equipment app promo video
Time spent on apps tracking
Rescuetime pioneered the way of time tracking via desktop app activity capture. In our daily work, we often switch between applications and websites according to tasks. How much time did you spend on email? In meetings? Rescuetime gives you these answers.
It measures how much time you spent on each application and prepares a visual report.
Rescuetime interface with a summary time per each app
App activity-tracking with AI help
But what if you want to record multiple apps’ activities into one project? Allocate addresses that issue with the help of artificial intelligence. Allocate captures desktop app titles, URLs, calendar events, and email subjects. After it collects raw logs, it processes and cleans them to prepare a condensed aggregate intelligent view.
After that, you can take any timeslot and easily assign it to a project. Allocate does not make critical decisions for you but tries to prepare information for a final review and submission of the timesheet.
Allocate interface with time slots recognized
Fully automated time tracking
With Timely you are able to track desktop app activity like app titles, URLs, and also integrate Google calendar, Gmail, GPS tracking, Github, Trello, Asana, Wunderlist, Todoist, etc. to consolidate activity into a beautiful interface for any platform.
Recently, Timely announced Memory AI – a fully automatic time-tracking tool. Right now it is in closed beta, but soon might be open for everybody. Can it detect projects automatically somehow?
“Indeed it can! Using neural nets. In the beginning, the project prediction is simple because we don’t have too much data from you as a user, so it uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and other techniques to predict. But over time you basically get your own model that works really well and is extremely accurate.”
— Mathias Mikkelsen, Founder of Timely
What to do with timesheets next?
With automatic or manual time-tracking, consulting companies spend record time on projects. On a weekly or monthly basis, managers prepare performance reports, answering such questions:
- How does actual time spent on a project match with planned time?
- What is the current state of a project?
- What will happen if we make these changes for the team?
- How do sales, execution, and financials work together?
- How have past decisions affected KPIs?
Imagine a company with 100 employees where everybody has to track their time so managers are able to control revenue, expenses, profit, capacity, utilization, and other metrics.
Easy access to the daily fresh data about consultants is the major component of fast and correct decision-making for a consulting firm.
Each consulting business is trying to solve that problem by creating their homegrown data aggregating and calculating tool, which is often never quite finished. Metric.ai decided to close that issue for consulting firms.
Metric.ai is an analytics platform for professional services. Metric.ai is able to pull data from any existing time-tracking tool and combine it with data from CRM, bookkeeping, and resource scheduling software. The service performs daily calculations and prepares flexible dashboards of KPIs for finance, hours, utilization, and employees with granular segmentation and access control.
Metric.ai interface, the main dashboard
Thanks to machine learning methods like deep neural networks, computers are able to recognize patterns in databases on previous lessons of correct detection from humans.
For proper commitment estimation, a person should mark hours with a goal to teach artificial intelligence. More data leads to better quality.
Right now time spent can be tracked via apps and third-party services activity capture. From company to company, department to department, role to role, employee to employee, the time required for each action might be different. That is why fully automatic time-tracking with artificial intelligence is a long-term game before significant and magical results.
Business analytics are required after timesheets are prepared, and that might be an annoying but necessary task for any consulting firm. Metric.ai’s mission is to solve that problem for professional services.
We hope you found this post presented to you by Metric.ai as entertaining and informative as we did!