ITRIS Maintenance AG, headquartered in Spreitenbach near Zurich, has been providing manufacturer-independent hardware maintenance and support services for computer systems, mainframes, servers, PCs and peripherals from all well-known manufacturers for over three decades. The company's technical service with over 180 employees is available to customers in all regions of Switzerland 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ITRIS offers uncomplicated and competent support in the event of a fault or helps with the expansion, further development or optimisation of the IT infrastructure. From simple support requests to complex migrations as well as small and large projects, ITRIS Maintenance AG positions itself as a competent technical IT service partner. For time recording and project management, the company relies on the solution ZEP - Time Recording for Projects, from the company provantis IT Solutions.
This is how Urs Brun describes the project controlling procedure before the introduction of ZEP. He is project manager for IT infrastructure projects at large Swiss companies and is also responsible for administrative support in systems engineering projects. For this reason, he is also responsible for the implementation and operation of ZEP at ITRIS Maintenance AG. He explains: "As part of our projects, we support many different clients on projects with a wide range of sizes and formats. These range from time-limited projects with several hundred project hours to ongoing technical support as part of co-sourcing by our clients. Especially with the latter project format, billing is based on hours worked, so a record of work that is as accurate and complete as possible is required."
"The acceptance by the employees is very high and leads to a significantly higher accuracy in time recording."
In the past, this meant that the employees usually had to record their working hours once a week in the office - most of the time the ITRIS employees are on site with the customer. The associated high effort of manually comparing the hours worked with the agreed or calculated hours in the form of Excel spreadsheets meant that the employees found this to be an unpopular and tedious task, which of course had a direct negative effect on the accuracy of the time recording results. Urs Brun recalls: "Project controlling became extremely difficult as a result."
"ZEP is really well received by the staff and is used intensively. Project controlling is made much easier by the extensive evaluations. For example, I receive a notification when a certain threshold value is reached in a project, e.g. 75 per cent of the agreed hours, and can take appropriate action."
For this reason, the decision was made at ITRIS Maintenance AG to look for an alternative for time recording and project controlling. Urs Brun explains: "Our focus was clearly on time recording, which should be simple and intuitive in the future. Since our employees are 'on the road' most of the time, they should also be able to record their working hours on the go. Mobile access to the solution and a mobile app for time recording were therefore key criteria in the decision.
At the beginning of 2015, the decision was finally made in favour of the ZEP solution - time recording for projects - from provantis IT Solutions. The web-based solution has been on the market since 2000 and offers project-oriented companies a complete solution for time recording and verification, travel expenses, project management and controlling as well as invoicing. The solution is offered in both cloud computing and on-premise operating models. ITRIS opted for the latter. "A fundamental decision by the management, the data should remain 'in-house'," explains Urs Brun - and adds: "The operation of a software application like ZEP is also not too much of a challenge for us as an IT service company with our own IT infrastructure."
ZEP has now been in use at ITRIS Maintenance AG for a year. The system enjoys a high level of acceptance among the employees. Urs Brun confirms: "ZEP is really well received by the staff and is used intensively. Project controlling is made much easier by the extensive evaluations. For example, I receive a notification when a certain threshold value is reached in a project, e.g. 75 per cent of the agreed hours, and can take appropriate action."
Thanks to the SOAP API available for ZEP, ITRIS also succeeded in intelligently integrating the Excel-based quotation system used in the company, the CRM system of ITRIS Maintenance AG and the time recording system.
Urs Brun explains: "The quotations created in our quotation solution can be transferred directly to ZEP with the individual calculated services via the SOAP interface and are additionally enriched there with the customer data from our CRM system, which are also imported via the API. The individual items of the quotation are then available as individual processes in ZEP and can be 'processed' and documented by the employee. Furthermore, the offer and additional documents relevant to the project are stored in the ZEP process. The employee therefore has all the information about the project available at the touch of a button, anytime and anywhere.
Urs Brun's conclusion after almost exactly one year of using ZEP at ITRIS Maintenance AG: "We are glad to have made the decision for ZEP, because it has helped us to achieve our goal of intuitive and timely time recording without paperwork. The acceptance among the employees is very high and leads to a significantly higher accuracy in time recording. Precise and comprehensive project controlling is now finally possible with ZEP, even when it comes to many different projects with varying durations, scope and format."