Find a Time Clock Partner That Makes
Integrating Time Clocks Easy

When it comes to providing a comprehensive employee time tracking system within your workforce management solution, time and attendance clocks are indispensable.

But we get it, you’re in the software business, not hardware. It’s understandable that your organization may have concerns about taking responsibility for rolling out and maintaining configurable time clocks with your customer’s environment.

The path to simplifying time clock management – especially at scale – is using the right cloud-based middleware, one that can handle your needs to manage your entire customer base. A robust middleware layer lets you cost-effectively deploy and manage large fleets of time clocks for multiple clients with no decline in customer experience as you grow.

Of all the end-points within a time tracking and attendance system, the middleware needed to connect all the other components is the lynchpin to making it all work. And by making it all work, we mean making reselling time clocks as part of an employee attendance data collection system highly profitable for you and valuable for your customers.

AccuCloud’s Middleware Makes Managing Time Clocks Easy

AccuCloud is our cloud-based employee attendance data collection system, which includes a middleware component built to handle installation, updates, fleet expansion, and daily oversight of ATS time clocks that integrate with your software. Our guiding principle as we designed it was to make deployment, integration, and management of your customers’ time clocks easy. Because of the middleware’s power, you can assure your customers that they can be nearly 100% hands-off with their time clocks. They’ll need someone to install the time clocks, but that covers most of their hands-on involvement. It is so easy, that most companies use their own facilities people to take care of that.

On your end, your support team can use the middleware functionality to automate and centralize task management.

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We get into all the details of what the AccuCloud middleware handles in the rest of this article. What we share is what our middleware can do. Each middleware solution is built differently, so we can’t vouch that other time clock vendor’s middleware options do everything the AccuCloud middleware can do for you.

You can opt to use this article as a guide for building your own high-function middleware, although this route will significantly increase the price of your employee time tracking system, and delay your entry into that market.

Regardless of which option you choose, not using a middleware layer to manage time clock deployment, integration, and management should not be one of them.

Planning Stages for Stress-Free Software Configuration

The middleware controls the data and communications flow between the time clocks and your solution. It also pushes out the right time clock configuration to each time clock.

The ATS team works with you to design how you want the time clocks to operate within your environment and what time clock configuration options you give to your customers, such as selecting what reader type they’ll use. You’ll determine what information the time clocks will need from your system and what information they are going to collect to send back. You’ll also decide what functionality, beyond collecting attendance hours punch records, needs to be available at the time clock.

Working with our team, you’ll finalize the time clock configurations that you’ll make available to your customers. You specify which configuration applies to which time clocks to be deployed to a new customer and our team will program those time clocks with a code string identifying the right configuration. Once installed at your customer’s locations, the middleware layer will push out the right configuration to each time clock. Once a time clock connects to the internet for the first time, it makes contact with the middleware, which kicks off the installation process.

Time Clock Integration for Maximum Value

Two-way sharing of data between the time clocks and your system enhances the value of both the employee time tracking system and your Time and attendance management solution. The middleware is responsible for controlling this data flow.

Your team will have direct, real time visibility into each time clock’s integration status through the AccuCloud web management portal. This allows your support team to proactively monitor each time clock’s data flow. When the middleware delivers a collection of employee attendance times records to your system, it flags each work record as sent. Flagging each attendance record this way ensures data integrity and that your customers are running an accurate payroll; no manual cleanup to employee payroll hours needed.

The middleware also uses business rules, data sets, and logical groupings, as defined by you, to automate a lot of the data collection and use case application.

Business Rule Example: Meal Break Management

Many states have labor laws that mandate an unpaid meal break for employees, which usually specifies how long that meal break must last. To ensure compliance, and to ensure they are not including hours meant to be unpaid in their payroll, many companies want to use time clocks to enforce meal break time .

In response to customer requests, you can configure their time clocks with a meal break rule. With a meal break rule, the time clock won’t accept any employee punch back from a meal break if the specified time for the break hasn’t expired. If the customer wants employees to take a 30-minute meal break – then the time clock won’t accept a punch-in within 30 minutes of the meal break punch-out.

Now let’s say the jurisdiction changes its labor laws to require 45 minutes for a meal break. The middleware can quickly push out this change to all time clocks in that jurisdiction. Only the configuration on the middleware needs to be changed, which is far easier than having to make the rule change manually on each affected time clock or not at all.

Data Set Example: Employee location

To provide a positive employee experience at the clock, you want them to be able to punch in and out quickly. Speed at the time clock also keeps productivity up. While our time clocks have terrific processing power and healthy memory, you don’t want to clog them up by downloading every employee’s information to every time clock. Workers in Boston do not need their information on clocks at a business’s Chicago locations.

Creating employee location data sets is an effective, easy way to limit what data gets stored on the time clock.

Logical Grouping Examples: Employee Location and Union Employees

You can place time clocks into logical groupings, based on different parameters. The middleware knows which location-defined employee data set to push out to each clock because each one is placed into a location-based group.

Employees can also be put into a logical group, which allows the same time clock to apply different business rules to different employees. Union employees often have separate labor rules that apply only to them. The middleware and time clock control application of those rules only to employees in the union group.

Punch and Time Tracking Configuration Options for the Time Clocks

Another part of the time clock configuration is specifying the appearance and functionality of your customers’ time clocks. Working with the ATS team, you’ll create clock functionality profiles, which are stored on the middleware. As part of the time clock profile, you can select:

· Which function buttons appear on the time clock

· The wording of all messages needed by the clock

· Which business logo appears on the clock screen, which is useful for your enterprise customers that operate under multiple brand names, such as hotels or hospitals

· For resellers that qualify, their brand can be imprinted on the time clock casing

Stride80 Employee Time Clocks

With the middleware also handling distribution, it’s easy to update hundreds of time clocks at once just by updating their profile on the middleware.

Since we’ve been building employee attendance tracking solutions for decades, we have a pretty good idea of what types of functionality a business may want to add. Thus, we’ve already built a host of time clock functions so they can be added quickly once requested by a customer. A popular request is to allow employees to view their punch records to see their hours at the time clock. We’ve got that built. If you want to turn that on for a bunch of time clocks, we can do that in minutes for you by adding it to their profile.

Getting Employee Time Clocks to Your Customers

Our typical timeline to take your customer from design to go-live is about eight weeks. This includes testing and training, after the configuration and integration build. This timeline might go a bit longer if custom development work is required. In any case, you still don’t have to handle any hardware during this phase either.

The ATS Time Clock Configuration Process

After the configuration design work is done, we need to get the time clocks ready for delivery. To do that, our team:

Step #1: Installs the operating system on each clock.

Step #2: Uploads an identifier code string on each time clock, which tells the middleware what it needs to know to install the operating system, time clock time collection software and specific profile on that clock. This code string also lets the middleware manager pushing out future updates to the time clock’s operating system, software, or configuration.

Step #3: Unless you prefer for ATS to ship your customers’ clocks to you, we can deliver all the time clocks directly to your customer’s locations.

Let the Middleware Handle Most of the Time Clock Deployment Work

To this point, neither you nor your customer has had to touch a time clock! The ATS team does the hands-on work, including middleware configuration that allows it to control the time clock management for deployed time clocks.

Now it’s time to get the time clocks on the walls and operational in the field.

The Right Middleware Makes Time Clocks Truly Plug-and-Play

Your customer’s facilities team can physically install each clock according to the customer’s deployment map. After attaching the time clock to the wall, the facilities team member can power it on and connect it to the internet. The time clock communicates to the ATS-hosted middleware, which in turn pushes out the operating system, AccuCollect time collection software, and time clock profile. And with that … the clock is now operational and ready to accept its first employee punch – unless the business is using biometric readers on their time clocks. Then there’s one more step- enrollment.

Enrolling Employees with Biometric Time Clocks

Employees need to enroll in the biometric system at one of the time clocks designated for their use.

Enrollment through ATS time clock biometric readers is an easy process. Employees can self-serve, following directions at the time clock, and get themselves enrolled. To make sure their enrollment is easy, your customers should:

· Get documented consent from each employee that agrees to participate in the biometric reader process.

· Install the time clocks at a suitable height that makes it easy for employees to use the biometric reader. So a facial recognition reader would get placed higher than a time clock with a fingerprint scanner.

· If using facial recognition, the area around the time clock should be well-lit, but not with direct light hitting the biometric reader.

· Make sure to keep the biometric readers clean.

You can find some more biometric reader enrollment best practices here:

When an employee enrolls at one time clock, a biometric template is created for them, which the clock sends back to the middleware. The middleware then distributes the employee’s template to each time clock that includes that employee in its data set.

With the middleware handling distribution of the employee templates, it’s easy to update which templates should be installed on which time clocks, as employees move locations or leave the business.

The Right Middleware Makes Everything Easy

From the first phase of a new roll out to long-term management, a high-function middleware carries a lot of weight to make time clock fleet management easy and profitable.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to manage a growing time clock fleet without an active middleware layer capable of administering integration and updates. The AccuCloud middleware does all this and it provides you with oversight and reporting tools. Our web management portal gives your team a centralized dashboard from which your team can monitor time clocks, integrations, and more.

As leaders in employee attendance time tracking management systems, it makes sense for us to invest the considerable resources needed to build, maintain, develop, and support a powerful middleware layer. It’s a critical part of time clock management.

For software resellers, it makes less sense to add these costs and time delays, when the purpose in reselling a bundled solution that includes time clocks is to maximize value and profitability.

The easier, faster, more lucrative option is to partner with experts in time clock data collection and time clock management that offers complete system and ongoing support, like our

AccuCloud system. See for yourself what our middleware can do to help you scale quickly; call us today to set up your demo.

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