Visual Studio Magazine announced the winners of its 22nd annual Reader’s Choice Awards. The 2015 winners are chosen by the readers of Visual Studio Magazine and honor the best Visual Studio-related tools and services in 31 categories.
This evening, Openhour's Mark Hirsch will be joining Microsoft Ventures in New York's, Henry Kaufman Management Center, to share his experiences leading a software start-up amid Microsoft Ventures' accelerator program. Openhour created TimeTracker – an automatic, intuitive timesheet compiling tool that captures your professional efforts, project by project, and prepares the data for your review and submission.
From 6:00 to 8:00 PM EST, Microsoft Ventures will invite potential accelerator participants to engage Microsoft's Ventures and Azure Machine Learning teams to learn about the upcoming Machine Learning-focused program and how it may benefit their up-and-coming venture.
Given Openhour's past and present interest in Microsoft's supporting efforts among the technology start-up community, we're hopeful Hirsch's insights provide attendees the information they need to pursue a chance at being one of sixteen Machine Learning ventures.
At Openhour, improving productivity is top-of-mind in every feature we build and launch. We're always striving to find ways to make time tracking easier, and our calendar integration is just one way we're meeting that goal. TimeTracker saves you time by automatically tracking activities on your computer and phone, then matching your activity with project codes.
Calendar coordination, with TimeTracker. The effort required to compare the content of one’s calendars, timesheets, and daily activities demands time that could be better focused elsewhere. TimeTracker saves users time by including scheduled meetings and other activities, removing the need to compare and contrast information across platforms.
By simply inserting #TT into the meeting description on Microsoft Exchange, Google, or iCal calendar, TimeTracker automatically transfers each tagged meeting to your timesheet. And TimeTracker assigns the correct billing code to all meeting participants, saving both you and your colleagues the need to individually enter that time.
Like everything else in Openhour’s TimeTracker solution, you have control and can decide to add/edit/remove any items before submitting.
For those already using TimeTracker, directions to get you started:
- Microsoft Exchange Calendar: Your Administrator can enable TimeTracker for your organization. Once enabled, you can opt-in or -out via the TimeTracker Account Settings. See upper right pull-down in the TimeTracker browser.
- Google Calendar: You can easily configure TimeTracker to retrieve your meetings. You can see instructions here at this Google Calendar blog post.
- iCal Calendar: If you use iCal, here are simple instructions for associating an iCal calendar with a Google Calendar, which TimeTracker can access.
We're pleased to announce Openhour's TimeTracker has been nominated for a Reader's Choice Award in Visual Studio Magazine, among Productivity Tools. Following our recent integration with Visual Studio 2015, Openhour is excited by the positive feedback received from developers using Microsoft's comprehensive, application-building platform. TimeTracker users have noted the ease of integration with Visual Studio 2015, and their newfound ability to do more with the workday, relieved of the burden of composing a daily timesheet.
The Openhour team hopes to build upon this encouraging feedback, and we invite you to support us in that process by voting for TimeTracker in Visual Studio Magazine's annual Reader's Choice Awards. To vote for Openhour's TimeTracker, simply access the digital voting form and seek us under Productivity Tools.
We understand this requires your effort and time – two things we want to preserve on your behalf – and we appreciate your vote, immensely.
Starting today, those interested in benefitting from the time-management capabilities of Openhour's TimeTracker can download the platform via the Visual Studio Gallery. With our recent Visual Studio 2015 integration, TimeTracker hosts improved functionality for developers working within Microsoft's comprehensive application-building environment. And for those assessing time daily against a project plan or client requests, TimeTracker can alleviate the burden of documenting one's spent time; the tool runs in the background, automatically capturing your professional efforts using project codes, ultimately presenting a compiled, fully editable timesheet for your review and submission.
Click here to download Openhour's TimeTracker from the Visual Studio Gallery.
TimeTracker integrates with an array of tools offered by Adobe, Apple, Google, Intuit, and Microsoft, and we are continually expanding the capacity of Openhour's premier productivity-focused platform. Today, we are pleased to announce the integration of TimeTracker with Microsoft Visual Studio 2015.
With TimeTracker automatically capturing time for those building within the Visual Studio Development Environment (IDE), we can help document and understand how developers spend their productive time, and eventually provide thoughtful analytics to guide professional endeavors and improve developers' overall workday experience.
"Together, Openhour and Microsoft provide a solution that helps developers focus on what matters most," explains Openhour CEO, Mark Hirsch.
We anticipate further integrations with Microsoft services to better serve Openhour customers – providing fitting solutions for businesses, large and small, and across industries.
Be the first to get TimeTracker for Microsoft Visual Studio 2015. Register here.
TimeTracker integrates fluidly with tools available in Microsoft Office, Google Apps, and Adobe Creative Cloud, as well as productivity applications by Apple, among others. Today, we are thrilled to highlight our integration of TimeTracker with Intuit QuickBooks. With TimeTracker automatically capturing time, it is now even easier to submit time to QuickBooks, providing a streamlined process for submitting completed projects to clients.
Together, TimeTracker and QuickBooks provide a solution that lets professionals focus on what matters most.
We are encouraged by the partnership with Intuit, and look to continue integrating with Intuit's other business and financial management solutions for small businesses, consumers and accounting professionals.
Be the first to get TimeTracker for QuickBooks. Simply register here and then in your Account Settings (Preferences section), simply click the "Connect to QuickBooks" button.
For those professionally invested in client services – from a digital creative agency crafting developing applications, to a legal firm verbalizing the respective positions of clientele – it’s likely your day-to-day workplace endeavors are in a constant flux; from new clients to fresh projects, each day invites something different – often requiring a different focus. TimeTracker is built to adapt with you, to make sure tracking your time remains as effortless as possible.
Your project efforts, captured with ease.
With TimeTracker, you can add, edit, or hide projects in your Projects List at any time. Click the gear icon of the Projects section on the right side of the Calendar View.
If you have an individual account, you'll be able to Add/Create projects in the same location. If you have a TimeTracker Team or Enterprise account, you'll be able to Add projects to your list from the organization's list. Just double-click on a Project to move it into your list.
Your Project List will be visible in all of TimeTracker interfaces – browser, desktop application, and the Adobe Creative Cloud extension. Make a change in one place, and all interfaces will sync.
Within the Edit Projects panel, you make Hide/Unhide a Project by clicking the Eye Icon. This can be particularly useful if your company has numerous ongoing projects. Simply Hide them when you're done, and Unhide them when they're needed once more.
We are continually looking for new ways to improve the TimeTracker experience – if you have feedback and a moment to spare, please contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With a mass of headlines and marketing campaigns highlighting the importance of Big Data, it may seem somewhat obvious to assert that data is big. Especially now. Over the past decade our capacity to capture and assess massive swaths of data has increased significantly; analysis that would have once commanded hours of processing now requires mere seconds. And we’re only recently beginning to envision how best this newfound ability can be harnessed.
Those of us at Openhour are thrilled to be playing a part in this shared venture by making data meaningful, starting with TimeTracker.
Making data meaningful.
TimeTracker provides you with the personal intelligence needed to continually improve your expenditure of time, from the simplest on-time timesheet preparation, to offering analytical insights to help users understand where the minutes and hours of every day are being spent.
With weighty companies like Microsoft identifying unique ways to integrate data in users’ day-to-day, via platforms like Office Delve and their recent acquisition of VoloMetrix, we’re excited by the market validation, knowing that Openhour’s patent-pending efforts can extract unique productivity analytics from the myriad of data-centric apps and user applications.
Moving forward, with TimeTracker.
As we continue building TimeTracker (and beyond), we’ll offer updates on features, feature benefits, and insights from Openhour’s ever-growing data bank.
In support of our leading goal to help users improve productivity, we’ve built the most sophisticated behavioral analytics platform for professionals; with TimeTracker and beyond, we want to benefit businesses by capturing productivity data and providing actionable, reliable analytics.
"You can’t manage what you can’t measure," explains Openhour CEO, Mark Hirsch.
TimeTracker provides you with the personal intelligence necessary to continually improve your expenditure of time, from the simplest on-time submissions to offering analytical guidance to help users understand where the minutes and hours of every day are being spent.
Have you ever wondered where the day went? Ever considered that you might be faster at responding to emails in the morning? Ever left a meeting and questioned what was accomplished, truly? A holistic view of how you are spending your time can help prioritize time in the future.
Quantify your performance.
Quantified Performance will continue to be a focus for Openhour, and we have a collection of data-driven features intended to assist those dedicated to improving their personal and professional productivity.
We know you can’t get your time back, but we hope that TimeTracker can get close.
Cross-device, cross-platform integrations.
TimeTracker is taking a step closer to aggregating time across busy lifestyles and multiple mediums. Future phases of Openhour include phone, fitness trackers, and Internet-of-Things integrations, to make tracking time as effortless as possible, using the devices and platforms that are already a part of your life.
And of course, we will place updates to the Openhour Blog as we continue developing and launching new integrations for TimeTracker.
When choosing a cloud computing platform, a number of details are likely to drive the decision. For many companies, database breadth and ease of integration lead the selection process, though for those with a consumer-facing product, performance metrics may trump all other measures.
"Performance impacts the customer in both obvious and not-so-evident ways. At Openhour, the experience of our customers inspires every innovation," explains CEO Mark Hirsch.
With our recent transition to Azure, the Openhour engineering team identified a notable improvement in the customer experience of TimeTracker; with faster, more consistent service, our platform will be more responsive to customers’ individual needs, and ultimately, more engaging as a whole.
And these gains in performance positively impact our engineering team, too.
Openhour engineers note Azure’s extended global database network and flexibility among operating systems, programming languages, databases and devices, offer a superior overall engineering experience – encouraging faster, more resolute builds by the team. Coupled with Microsoft’s strong customer service, our Azure engagement has been little short of flawless.
As we continue our transition to Azure – expected to release in-full over the coming week – we will provide platform-specific updates and tips from our engineers to yours.
As we execute on the broader vision for Openhour, we continue expanding TimeTracker features and developing additional ways for users to maximize their time with automatic learning from their behaviors. As a part of our growth, and following participation in the Microsoft Ventures’ accelerator, we’ve made the decision to move our business from AWS to Microsoft’s cloud solution Azure, to capitalize on improved performance, global capacity, and ease of development.
As with any significant technical transition, we were prepared for a challenge, starting with learning a completely different user interface.
Fortunately, Microsoft’s cloud solution offers a UI that is “far more consistent and predictable” than competing platforms, explains Openhour CTO, David Torres. “Azure feels very interface driven,” says Torres, who affirms to those new to Azure, “Once you understand the basics you can navigate very quickly.”
Torres recommends dedicating time to understand Azure’s interface to take advantage of the breadth of features.
Encountering issues during the transition process, the Openhour technical team has been pleased with Microsoft’s “personalized, hands-on” approach to customer service. “I'm definitely enjoying working with Azure and it keeps improving every day,” says Torres, who assures Microsoft’s Azure support team has “been extremely helpful in planning architecture and solving issues.”
As Openhour engineers continue to learn more about the Azure platform, we’ll offer updates on our experience and any tips we believe may be helpful for those new to Microsoft's cloud solution.
Companies now have access to tools capable of providing meaningful data regarding the collective production and rumblings of employees; figures outlining time spent and items addressed, including details on staff involved and their whereabouts throughout. And sometimes, more. But in seeking transparency, where does individual privacy stand in the workplace? As David Streitfeld questions in his New York Times piece on the new role of "data-crunching" in corporate time management, "How much can bosses ratchet up intensity?"
And if the desired result is a stronger company – an environment where both the corporate community and its outputs are in support of improved productivity – perhaps we should instead ask, "How can executives run their companies most effectively while preserving individual privacy and company culture?"
At Openhour, we believe the activity of individual employees should be disclosed only by choice. Full stop.
Additionally, we've found executives can better assess and understand the workings of their organization leveraging aggregate data that preserves employee privacy. The best of both worlds.
Our productivity management platform, TimeTracker, permits users to automatically capture their daily professional efforts, producing a fully editable timesheet and associated productivity analytics that can only be accessed and submitted by the individual user; only following user timesheet submission can management review an individual's timesheet.
With Openhour's approach in TimeTracker, we've proven the value in anonymized, aggregate data. Management staff are able to view analytics at a high-level across the organization using Openhour's platform, providing clarity to project progress and overall productivity, while maintaining morale among staff who might otherwise feel overwhelmed by unnecessary oversight.
As we begin to contemplate the bounds of "intensity" in the workplace, we hope people consider the impact of privacy infringement. With Openhour, organizations can effectively monitor time spent and tasks completed, while ensuring staff are respected.
When beginning a venture, one often envisions an ambitious goal that solves a significant problem; to develop a solution so complete, the product launch itself feels like a finale of sorts. Looking back, this beautifully positive outlook was a part of my vision when starting Openhour (formerly CreativeWorx). We were on a mission to provide something spectacular for creative services industries, addressing an issue that has plagued consultants and firms alike, for decades.
Then we got started. The path of a successful venture rarely follows a straight line.
Upon first launching one year ago, we presented TimeTracker – a platform that solved the problems of late and inaccurate timesheets by leveraging automated activity collection, big data analysis, and machine learning. Despite the appealing market size and positive reaction from clients, I couldn’t help but examing the resulting analytics and contemplate the possibility that we had built something more meaningful than initially planned.
And in business, meaningfulness ought to be pursued, when possible.
Microsoft Ventures selected our company to participate in their four-month start-up accelerator focused on enterprise productivity. Their investment and engagement became the catalyst to accelerate our development and capitalize on the much broader opportunity that we had created with our platform. The pieces were coming together.
The Openhour platform has the potential to solve many issues across industries, by automatically capturing and understanding how people consume time. We are defining a new category of personal metrics, called Quantified Performance.
This expansion of our product drives productivity improvements related to how time is spent. While highlighting something as everyday as time, our platform was beginning to feel, well, exciting.
NEW PRODUCT, NEW VISION
Given our new product developments, the need to rebrand the company became obvious; clients, partners and investors felt the name CreativeWorx no longer aligned with our vision. We needed to reflect the value we provide people and organizations.
Openhour encourages users to understand the details of how they spend their time, so they can identify and maximize each open hour; we want to encourage people to better balance their lives, through time. And at an organizational level, effective time management is imperative, improving productivity and personal satisfaction.
Those of us at Openhour realize this is a significant endeavor, but we’re pursuing it with the understanding that “significant” was one of our first collective goals.
THE FUTURE OF OPENHOUR
Time is the one resource we cannot get back. The Openhour mission is to help people save and enjoy our most precious resource, and we’re excited to see others are compelled by this vision.
Over the past month we’ve invited press to experience the new company and platform. Resulting from these efforts, Joao-Pierre Ruth of Xconomy crafted this piece highlighting our work amid Microsoft Ventures and intention to expand our focus, with Openhour.
As we continue on our path, we anticipate sharing additional stories on Openhour developments by press resources.
Above all, thank you for joining us on this adventure. We're grateful to have you with us.
Mark Hirsch | CEO of Openhour
"CreativeWorx achieved an amazing feat of completing a production quality integration with Quickbooks Online in just 2 days," commented Tony Chang, Product Manager, Intuit Platform Services. "Their time tracking solution is very innovative and I look forward to seeing this in the hands of our customers soon."
CreativeWorx TimeTracker solves the problems of late and inaccurate timesheets by automatically capturing how time is spent at work and generating an accurate timesheet for easy review, adjustment and submission.
"We are thrilled to be highlighted by Intuit for the integration of TimeTracker and QuickBooks," said Mark Hirsch, CreativeWorx CEO. "With so many professionals struggling with timesheets, the combination of QuickBooks and TimeTracker finally offers a solution that lets professionals focus on what matters most."
Used in over 100 countries, TimeTracker has already taken the world by storm, by automatically capturing time spent in tools like Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, Apple Productivity Tools, browsers and more. The integration with the QuickBooks accounting platform was an obvious next step.
The release of the TimeTracker Add-on for QuickBooks is expected in a few weeks, and CreativeWorx is allowing people to signup for early access.
Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. There were events held simultaneously this weekend at multiple cities around the globe. Attendance of the NYC event reached maximum capacity, and the teams were praised by the venture capitalists and other industry notables who judged the event.
CreativeWorx is a New York-based technology company redefining personal productivity, especially in the enterprise. The CreativeWorx platform provides sophisticated behavioral analytics that helps professionals run their businesses with accurate, reliable, and actionable productivity data.
TimeTracker Overview video: http://vimeo.com/90387965
About Intuit Inc.
Intuit Inc. creates business and financial management solutions that simplify the business of life for small businesses, consumers and accounting professionals.
Its flagship products and services include QuickBooks®, Quicken® and TurboTax®, which make it easier to manage small businesses and payroll processing, personal finance, and tax preparation and filing. Mint.com provides a fresh, easy and intelligent way for people to manage their money, while Demandforce® offers marketing and communication tools for small businesses. ProSeries® and Lacerte® are Intuit's leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants.
Founded in 1983, Intuit had revenue of $4.5 billion in its fiscal year 2014. The company has approximately 8,000 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations. - See more at: http://www.free-press-release.com/news-intuit-recognizes-creativeworx-timetracker-as-having-best-functional-integration-with-quickbooks-1432108942.html#sthash.n9JITurl.dpuf
FastCompany.com published this insightful article about what you can learn if you track you time for just a week. We've summarized our favorite lessons from Fast Company's list here:
1. THERE’S A REASON YOU’RE LATE TO WORK How long does it take you to get ready in the morning, at a comfortable pace? Rushing out the door in the morning can set a bad tone for your whole day. The only way to avoid rushing is to measure your morning routine, and allow enough time.
2. YOU MAY WORK LESS THAN YOU THINK Working longer hours doesn't mean that you are getting more done. If you track your time, you might find that those 60+ hour weeks are that long because you are spending too much time on non-productive tasks like meetings, admin, or web browsing.
3. YOUR RATES ARE TOO LOW Most people set their hourly rate based on an guess about what their colleagues charge. A much better way is to track your time for a few weeks, understand what portion of your time is billable work, and then work back from the monthly paycheck you need to live comfortably.
4. BREAKS ARE WORTHWHILE As we've discussed in past blog posts "productive procrastination" can make you much more effective, if you are mindful about how you spend your breaks. Take the time to step away from your work and think about your broader goals, then come back to your work with a fresh perspective.
5. SOME MULTI-TASKING WORKS BETTER THAN OTHERS Are you sure you work better with music, podcasts or news playing in the background? Only one way to find out - track your time with and without your media playing.
CreativeWorx TimeTracker can be an invaluable tool for understanding how you work, and how to be more effective & productive. Just run TimeTracker in the background, and with almost zero effort you'll get a visualization of exactly how you spend your time.
We'd all like to be more productive at work, but like anything worthwhile, improving your productivity takes effort and requires constant tweaking of your approach. Forbes.com suggests ways to hone your productivity - here are some points from the Forbes article that struck home for us:
1. Understand Your Body's Timetable
As a culture, we've arbitrarily decided that most work should happen between 9am and 5pm, with a break at noon. However, our bodies all have their own natural rhythms. Some of us can identify as "morning people", and for others, the best hours are in the lead up to heading home, or after the sun goes down. Its important to understand your own body's timetable, and make sure you plan the toughest tasks for when your energy levels are at their best, and leave the easy tasks for when you're feeling less energized and motivated.
2. Prioritize Prioritizing
Don't leave your productivity to chance. Put together a prioritized todo list so you know where to focus. There are so many great todo list tools available to help you get control of your productivity, and access your todo list on all your devices. It helps to sort your todo list into logical categories like "admin" and "project work", or by difficulty/effort so you can attack each task at the most appropriate time for your body's timetable. It also helps to create a separate list or tag for "Waiting" or "Blocked" tasks, when you have to wait for someone else to finish their task before you can start.
3. Take Breaks
Your brain wasn't made for relentless laser-focus. To stay at your most productive, you should take a break at least once an hour to give your brain time to refresh and refocus on the bigger picture. If you work on a computer all day, try to step away from your desk and socialize, or get some different scenery. If you're under fluorescent lighting all day, step outside and get some natural light. Give your eyes time to refresh too - try not to spend your breaks staring into your Facebook feed.
4. Don't Multi-Task
Have you noticed that people who say they are "great multitaskers" are often the productivity bottlenecks in your company? The human brain is great at focusing on one thing at a time. Best to understand this, and avoid trying to be super-human. Focus on one todo list item at a time, and move onto the next when its completely finished.
5. Create A Five-Minute List
Set up a list of tasks that would take you under five minutes, and power through these before you dive into the meaty stuff. Some productivity methodologies like Getting Things Done (GTD) recommend that any task that takes under five minutes should be done immediately. Such tasks can be a productive way to take a break from the bigger brain bending tasks.
This one wasn't on Forbes' list, but we think its critical...
6. Understand how you spend your time
With very little effort, you can get TimeTracker to automatically track your activities over the course of your work week. Do you know how much time you spent in meetings this week? Or how much time you spent browsing the web, versus working in your creative applications? TimeTracker can tell you all this and more.