Week of November 20, 2000
  Special Report

Do You Know What Your Remote Worker is Doing? Innovative Software Keeps Track of Employee Productivity

By RON STARNER • Editor of Site Selection Magazine

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The trend toward telecommuting and outsourcing provides a number of challenges for corporate workplace managers, but none more daunting than this: How do you know what your remote workers are doing while they are on the clock?

Asking them to fill out timesheets that keep a daily log of work hours has been the traditional approach, but even that method has its limitations. For one thing, it doesn't really track productivity, and in most cases it's based totally on an honor system.

Enter The Digirati, based in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, and its new invention -- TimePiece. Labeled a "Microsoft Windows Time Tracking Software," TimePiece allows the employer to track every computer-related task performed by every company employee and contract worker in the Windows environment, right down to every single click of the mouse and movement of the cursor.

Sound far-fetched? It isn't, says The Digirati co-founder Rob Teem. "By writing code that taps in at the kernel level of the Microsoft Windows operating system, companies can monitor every computerized interaction by anyone running the client copy of TimePiece," says Teem. "We have one of the best developers in the nation in The Digirati's co-founder Kerry B. Rogers, who created TimePiece. This application is so seamless that it can run in the background of the Windows OS while monitoring and recording worker productivity. In essence, the worker doesn't even know it's there."

While some observers may regard TimePiece as the ultimate in "Big Brother" monitoring of the workplace, Teem says he sees his invention as a step toward reducing operational costs. For the first time, he says, companies will actually be able to track exactly how many hours it takes to complete specified tasks, whether those tasks are performed by company employees or by contract workers.

TimePiece also provides an accurate accounting for managers desiring a second opinion on costly projected task durations. The Digirati will collect generic data from multitudes of companies using TimePiece and feed collective web-based comparisons back to each company, on demand. Essentially, this will allow the companies to see how their efforts compare with their competitors and partners performing the same tasks.

"TimePiece allows you to assign each executing software program running within the Windows environment to a particular project," notes Teem. "Any windows spawned by your software can be assigned to a specific task. As your program switches between these windows, TimePiece automatically and meticulously logs the information necessary to effectively evaluate complete Windows usage, constantly building a running log of all movements within the Windows environment."

Furthermore, adds Teem, logging is achieved through use of Microsoft's SQL Server database and can be easily converted to many popular database formats including Oracle, Sybase, Access, dBase, Paradox, BTRIEVE and FoxPro.

The launch of the product will be followed immediately by a supporting web site that allows the users of the client version of TimePiece to compare themselves against similarly enabled users around the globe. A beta version of the TimePiece application is expected to be tested in a pilot program within 180 days.

A preview of the program will soon be available at www.thedigirati.com.



©2000 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.