CNC Global, Toronto, IT Consultants.
Processing far-flung consultant time sheets.
The (Pending) Solution Pieces:
(Vista, CA 760-936-4500)
Adobe Acrobat 4.0
Consultants download their timesheets from the internet.
mistakes get caught before sheets are submitted.
Data is automatically stripped from the form and slotted into the payroll database.
Confirmation of receipt is automatic.
Form calculations are made automatically.
CNC Global Consulting, Toronto, is an IT contract staffing and placement office for banking, financial, insurance, medical, and telecommunications clients across North America. With 1,300 consultants in the field and another 100 or so working
in-house, they were very interested in streamlining input of consultant timesheets to their client billing process. To this end, they are now testing a software solution of mixed parentage: Cardiff Softwares Teleforms and Adobes Acrobat 4.0.
The child of that union is called PDF+Forms. From its mother (lets call that Teleforms), PDF+Forms got its looks and some of its brains. Teleforms
let CNC Global redesign a preexisting hard-copy timesheet into something that could be
faxed or scanned back to headquarters and intelligently OCRed.
in the act.
From its father (Acrobat 4.0), PDF+Forms gets integrity and a better immune system. Adobes Portable Data Format (PDF) files are tamper-proof and virus-resistant. As far as changeability goes, a PDF file is as good as printed.
CNC Globals consultants need only
(a free downloadable) to view and fill in forms obtained from the company web server. With a bit of extra programming on the server side, the
consultants name, contract number, client name, and e-mail address can be pre-entered in the timesheet a nice convenience. Once forms are filled in, however, sheets are still being printed out and presented to supervisors for approval signatures.
And therein lies a rub. Adobe 4.0 supports digital signatures, but the free reader doesnt. Id love to buy 2,500 copies of Acrobat 4.0, says Holmberg, but thats not going to happen. Adobe has tried to address the
problem by releasing
Acrobat Business Tools
, which lets you annotate and digitally sign PDFs. It costs a good deal less than the full Acrobat, but its not (yet) free, and its not something Holmberg sees his company asking clients to install locally, in support of on-site consultants. Until this wrinkle gets pressed, the PDF time sheet wont be available to consultants out in the field.
CNC Global may circumvent the problem altogether, by developing an approval site on a company
Extranet. This would verify the clients identity through user ID and password, let them pull up submitted time sheets, and indicate approval.
the confirmation process, so that consultants no longer fax duplicates and triplicates or tie up lines and people getting verbal confirmation of receipt. And, of course, theyve automated data entry into their consultant payroll and client billing systems.