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Software Lets Santa Barbara Move Worker Timesheets Off Paper

With an investment the city’s IT manager regarded as overdue, Santa Barbara will automate several regular paper processes by using Kronos' Workforce Dimensions and Workforce TeleStaff.

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Switching from paper to software timekeeping, the city of Santa Barbara has bought a pair of software products from Kronos which it hopes will simplify several operational tasks at once.

According to an announcement from Kronos, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider of workforce management tools headquartered in Massachusetts, Santa Barbara invested in the cloud-based Workforce Dimensions suite and Workforce TeleStaff, an automated scheduling tool specifically designed for public safety employees.

The city’s IT Manager Maryanne Knight said that, up to this point, city staff have been filling out time sheets manually, then entering that information into Tyler Technologies’ Munis, which issues paychecks. Under this system, Knight said, the company had no way to track FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) or other entitlement leave, and there was no automated way to make sure employees were complying with labor laws. The manual system only logged weekly hours, preventing supervisors from running diagnostics to identify which days a given employee was out sick, for example. 

Knight said the city chose Dimensions for its ability to integrate with TeleStaff, Munis and Microsoft Outlook; because staff said they liked its modern interface; to save staff time on compliance and validation issues; and to generally bring Santa Barbara into the 21st century.

“It’s 2019 and we’re still using paper time sheets. That’s the biggest thing, it’s just modernizing … and having that data available, once we do,” she said. “We wanted something that would integrate and be able to be integrated going forward, so we had concerns that if we, say, purchased TeleStaff and then another product, that we would be stuck with the installation of TeleStaff as it was. Because we know that Kronos has the intent to ultimately integrate the two products more thoroughly.”

Knight said the new system could pay itself off by automating several workforce management tasks and giving employees remote access to their time sheets, saving considerable staff time.

“We expect to see a good return on investment through the product … We are definitely investing in modern technology,” she said. “For a lot of our departments, because the process is manual, they have multiple people involved in the whole payroll process … so we’re looking at reducing the workload, both in the departments and in payroll.” 

By the numbers

Knight provided the following breakdown of costs for the project: 

Total budget for project: $824,370

Kronos (contract plus contingencies): $616,245

Kronos implementation: $121,822

SDI Presence (project management services — the city doesn't have an in-house IT project manager): $208,125 

Workforce Dimensions annual licensing cost: $38,135

Workforce TeleStaff annual licensing cost: $35,040

(Both Dimensions and TeleStaff are locked in for a five-year contract, at a total cost of $365,875.) 

"We also allocated sufficient contingency funds to convert the salary licenses to hourly, if the city decides to have all staff except directors, managers and supervisors start punching in rather than just recording exceptions to their standard schedule," Knight said in an email.

Not included in the $824,370 project budget is an additional $125,000 for the purchase of timeclocks, if needed, Knight said, although she indicated she doesn't expect to spend that much.

Techwire contributed to this report.

Andrew Westrope is a staff writer for Government Technology. Before that, he was a reporter and editor at community newspapers for seven years. He has a Bachelor’s degree in physiology from Michigan State University and lives in Northern California.