Headquartered in Calabasas, CA, ExakTime, a mobile workforce management company, has developed an innovative approach to streamline processes for construction workers across the industry. On the other side of the country in South Bend, IN, Wayne Wise, VP of Development for ExakTime has been the person behind the scenes driving digital transformation to better connect the company’s remote workforce and ensure robust services continue to be provided for their customers.
Over the years, the company’s remote workforce has grown large in size, making it harder for teams to effectively collaborate. To better connect this workforce, Wise knew he needed an innovative solution to bolster communication and optimize operations across the company. He started out with tools like Slack and Skype for internal communications, but they only solved part of the problem. Key players weren’t always invited to the right meetings, and sometimes double the work was done. “I wanted to kill time-wasting ‘water cooler’ conversations that left important people out of virtual meetings,” says Wise.
Wise knew that in order to keep moving forward, ExakTime had to leverage the right tools to create seamless communication and allow for a greater degree of collaboration among teams.
To solve for this, the company enlisted the help of Microsoft’s Development Support Service. Led by an Application Development Manager (ADM), the company explored its technology needs, as well as the available solutions, and the plan for achieving its business goals through digital transformation.
The impact delivered through added support and better collaboration has given the company new ways to work more effectively.
How the ExakTime platform works
ExakTime leverages Azure for its digital timeclock system, which allows its customers’ employees to clock in and clock out from their mobile devices. Azure integrates all of ExakTime’s customer data into one place, and allows employees to easily move between jobs, track the time spent at each job, and accurately report that information to their supervisors. Paper-based timeclock systems leave too much room for human error, and don’t allow for seamless integration across platforms.
ExakTime’s platform also allows timeclock information to be exported into 80 different packages, including Dynamics and QuickBooks.
“We love Azure because we can look at what we are doing, how we can do it better, save costs, and put that money back into the platform to continue to optimize,” says Wise.
Improving employee communication with Teams
Wise could see that ExakTime’s current communication channels weren’t as effective as they could be. When the beta version of Microsoft Teams came out, Wise jumped at the opportunity to introduce it to his employees. ExakTime was already a Microsoft shop, and he was interested to see what the new communications platform was about. He selected one of his development crews to test it out, and after only three days of that one crew using Teams, everyone wanted to use it. Within two weeks, all previous tools and systems were scrapped and all ExakTime’s development teams were switched to the Teams platform.
The initial success of the Teams implementation encouraged Wise to take things one step further. ExakTime installed TVs complete with a computer, webcam, and microphone in team rooms in the company’s South Bend office to help facilitate company-wide meetings, whether employees were in the physical office or working remotely. Teams allowed employees to connect in a way that even though they weren’t in the same room, technology allowed them to feel like they were. Executives could easily pop in and pop out of meetings and check in with individual teams seamlessly. The new system even allowed ExakTime to save about $2,100 a month by doing away with their old phone system.
From Teams to fully utilizing Office 365
Originally on AWS, ExakTime is now all-in on Azure. The company’s entire digital infrastructure is now on the Azure cloud, and employees leverage O365 applications daily. They have remote access to emails and files and can collaborate and connect with each other like never before.
ExakTime can now conduct business without disruption, which Wise says is because everyone has access to files anywhere, any time. They can work remotely if they have an appointment and not stress about having to leave from or go back to the office afterward.
Wise set up a virtual chatroom on Teams for technical support questions. Developer teams across ExakTime can help troubleshoot tech and development issues for their coworkers or receive help with their own problems. Anyone in the company has access to these secure files, which reduces repeat questions, and employees can use Teams’ search function to see what others are struggling with to proactively address these same issues within their own programming.
A huge part of ExakTime’s success is because of the Developer Support Services’ ADM role — they’re still engaged with and providing ongoing support to Wise and his team. Developer Support Services and Microsoft’s tools have allowed ExakTime to keep thinking bigger.
“Microsoft’s Application Development Manager has gotten us the right meetings and internal staff members to make our experience beneficial and meaningful. We are able to continually optimize operations, iterate on new processes, and better provide services for our customers,” says Wise.
Wise and his team are currently working on artificial intelligence (AI) for data analytics, which will allow users to analyze sentiment within the ExakTime app. Supervisors can have conversations about employees, job sites, and job codes within the app, and then higher ups can use AI to track sentiment to identify issues. They’re also working on incorporating GPS and photos into the timeclock system so employees on a job site can be easily identified.
As ExakTime continues to scale, Azure technology will make it easy to provide the tools and systems the company needs to deliver amazing service to its customers and maintain a connected, effective organization, no matter where its employees reside.