By Doug Weiner, Beacon Legal Software Services
We’ve heard all the excuses for why a timekeeper doesn’t have current, accurate time entries, from “The dog ate my diaries” to “My secretary trashed the legal pad with my notes.” Even though we’ve heard them all, there is no excuse for the lack of proper timekeeping, especially if your timekeepers have the latest time capture software from Smart WebParts — Smart Time Version 3.0.
I had an opportunity recently to take a look at the newly released version of Smart Time and give it a test drive. Because I had already seen earlier versions of the product, I was especially eager to see what the improvements to the user interface and the Silverlight platform would add to the application.
The software works by hooking into your phone switch, email system and document management package, and provides each timekeeper with a daily recap of potentially billable activities. Using pre-built connectors, Smart Time offers reminders of daily activity, which serve as a source for the creation of time cards.
All well and good – but remember that each timekeeper has a different set of preferences, which is why Smart Time allows users to configure the behavior of the system to meet their needs. With an interface developed in Microsoft’s latest Silverlight technology, the timekeeper flows seamlessly through setting up filters, rearranging columns, setting delegation rules or selecting between Excel and Word formats.
Another great feature is that Smart Time increases its benefit with use. Learned associations between phone numbers, email addresses and documents help it suggest appropriate client and/or matters (which the timekeeper can easily modify). Other controls available include blocking specific phone numbers (calls from your child’s principal), or setting minimum lengths for phone calls.
Smart Time is sensitive to your client’s confidential data. Email tracking only includes the subject line (never the text of the email), and the timekeeper can choose specific email folders to be excluded from the process. IT folks will be happy to know that Smart Time utilizes a light footprint on email servers with its Exchange data warehouse technology.
This is a well thought out product. The back end is very smart and the Silverlight user interface is intuitive and engaging. It’s time capture done right.