It’s been more than a year since we last spoke with DeskTime. A lot has changed since – the company will celebrate its sixth birthday in July 2017, and it can proudly look back on almost 100,000 users of the program all around the world. That is one of the things we are going to talk about with the company’s CEO Artis Rozentāls and customer manager Toms Blodnieks.
DeskTime is an automated time-tracking program that, once installed in a computer, automatically tracks all activities of the user. That way, any person can easily see how productive his or her workday has been, and cut down on the idle time. “The main function of the program is to let people see how they spend their workday. Online websites and other computer programs can be divided into useful ones – those that the person needs in his or her work – and those not useful, or “time thieves”. Tracking lets you see your habits and eliminate ones you don’t need, thereby increasing efficiency of your work. It is a tool to plan and bring order to your working environment,” says Artis. The system is very user-friendly, and it switches on the moment you turn on your computer. Which means that no activity will slip away unnoticed.
Quite often, the first thing that comes to employees’ mind when they learn about the system is that their employer doesn't trust them and wants to control them. According to DeskTime representatives, they know of just a few cases when a company head did not inform his or her employees about the new system in their computers. “We always recommend telling the employees, as it will help motivate them. At the end of each month, a complete report can be issued, listing what jobs have been done, and how long each of them took to do. It’s a business tool to make routine work easier, not something to punish people for the minutes they spend reading the news online,” explains Toms. The tool is especially useful in professions where remote working is preferred, or the person is paid per hour.
New version - based on user recommendations
Over the past six years, the team has done a lot of work, and now the third generation of DeskTime is available. “We have created a completely new product, with new design and functionality, while keeping the options offered in all the earlier versions. At the moment, we already have 95,000 users, and we’re well on our way to 100,000. Our turnover has increased 25% as compared to 2016. We are very happy that the product is winning acclaim all around the world,” says Rozentāls. The company has altered its pricing policy to make it friendlier to small and medium-sized enterprises. The final price of the program is determined by the number of users and functions available. For the Pro version of the tool, the monthly fee is just USD 7 per user.
The latest version of the product also has a screenshot function. This enables the employer to see what exactly an employee is doing at any given moment. “The function is meant to ensure that the manager is not being deceived. For instance, the system can show that a person working remotely is using programs that are necessary in his or her work. But if the manager is not sure whether the programs are being used for a particular project the person is working on, a screenshot will be enough to see whether the employee is being paid for what’s he is doing and not for something he is not,” says Toms. It has to be added that the new function is optional. And nothing is ever concealed – the employee always sees exactly the same information as the manager. The system also has robust security features – the user can set private time, use online banking services while at work, or use the computer for private purposes at home and outside working hours.
The program is in very high demand in Asia and America, but the number of users in Latvia is not even at ten percent. “Latvians have the preconception that this is simply a control tool that encroaches on people’s freedom. In America and Asia, it’s rather perceived as a helper to improve productivity. Of course, we also use English in our work, and our marketing activities are targeted at the global market” Toms goes no to say to explain the modest demand for the product in Latvia. Nevertheless, some of the major market players from Latvia are among the company’s customers, for example, car rental company Sixt, the Baltic’s largest trucking company Kreiss, several public institutions.
In the future, new, quality functions will be added to the product to make it even more user-friendly. “Our goal is to increase turnover 50% annually. We have released the latest version of the product, so we have every reason to believe that this objective is attainable. But we also know full well that turnover will not increase if the number of users is not growing. We organize monthly webinars to explain how to use the product to the best effect,” Artis tells us about the main future plans.