General Background Information:
CMS Systems, Inc. is a company that provides information systems consulting services to companies in the telecom industry in the United States and the United Kingdom. Due to its success, CMS is hoping to expand its operations into other parts of Europe. Despite its large size, CMS currently uses a manual/spreadsheet-based process for maintaining employee and client data. Management has now decided to implement a company-wide application that will keep track of all of its employees’ hours, calculate employee payroll, and produce invoices for clients based on hours worked by employees.
CMS currently employs 1,500 individuals (900 in the US and 600 in the UK) who serve as systems analysts, developers, managers, testers, maintenance engineers, accountants, lawyers, and sales representatives.
The company also has more than 200 clients in the US and UKx. Clients can have one or more contracts with CMS to provide a variety of consulting services. For example, a single client might have one contract for maintenance of an existing system and also have another contract (sometimes called a work order by the sales force) for the development of a new system.
Some clients are billed based upon negotiated contracts, which stipulate a pre-determined amount for charges --regardless of the number of hours that employees actually work on the contracts. Such contracts are called “fixed price” contracts. Other clients are billed based on the total number of hours provided by CMS employees multiplied by a rate per employee type per employee hour. These arrangements are called “T&M – Time and Materials” contracts. T&M contracts specify a maximum of forty hours per week for which the client is willing to pay. Any amounts over 40 hours per week are not billable, but are considered discounted hours.
For T&M contracts, the rate per hour for each consultant is determined by the employee’s level of expertise. For example, a client pays $100/hour for an employee who is at the level of Systems Analyst I. That same client pay $250/hour for an employee designated as a Manager II.
T&M and Fixed Price contracts are the only two types of contracts currently used by CMS.
All CMS employees must keep a record of the time they spend working for each client on a weekly basis. Because employees can work for more than one client and perform different functions for each client, CMS utilizes “project management” to keep track of employee assignments to client contracts. Employees can be assigned to work on more than one project at a given time. In fact, it is not unusual for an employee to spend time on two or more different projects within the same day.
Just as a client can have more than one contract with CMS, a contract can consist of more than one project. For example, a contract for the development of a new system could be fulfilled in multiple phases. Phase I could include implementation at one client site using a group of consultants in close proximity to that site. Phase II could include implementation at a different site with a potentially different set of consultants. Both of these phases are considered separate projects, even though they are governed by the same contract.
The number of hours worked for each employee on each project must be recorded on a weekly basis. Employees currently log their time using an Excel worksheet. An example of this worksheet is presented below. Notice that the employee’s supervisor is listed on the worksheet. A supervisor is currently required to approve his employees’ timesheets by placing his initials beside his name.
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