When you start researching time tracking and monitoring solutions it’s normal you start looking at comparisons between different apps. We see it first-hand, because it’s not rare that we get questions from prospects who are wondering what is the difference between Insightful and DeskTime or Time Doctor.
All three of these can be categorized as “business time management software”, however this term is very broad and includes different types of solutions, mainly:
- Time and attendance software
- Time tracking software
- Employee monitoring software.
The three software solutions we’ve mentioned can fit into the time tracking software and employee monitoring category. The lines are fine, but you’ll see from our description of the apps what are the main differences, where they excel and what is our biggest advantage compared to them.
Insightful vs. DeskTime
Insightful is the perfect DeskTime alternative. They both fall into the time tracking software/employee monitoring category, so they are very similar. Depending on how you set them up, it’s likely you could get the same information from both versions of the software.
Despite the similarities, these two software have some major differences and we’re going to present them in three different groups:
- Monitoring features
- User experience
Both of these solutions are capable of tracking computer activities automatically. However, you could say that DeskTime is in a way more aggressive when it comes to monitoring features. We’re saying this because it’s able to track direct URLs, while Insightful only shows you the name of the website employee is visiting. While this feature might be excellent as an added security layer, it can definitely be considered more intrusive, and it could endanger your employees’ privacy.
Both solutions have a screenshot option, which you can turn on or off. Additionally, screenshots are taken at random times during the hour (you set the frequency), or with Insightful you can take an instant screenshot whenever you need it.
DeskTime allows employees to turn off the software when they want, for example if they’re on their break. However, at Insightful, we believe that such a system is susceptible to human error. Employees can easily forget to turn back on the employee screenshot monitoring software, once they’re back from the break. Which is why we created a Private Time option, which employees can select while they’re on their break. When this option is turned on, Insightful stops tracking everything. You can limit the private time during the day, so employees aren’t able to exploit this option. Once the time runs out, Insightful will keep tracking activities.
On the other hand, Insightful leads when it comes to security because it can be installed in stealth mode, which makes it perfect if you’re trying to catch someone red-handed.
Installation of Insightful is much simpler than DeskTime, because Insightful contains one small installation file and you can either invite your employees through email to install it, or you can use an active directory and install it on all office computers at once.
On the other hand, DeskTime requires that you invite employees to join you and install additional browser extension so you can track URLs. Their interface isn’t as friendly as Insightful’s. Some information is only accessible through a few confusing steps, instead of through one click.
Additionally, Insightful prides itself in having a stellar customer support team which is available every day, and usually responds within 10 minutes. We tried contacting DeskTime support through chat, and we waited 80 hours for a response! To be fair, the weekend was included, but still - we know that not every client has weekends off, and if anything goes sideways on a Saturday, you can count on Insightful to fix it.
We really like DeskTime’s feature called Absence calendar. It helps you track and log days when your employees were absent, and it has a scheduling feature to help you plan shifts ahead. Furthermore, it gives you a great visual representation of everyone’s status, so managers know at any point who is at work, who is taking a break, etc. It really makes absence tracking much simpler than most other tools.
Insightful also allow you to see when the employees are absent, but not in the same way as DeskTime. There’s a feature called Time and Attendance in Insightful, which tracks clock-ins and clock-outs, overtime, and offline time (time spent at meetings, or doing work away from the computer). The best of all is that this information is collected automatically. Also, you can connect the software via API to your RFID (radio-frequency identification) or biometric system to get the most accurate data on employees’ attendance and activities within your office.
There’s a big difference in the limitations Insightful and DeskTime can set on their tracking activities. You can set Insightful only to track employees’ computers when they are connected to the company’s network. In the settings tab, you can set routers’ MAC address, and when the employee connects to this network Insightful will start working. This is very useful if your employees are allowed to take computers home and use them for personal activities.
DeskTime does this through IP addresses, which is useful if you have a static IP. However, if your IP changes, there’s not much use for this option. Additionally, if it happens that your network is down for the day, you could lose important pieces of information because the software isn’t able to track employees’ activities.
Insightful vs. TimeDoctor
Even though the customer network and target groups of Insightful and Time Doctor are fairly similar, these two software are pretty different. Insightful is a great Time Doctor alternative if you’re running a company. However, if you’re a freelancer, you might be better off with Time Doctor.
Time Doctor doesn’t track time automatically. The employees are required to click start/stop when they’re working, which can influence their focus. Additionally, as we mentioned before, this leaves a lot of space for human error, so you might get inaccurate data.
Same as Insightful, Time Doctor has an optional screenshot feature which can take screenshots at a set frequency. However, it lacks the option to take screenshots on demand. Additionally, Time Doctor can be set to not track names of apps and websites. More often than not, Time Doctor is used as a tool to track time on projects and tasks, and it isn’t very monitoring-oriented.
Even in the updated version, Time Doctor’s user interface is a bit old school, but with a bit of customization ti can show you all the information you need in one place. One handy feature is the “nudge” option, which is a reminder for your employees to go back to work if they’ve been inactive for some time. Even though it’s useful, it can be quite distracting if you’re watching a video tutorial, or reading something. The thing is that it nudges you based on the predefined database, which might not match with what you consider to be an unproductive website.
A few other handy features include entering breaks, setting shifts, as well as customizing the amount of time user can be inactive before being categorized as “idle”. Breaks and idle time are also available in Insightful.
Now that you know what are the main differences between Insightful, DeskTime and Time Doctor it will be much easier to make a decision. However, if you’re still not sure - reach out to our sales team, we’ll be happy to clear everything up for you.
If you want to sue a remote employee time tracking app, we recommend that you give Insightful a try since it is perfectly tailored for remote teams, and it’s a simpler and more affordable solution than it counterparts.
This article was originally written on June 12th, 2017 by Marija Grgur. It was updated on November 20th, 2019 by Bojana Djordjevic.