Access control and attendance management, as well as living under the same roof, have many things in common. Starting with the users to be controlled and the technique to recognize them (badges, transponders, etc.). The first has physical security as its mission, and the second is to give concrete help in managing human resources. Today the two systems mostly operate on their own; sometimes, they share the database, but they are rarely integrated into a single solution. As for anti-intrusion and fire-fighting, the path of integration is fraught with obstacles, but at least, in this case, the couple speaks (almost) the same language.
The computerized management of attendance at work represents one of the essential elements in managing human resources. In particular, it is one of the most complex and sophisticated management software applications ever due to the numerous rules linked to the discipline of work and, above all, to the variety of company regulations involved. An electronic attendance management system allows, in summary, to acquire the entry and exit times of workers ( stamping), make available (in real-time or deferred) the list of those present and absent (and latecomers), “balance” the hours worked, highlight the “anomalies” compared to what was expected, manage absences and surpluses (holidays, permits, illnesses, overtime, etc.). And again:
- Calculate the total hours according to certain rules and divide them by salary classes.
- Transfer the monthly data to the payroll procedure for processing wages and salaries.
- Offer a wide range of historical and statistical reports.
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The points of contact
An electronic access control system and living under the same roof have many things in common with attendance management. Starting with the users involved. The checks to be carried out automatically, if guests and visitors are excluded, concern the workers themselves: on the one hand, for the purposes of physical safety, on the other, from an accounting and management point of view. Just as the recognition credential (badge, transponder, etc.) is almost always familiar to the two systems: in the accesses to allow you to perform, once the user has been recognized, logical, spatial, and temporal checks before authorizing or denying transit (who, where, when); in attendance to acquire the start and end time of work with any reason for stamping (permit, mission, etc.). Sometimes even specialized hardware is shared by both systems:
The fact that the two systems have many aspects in common (personal data database, access credentials, etc.) could lead us to believe that the integrated solution is the optimal one or that it would be better to have a single system capable of performing both tasks. It is not so. Meanwhile, some organizations and companies do not manage attendance at work (or do it in a traditional manual way). On the contrary, they have stringent security needs in access control. Just as there are companies where attendance management is a priority and do not know what to do with access control, in other contexts, finally – for historical reasons, division of duties, etc. – the two systems must be independent, of equal importance, or with one overriding the other.
The lion’s share
If we have to talk about integration, then the attendance management system must do the lion’s share, that is, incorporate the accesses. On the one hand, this solution has the advantage of having a single shared database and regulating entrances according to the time profiles of workers (especially in companies with shifts); on the other hand, it greatly limits the potential offered by access control. Independent and evolved as most of these functions appear almost Martian in the eyes of those who deal with wages and salaries all day. On the other hand, an electronic access control system has very little to offer to attendance management other than to collect the time stamps on certain gates and transfer them elsewhere. An intermediate solution, with the pros and cons (which are never lacking), is the adoption of two separate systems that share, in addition to the identification technique, a single personal database (generally the attendance database),
The system to come
Information technology is slowly evolving, even in the SME sector, towards offering solutions capable of managing human resources at 360 degrees considering, in addition to attendance, curricula, training plans, PPE and other equipment, company vehicles, surveillance sanitary, etc. The optimal solution is to come. Some attempts, in truth, are already there, but they are very lacking in terms of access. In integrating the accesses, it is necessary to consider the multiple functions offered by the current most advanced systems and not limit oneself, as is the case today, to the classic click to be given to the lock to open the door.