Seattle Biomed, known prior to 2010 as Seattle BioMedical Research Institute or SBRI, is the largest independent, non-profit organization in the United States focused solely on infectious disease discovery research. The mission of Seattle BioMed’s 325+ employees is to eliminate the world’s most devastating infectious diseases through leadership in scientific discovery. Seattle BioMed is headquartered and has research labs in the South Lake Union area of Seattle, WA and has field labs in Tanzania. Seattle BioMed’s research focuses on five areas of infectious diseases: HIV/AIDS, Malaria, microbial pathogens, trypanosomatids, and tuberculosis.
Seattle BioMedical Research Institute (Seattle BioMed) was founded at a time when infectious disease research in the U.S. was rare. “Our founder had a vision to create a place where the brightest scientists could come together and generate new knowledge and develop innovative solutions to ultimately combat the world’s deadliest diseases,” said Ann Herbig, Project Manager.
Today, that vision is reality. Nearly 400 people strong, Seattle BioMed is an internationally-renowned, non-profit research institute striving every day to eliminate the world’s most devastating infectious diseases. Because the Institute is non-profit and receives federal grants, it is required to maintain accurate records of after-the-fact actual time spent on all projects.
Before implementing Replicon solutions in 2010, the organization did not have a good way of doing this. Seattle BioMed was using a paper-based process to track hours toward projects, attendance and overtime, which included collecting timesheets twice a month from all 260 employees. “Our process was manual and required double entry: Scientists needed to enter their time, and then the operational group would take that time and enter it into the payroll and labor distribution systems,” said Herbig.
The inefficient, manual-based process was putting Seattle BioMed at risk and could potentially compromise their funding, which is what led Herbig to Replicon. “We’ve been using Replicon solutions for about a year now. We chose Replicon after evaluating multiple options, including web-based and self-installed programs,” said Herbig.
Being 100% compliant brings 100% peace of mind
Non-profits that are unable to meet audit requirements are at serious risk of losing their grant funding. Seattle BioMed’s own internal auditors felt that their previous process for time entry left them open to potential legal ramifications and loss of funding.
“Replicon has made us 100% compliant. It’s easy-to-use and minimizes our risk,” said Herbig. “We have greater peace of mind now that we don’t have to worry if we’re tracking time properly and if we’re compliant with audit requirements.”
In addition to federal grants, the organization also needed to be able to report back on spending from other sources, such as private foundations and corporations. While these organizations don’t have the same audit requirements as some federal grants, Seattle BioMed took a proactive approach to being prepared to report back on actual hours if this was requested from these sources.
“Because we get funding from multiples sources, we liked that the Replicon solution was able to accommodate a tiered approach to projects so that only valid tasks assigned to projects would be displayed to users,” said Herbig. “This eliminates errors in time tracking and ensures that users are able to track hours for the appropriate funding sources.”
No more costly manual, double-entry process; now it’s hassle-free
Seattle BioMed is using Replicon’s TimeBill to track work in a granular way: in hours. The information inserted by employees is fed into a labor distribution system that tracks distribution between projects. Again, it’s critical for their hours to be tracked and accounted for since the organization receives grant funding for highly specific projects.
The Replicon TimeAttend software is integrated with the organization’s own payroll solution, UltiPro from Ultimate Software. Seattle BioMed performs three automated daily imports (user import for new employee information, termination import and accruals for time off) into TimeAttend from Ultipro. Then, hours worked and time off are exported into the payroll and labor distribution solutions, which eliminates the manual processes for reentering billable hours and time off. Replicon’s Professional Services team helped set up these integrations to make it a simple, automated process for BioMed staff.
As a result of using Replicon, Seattle BioMed has improved efficiency through automated and integrated time collection, labor distribution and effort-tracking processes. Additionally, the system provides robust reporting capabilities including effort information, time off, and historical data — all of which can be compiled with just a few clicks for internal or external audits.
Seamless transition for scientists and researchers
Seattle BioMed has more than 300 employees using Replicon’s could-based solutions, and according to Herbig, all users were able to pick up the solution and begin using it with minimal training.
“While we were reviewing options, we found that Replicon’s format was the closest to the way Seattle BioMed tracked time on paper – an excel-like form,” she said. “We felt that the solution would be intuitive to users and easy for them to migrate to, without requiring a lot of training.”
Because the solution was easy-to-use, it minimized the impact of process changes and requirements for staff, resulting in quick user adoption.
Seattle BioMed employees use Replicon daily, electronically entering actual hours through the simple web-based interface. It automates the managerial approval of actual hours reported as well as automating the transfer of employee time to the payroll system.
“Ultimately, Replicon’s hassle-free solution has helped us become 100% compliant, minimized our risk for losing funding and streamlined our organization’s time entry, so we can focus more resources on our core missions: eliminating infectious diseases,” said Herbig.
"Replicon's hassle-free solution has helped us become 100% compliant, minimized our risk for losing funding and streamlined our organization's time entry, so we can focus more resources on our core missions: eliminating infections diseases."