Product Update

January 21, 2002

1. PSA industry analysts: OpenAir highlighted in Summit Strategies report.

OpenAir was showcased in the Summit Strategies December 2001 report, "Just Say No: Customers Ditch Traditional Applications for Web Services", as an example of a web-native software solution that is beating out traditional client/server software solutions. For a summary of the report click here.

2. Customer success story: diCarta's team streamlines operations using OpenAir.

The professional services team of diCarta, a market leader in enterprise contract management solutions, was looking for a more efficient way to track and bill time, improve collaboration on projects, and analyze project costs. Prior to using OpenAir all of these functions were performed by a manual, paper-based system diCarta described as "slow and painful." After implementing OpenAir, the billable time captured by diCarta has increased by a full 10% and invoicing has accelerated by a week. Plus, the professional service teams are working together more effectively to serve customers and financial managers have reduced dramatically the time to close the books at the end of a month or quarter. For a full case study click here.

3. IBM and OpenAir: joint tradeshow booth at LinuxWorld.

OpenAir will join IBM in its partner booth (#1323) at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo at the Javitz Center in NYC from January 29 through February 1. The booth showcases select IBM partners who have built successful businesses around software applications that use the Linux operating system.

4. Projects: new revenue/cost recognition and fixed fee billing functionality.

OpenAir now offers more sophisticated project accounting functionality: revenue recognition, cost recognition, and more comprehensive fixed fee billing. New features include:

Revenue and cost recognition: managers can now configure when revenue and cost should be recognized on a project: by milestone, by date, by percent, or as billed. Revenue recognition parameters can also be configured for expenses to include markups and markdowns. Managers can now also review project-specific reports showing recognized revenue, billed revenue, work in progress and unearned revenue. Revenue and cost recognition events can then automatically be exported to an accounting or financial system. To use this functionality, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings and set the Billing Rate field to "Project Billing Rules." Then, navigate to Projects > Projects > select a project > Recognition. For more information on using this feature, click on the Help tab and go to the Recognition section in the online documentation, or contact our support team.

Billing: managers can also configure how clients should be invoiced. For example, a client can be billed specific fixed fee amounts once certain project milestones are met. These fixed fee amounts can then automatically be placed on an invoice and sent to a customer. Also, project-specific user rates can be used; these override default user rates. To use this functionality, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings and set the Billing Rate field to "Project Billing Rules." Then, navigate to Projects > Projects > select a project > Billing. For more information on using this feature, click on the Help tab and go to the Billing section under Projects tab in the online documentation, or contact our support team.

5. Timesheets: capture estimate-to-complete time for percent complete.

Designed to work in close coordination with the new revenue recognition functionality (noted above in 4. Projects), the new estimate-to-complete data capture enables more accurate task, phase, and project percent complete calculations. Users input this data right alongside the hours they log on timesheets. For example, a user logs 10 hours of worked time to Client A: Project B, Task X in his/her timesheet. Next, the user estimates the number of hours s/he has left to complete the task in the "Hours Remaining" field, say 20. The user then submits the timesheet and estimated hours remaining to his/her approvers as normal.

The OpenAir system uses the data to calculate the percent complete. If the account administrator has enabled the revenue/cost recognition functionality, s/he can set up recognition of revenue or cost to occur based on percent complete.

To enable this functionality, account administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings, then scroll down to "Timesheet Options" and select "Enable the hours remaining estimating feature." Users fill out their timesheet as before. In addition, they click on the "Hours remaining" sub tab to enter in hours remaining on tasks to which they are assigned.

6. New Purchases module: automate the PO process.

Enterprises that would like to automate their purchase request, purchase order, purchase fulfillment, and purchase re-billing processes can use the new OpenAir Purchases module. The new module automates employee requests for internal items such as office supplies and project team requests for equipment or third-party products that need to be purchased and then re-billed to a client.

Purchase request. Employees or project team members navigate to the Purchases module and create a purchase request, indicating the product and, if known, the manufacturer, vendor, and predicted price. The user then submits the request, which is routed through a configurable approval process for manager sign off. At the end of every approval process, a purchasing agent receives the request.

Purchase order. The OpenAir solution alerts the enterprise purchasing agent(s) that purchase requests have been made. Purchasing agents then aggregate requests for a single vendor and create a purchase order for goods from that vendor. POs can be submitted to an approval process if necessary. Finally, POs are emailed or printed and sent to the vendor. PO layouts can be configured to meet specific vendor and enterprise needs.

When the purchase arrives, a receiving clerk can mark the goods as received. Users awaiting purchased items can monitor the status of the item at any time by logging into the OpenAir system. Finally, once the items are marked as received, project accounting managers can choose to re-bill purchased items to a client.

To enable this functionality account administrators navigate to My Account > Account > Users > select a user > Access control > Module access, then select Purchases as an enabled module. Users who have access to this module can access it just as they access all other modules—by clicking on the "Purchases" module link at the top of the OpenAir screen in their Web browsers.

7. Reporting: view report data using your company's organizational hierarchy.

Enterprises using OpenAir can now set up hierarchies that reflect how employees and projects roll up into organizational units (office location, country, business unit, department, etc.). In addition, OpenAir now offers a drill-down reporting capability that is configurable to view specific data by hierarchical group. The combination of hierarchies and drill-down reporting give managers and executives enormous flexibility to get a sophisticated view of their business. For example, a manager could view profitability based on project revenue and cost for any part of the organizational structure—by business unit first, then drill down into the departments that constitute the business unit. Or, for another example, an executive could view all the time and expense data logged by the several groups that report to him/her so that s/he could discern which parts of the organization are billing the most time and minimizing their expenses.

To enable this feature, account administrators navigate to My Account > Account > Hierarchies > select Hierarchy from the New Entries: Create menu. The administrator then configures the various levels in the organization into a hierarchy, noting how the groups roll up into each other. Finally, s/he assigns users or projects to the hierarchy levels. Users then navigate to Reports > Drill Down and follow the directions indicated by the reporting wizard.

8. Would you like to see previous OpenAir product updates?

Click here to browse previous product updates including all new features, modules and functionality.

9. Suggestions, problems or questions?

As always, please contact us at or 888.367.1715 (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 617-351-0226). We want to ensure that OpenAir improves your company's bottom line.