Product Update

January 23, 2003

1. Administrative features: More flexible security options; Activate/Inactivate users in bulk; Smart drop-downs for approvals.

OpenAir has always provided state of the art security for our clients’ data, and we have an ongoing commitment to providing administrators with flexibility to set security at appropriate levels for their organizations. In December, we added a user lockout mechanism (see the December Update). This month, we have added two more new features to enable administrators to set more stringent standards for password selection. First, administrators can now set a minimum password length for users. Second, administrators can prevent users from selecting a password that is the same as the user’s ID. To enable these settings, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Password options. Select desired settings and click save.

In our efforts to provide easier-to-use configuration tools, OpenAir this month launches a feature that enables account administrators to activate or deactivate users in bulk. To enable this feature, please navigate to Account > Users, and click the customize link at the bottom of the list. Add "Run an action" to the list of selected items and click OK. A column of checkboxes will appear on the user list. The top-most box in the column header will toggle all the checkboxes on and off. Or, you can click selected checkboxes for users whose status you wish to change. Then, click the circling arrows icon to run the action. Select whether to activate or deactivate the selected users and click OK.

OpenAir also continues to make the configuration of approval processes easier. In accounts with long lists of users and approval processes, Adminstrators can now use "smart" drop-downs to find and select the appropriate approver for project hours/expenses, or users’ timesheets, schedule requests, expenses, authorizations, purchase requests, proposals, etc. OpenAir has been rolling out smart drop-downs through out the application over the last year.

There are two important aspects of smart drop-downs as they relate to approval process selections: the ability to configure drop-down length and the ability to search for drop-down selections. First, users or administrators can choose the number of entries to display in approver drop-downs. Second, if a user cannot find the desired selection in the drop-down list, s/he can use the search functionality - denoted by a magnifying glass icon - next to a drop-down field. Clicking the magnifying glass makes it easier to search for and find the correct approver in the list.

In choosing the number of entries to display in drop-downs, options are 10, 30, 50, 100 or ALL (which is the default). The selections are based on the most popular choices made by the user. This switch is accessible from several forms. On the account level, administrators can access it from My Account > Company > Settings > Display options. On the User level, administrators can access it by going to Account > Users > [select User ID] > Demographic > Number of entries to display in approver drop-downs. Users can override these account settings in My Account > My Options > Preferences > Settings > Display Options > Number of entries to display in Approver drop-downs.

2. Projects: Enhanced hours remaining on tasks functionality.

For the last year, OpenAir has enabled project managers to gather information from users on how many hours are remaining to complete a task. For accounts that use this functionality, users simply submit their hours remaining estimates along with their timesheet information. OpenAir uses the hours remaining information to show project status and to calculate percent complete.

This month, we have added a new feature related to hours remaining. OpenAir can now be configured to show users the number of hours that should be remaining - based on the project plan - on a task-by-task basis. If this new functionality is enabled, when users complete their timesheets and click "Hours remaining," users can see the number of hours left on the task based on the project plan. Users can then choose to accept the system-generated estimate or override this estimate with their own information. The new feature gives the user the chance to compare his/her estimate of hours remaining with the system-generated, project plan-based estimate.

To enable this feature, account administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Timesheet options > Use the system estimate if "hours remaining" are not entered. The switch to "Enable the ‘Hours remaining’ on tasks estimating feature" must also be enabled for this feature to work. This switch is in the same Timesheets options section of Company > Settings. Another switch in the same section ("Require 'hours remaining' estimates for all tasks") can make this feature required (i.e. users will have to estimate the time remaining on any tasks in their timesheet before they can submit the timesheet for approval).

3. Reports: Enhanced accounts receivable report.

OpenAir provides accounts receivable reporting as part of its standard reports configuration. This month, OpenAir has enhanced the accounts receivable report to include subtotaling by project. In addition to a project subtotal, the accounts receivable report now also displays the name of the project owner. To take advantage of this option, account administrators first need to enable the company setting "one project per invoice", in My Account > Company > Settings > Invoice options. Then, in Reports > Advanced > Invoices > Accounts receivable, select "Sub-total by Project". Other options permit managers to sub-total by invoice, to include invoices with no project association, or to exclude "Not Sent" invoices.

4. Invoices: Timebill stages.

For billing managers who would like to have more control over how charges are invoiced, we have added a feature called timebill stages. There are two components to this new feature. First, timebill stages can be configured such that timebills in certain stages cannot be invoiced. Second, managers can create one or many stages - similar to project stages in the Projects module (see the June Update) - and categorize timebills into specific stages and tabs. OpenAir has also integrated the new timebills stage functionality with project billing rules. For those accounts that use OpenAir’s project billing rules for generating timebills and other charges, billing managers simply specify in the project billing rule into which timebill stage s/he would like timebills to be categorized.

To set up timebill stages, account administrators (or those with appropriate role-level privileges) navigate to the Account tab > Invoices > Timebill stages > Create. Specify whether the stage is invoiceable, and whether to display the timebills in a separate tab.

5. Timesheets and Expenses: Minimum timesheet hours, detail fields on Expense reports, customer and project display on receipt list view.

Account administrators now have the option to set minimum required hours for timesheet submission. To enable this feature, please navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Timesheet options > Minimum hours required to submit a timesheet. Enter desired hours and save.

User details, including data from custom fields, can now be displayed on expense reports. This is a new account-level setting, which can be configured by administrators by navigating to Expenses > Options > Expense report layout > User fields > Create. Select the fields to display on the Expense report. Click OK, and then save.

The receipts list view can be configured to display the client and project for which an expense was incurred. To enable this feature, please navigate to Expenses > Envelopes > [select an Envelope]. Click the customize link at the bottom of the list. Add Client and Project to the list of selected items and click OK.

6. Project Accounting: New revenue recognition rule type "Incurred vs. forecast".

OpenAir has added another option for revenue recognition with the addition of a new type of revenue recognition rule, "Incurred vs. forecast". The new rule type allows managers to recognize revenue based on a ratio of incurred costs to forecast costs. Like other recognition rules, it is set up in a particular project, by clicking the Recognition tab and selecting from the New Entry -> Create dropdown. Managers must specify a total recognition amount, as well as incurred items and forecast items to be included in the calculation. When recognition is run, it calculates the total incurred costs, divides it by the forecast costs and then multiplies the recognition amount by this factor. The user cost is calculated as the loaded cost of the user on the project start date.

7. Webinars: OpenAir demonstrations for current customers.

Based on the high level of interest in our past customer Webinars, we are continuing our online seminar series. These events are designed to expose you to the breadth of OpenAir product features and functionality, so you can get as much value as possible out of your account.

The events will show you how OpenAir can be used to manage the sales pipeline and create proposals in Opportunities, create employee profiles, find and book resources and evaluate utilization rates in Resources, plan, manage and collaborate on projects using Projects and Workspaces, track time and expenses to projects and set up approval processes in Timesheets, Expenses, and Purchases, handle complex project accounting and billing rules in Projects and Invoices, and manage key customizable account settings such as roles, terminology, data filters, calendar settings, and hierarchies in My Account.

It will then review recent product enhancements, including account-wide reporting, project analysis and pricing, batch PDF printing of invoices, proposals, etc., and security options.

We are offering two sessions:
Thursday, January 30th, 12-1pm EST.
Tuesday, February 4th, 12-1pm EST.

The purpose of these seminars is to expose you to functionality you are not currently using, rather than to train you in detail on how to use specific features. If you are interested in arranging a training session, please contact Tim Groves at 617-351-0272 or

8. Would you like to see previous OpenAir 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 pride ourselves on the outstanding care we give our customers. Please let us know how we improve your experience with OpenAir.