February 20, 2003
1. Projects: Task assignment of hours at user level; project overviews; pricing analysis enhancements.
The first enhancement to the Projects module enables project managers to assign task hours at the user level. Previously, in creating a project task, the manager entered a number of planned hours for the task, assigned one or more users and specified the percentage of users’ time to be allotted to the task. Hours were associated with the task, and the system assumed that they were equally divided among all assigned users. This month, we have added an option to enable the project manager to assign hours at the user level, rather than at the task level. The manager creates the task, assigns users, then specifies the number of hours that each user is expected to work on the task. The system adds up all assigned hours and calculates the Planned hours for the task. Project managers can still specify the percentage of users’ scheduled time to be devoted to the task, allowing project managers to control task end dates and to account for cases where users are working on more than one project at a time.
To activate this feature, administrators can navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Projects options. Check the box to "Input planned hours for each user assigned to a task" and Save. Then, in My Account > Company > Maintenance, select the radio button to "Generate planned hours for each user assigned to a task" and click OK. For existing projects, this will calculate planned hours for each user, based on their allocation and schedule.
The second enhancement to the Projects module is the new Project overview report. This data view gives project managers access to a broad range of data on a particular project, including hours, expenses and dollars for the month to date, and from project start to date. It also permits a view of amounts already invoiced, and available to be invoiced, and compares these figures to budget amounts. Profitability scenarios can be constructed based on revenue, resource cost and expenses. Results are displayed in dollars and as a percentage of budget.
The Project overview is enabled on a project stage level. To turn the feature on, administrators navigate to Account > Projects > Project stages. Select each stage for which the overview should be enabled. In the Options section, check Overview, and then click Save. The Project overview will be available via a link in a particular project, or as a report in Reports > Advanced > Projects.
The third enhancement to the Projects module is an addition to the pricing analysis functionality within Projects. In response to customer demand, OpenAir has added a new category - called pass through - that can be used in the pricing analysis report. Pass through dollars are precisely defined as dollars that are incurred on behalf of the client and that are billed at the same amount to the client. So, for instance, if a company planned on incurring $10,000 to buy ten flat panel displays for a client and expected to turn around and charge the client $10,000 for them, they were merely "passed through." In OpenAir, we have reflected this pass through amount on the pricing analysis by displaying it on the pricing analysis view, but not including the dollar amount in any of the margin calculations associated with the analysis, thus reflecting its neutral effect on client revenue and cost.
Employees that have permissions to use the pricing analysis functionality can find the pass through data entry field by navigating to Projects >Projects > select appropriate projects > Pricing > Scenario. Any amount entered in the pass through field will be reflected in the pricing analysis view at Projects >Projects > select appropriate projects > Pricing > Analysis.
2. Reports: Increased number of periods available in Summary reports; new subtotals for Summary reports.
OpenAir Summary reports provide executives and managers a powerful tool for extracting important business data from your account. In the past, users could only view up to 16 time periods—days, weeks or months—on one report. This month, we have increased the number of reporting periods available in summary reports. For instance, if you are reporting on user time entries by day, you can get up to 31 periods, for an entire month’s worth of timesheet information. Bi-weekly periods have been increased to 26, so you can get an entire year’s worth of data in a single report. Monthly reporting periods now extend to 24, so you can get data for 2 full years.
Summary reports now support subtotals and details for invoices, envelopes and timesheets. For instance, when running an invoices summary report on projects, managers can break the total down by invoice number, and add details to the report, such as invoice date, payments applied, etc. Similarly, when running an Envelope summary report, the total can be broken down by envelope, or a timesheets hours report can be subtotaled by timesheet, and details of each can be included in the report.
3. Schedule requests: Enhanced usability and power.
In July 2002, OpenAir added functionality allowing timekeepers to request schedule changes such as vacation, paid time off, etc. Administrators were given the ability to configure OpenAir to automatically reflect approved changes in user schedules (in the Resources module), in future timesheets (for timekeepers in the Timesheet module), and in project plans (in the Projects module). This month, we have enhanced this functionality, as it pertains to timesheets in three ways. The changes to schedule request functionality enable users to more accurately enter request information and thus provide managers with better data to understand productivity when reporting on timesheet hours.
The first schedule request enhancement enables the OpenAir system (rather than the user him- or herself) to provide a description of why a schedule request is needed. A setting can be turned on in OpenAir such that if a user fails to enter a reason, for instance, for a day off, OpenAir will automatically populate the description field.
The second schedule request enhancement enables a timekeeper to edit a schedule request after its creation, allowing him/her to change details of the request, including time type. Of course, a user cannot change a schedule request once it has been submitted or approved.
The third, and perhaps most important, schedule request enhancement is that a user can be required to log the same level of detailed information on a schedule request as on a timesheet. For instance, if an OpenAir account is configured to require users to select a client:project, time type, service/activity and/or task on timesheets, now a user can also be required to record these same items on every schedule request. The result of this new enhancement is that when the timekeeper creates a timesheet which includes days for which there are approved schedule exceptions (i.e. vacation days), the required fields, as well as dates and number of hours, will be reflected on the timesheet automatically. As with most OpenAir functionality, this configuration option is a switchable setting that administrators can turn on or off as desired.
To enable automatic population of timesheet required fields with data from schedule request entries, administrators should navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Timesheet options. Select the fields to be required by checking the boxes to "Require a [time type/ customer/project /service/activity/task] on schedule requests". Then, check the two boxes labeled, "When creating a timesheet, automatically create time entries for approved schedule requests", and "When automatically creating time entries for approved schedule requests when creating a timesheet, get missing values from the schedule request".
If these options are enabled, once a manager approves the requested vacation or other time, a user’s future timesheets for the period will be pre-populated with the hours of approved time off, including time type, service, task and client:project to which this time is to be attributed. The required fields will be drawn from the user’s approved schedule request.
There is a second method for creating time entries, with required information, from schedule requests. In this method, the administrator selects a default client:project for each time type. The timekeeper in this method needs only to select the time type on the schedule request. The advantage of this method is that it gives the administrator more control, and it requires fewer choices on the part of the user, since client:project for each time type is pre-set by the admin. Once a manager approves the requested vacation or other time, the user’s future timesheets for the period will be pre-populated with hours and any required fields, based on the time type chosen in the schedule request. To use this method, which is the default, no company settings need to be changed. The admin will simply navigate to Account > Timesheets > Time types. Select the time types which will be used for requesting time off (such as Personal Time Off, Vacation, etc.). Make selections as desired from the Default Client:Project dropdowns and click Save.
4. Timesheets: Standardized timesheet names.
OpenAir accommodates many varieties of timesheet naming conventions. Users are able to use the default timesheet name of the time period of the timesheet. Or, users can type in their own timesheet name if desired. While this flexibility can be helpful, some accounts may prefer standardization of timesheet names. This month, OpenAir has added a feature that enables account administrators to standardize timesheet naming. To enable this feature, admins navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Timesheet options, and check the box titled “Do not allow editing of the timesheet name". This will hide the timesheet name field when users create a new timesheet. The timesheet name will default to the system name for the timesheet (Timesheet for xx/xx/xx to xx/xx/xx [date range]).
5. Would you like to see previous OpenAir updates?
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6. Suggestions, problems, or questions?
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