March 24, 2003
1. Projects: Fixed task end dates; task assignment hours available in Summary reports, My Calendar; projects optimization; enhancements to project billing rules.
The Projects module is a cornerstone of the OpenAir solution, and we continue to enhance existing features, add new ones, improve its performance and tighten its integration with other modules.
A new feature this month permits project managers to specify a hard end date for a task. Normally, the end date for a task is calculated by the system, based on hours assigned, percentage of usersí time that is assigned, usersí schedules, and dependencies between tasks. The FNLT ("finish no later than") feature is one that many OpenAir users have requested for cases where a task must be completed by a certain date. When creating or editing a task, a project manager enters a date in the FNLT field in the Create/Edit Task form. If the system calculated finish date would exceed the FNLT date, the FNLT date will prevail and the user percentage allocations will be automatically adjusted, so that the task will finish on the FNLT date. This feature is enabled in My Account > Company > Settings > Projects options > Enable FNLT (finish no later than) dates for tasks.
Last month, we added task assignment of hours at the user level. This month, weíve made the Assigned hours value available in Summary reports and in the My Calendar view. For project managers or others with reporting access, the Assigned hours value is available in either Summary Project reports, or Summary Account-wide reports on users, clients, projects, etc. In a single summary report, managers can compare the Assigned hours value with many other values, such as Booked hours, Scheduled hours, Timesheet worked hours, with the usual flexible filtering and sub-totaling options. For users, the My Calendar feature now gives an at-a-glance view of his/her task assignments, in addition to bookings and schedule requests. To view the task assignments on the Calendar, users can go to My Account > My Calendar. Check the box to "Show task assignments". The project task assignments are displayed in hours, for each day. Users can choose to display the Calendar in daily, weekly or monthly views; the daily view shows a summary and details of each booking, schedule request or project task assignment.
Project recalculations were also optimized to increase the speed of creating, editing and saving tasks. OpenAir continues to enhance Project billing rules, making them more flexible and easier to administer. This month, weíve added 3 such features.
First, weíve enhanced the filters for service and expense item to give you more flexibility when creating exclusions from the billing process. Previously, if a transaction had no service or no expense item associated, it could not be excluded by the billing rules filter. This month, we added options to include or exclude items with no service or no expense item.
Second, we have added a rate multiplier field on time billing rules to allow you to multiply the rates applied in the billing rule by a number, which can be entered by the administrator or project manager. This feature will let you factor different rates or rate cards, for example, by a number of your choosing, rather than creating separate rate cards. This feature will only apply if the administrator has not otherwise applied an over-ride to the operative billing rule rates.
Third, we have included a checkbox on the time billing rule to allow administrators to exclude time from archived timesheets from the running of the billing rule. This might be useful in cases where an account has changed from other billing methods to project billing rules. If the administrator archives existing timesheets, and then checks this box, the billing rules wonít pick up time that has been previously billed by other methods.
To take advantage of these new features, administrators or project managers can navigate to Projects > [select Project ID] > Billing. Create a new billing rule or edit an existing one.
2. Administrative features: Auto-run revenue recognition rules; bi-monthly triggers; time type and booking type added to filter sets.
OpenAir has added a new option this month to streamline the revenue recognition process: administrators can now set up revenue recognition to run automatically, on a defined time schedule. To enable this feature, administrators simply navigate to Projects > [select a Project ID] > Recognition. The Auto-Run link lets you specify whether the recognition rules will run as a trial, without creating revenue transactions, or will run in fact, creating the actual revenue transactions. It also permits you to select from a list of users those who should receive email notification of the running of recognition rules. Finally, it lets you specify the date and time when the recognition rules will be run.
When specifying the schedule on which revenue recognition rules will run, administrators have the option of setting up a bi-monthly trigger. When creating an auto-run schedule for revenue recognition rules, managers can select either the first and 15th, or 15th and last day of the month. These new options are in addition to the previous existing options, based on day of week or day of month. The new bi-monthly triggers have also been added to the scheduling choices for Auto-bill for Project billing rules, Alerts for overdue timesheets or overdue approvals for expenses or timesheets, or if you subscribe to our Automatic Backup Service, to have backup data emailed to you on a scheduled basis.
Filter sets are an important and powerful tool allowing administrators to configure account access in a very specific manner. Account administrators can limit usersí access to specific clients and projects, for example, so that they see only data the administrator wants them to see. This month, we have extended filter set access control options to include time type and booking type. This gives account administrators the power to limit a particular user to a subset of time types or booking types. Only those time types included in the userís filter set will appear as selectable on the userís timesheet, thus reducing the possibility of user error in entering timesheet data. Only booking types included in the userís filter set will appear as selectable when the user creates a booking, allowing the administrator to fine-tune the extent of the userís booking privileges. Both access control options are configurable as inclusive or exclusive filters. To include restrictions on time type or booking type, administrators navigate to Account > Filter sets > [select Filter set] > Access control. Click Time type access or Booking type access links. Configure the items to be included/excluded from the filter set, and click Save.
3. Reports: New values for Detail reports
The project detail report now has an option to display Auto-bill and Auto-bill time columns. The Auto-bill column will display either None, Trial or Full depending on which type is set to run. This lets those with access to project reporting see which projects are set to Auto-bill, and whether the auto-bill is configured to be a trial or full automated running of the billing rule. The Auto-bill time column will display the day and time the auto-bill feature is set to run. Navigate to Reports > Detail > Account-wide > Projects. Edit the report layout to include the Auto-Bill and Auto-bill time values as Selected items.
The task detail report now permits you to display the estimate (compiled from timesheet users) of hours remaining for each task. If your account has been configured to permit or require users to enter an estimate of hours remaining on tasks, this figure can allow managers to monitor whether projects are on track, by comparing planned hours with hours worked and estimated by the user as remaining. To display this figure, navigate to Reports > Detail > Projects > Tasks. Configure the report layout to include Hours remaining, along with Hours Planned, Worked, Approved, Billed. Other new fields available in this report include the calculated start date and calculated end date for the task.
Approval process participation has been added as an available item to the User Detail report. This field can help account administrators when a user is deactivated, for example. A user detail report on the deactivated user will point the administrator to exactly those approval processes that need to be edited by removing the inactive user and substituting an active one. The user detail report can be accessed from Reports > Details > Account-wide > Users. Edit the report layout to include the Approval process participation value as a Selected item.
Other new fields in the User Detail report include Authorization approver, schedule request approver, timesheet approver for, expense report approver for, proposal approver for, purchase requests approver for, purchase orders approver for, schedule requests approver for and authorizations approver for. The "approver for" fields list all users for whom and all projects for which timesheets, expenses, etc. are approved by this user.
4. Timesheets: Project filters; additional text options for Timesheet report.
OpenAir timekeepers can enter hours on a single timesheet for many different projects. Now, timekeepers and managers can filter the timesheet report to view entries related to a single project. If this feature is enabled, and the timesheet has one or more projects, then a dropdown menu will appear next to the printable link in the Timesheet report. The dropdown menu will list each project on the timesheet. The user or manager can select from the menu to limit the timesheet report to a specific project. To enable this feature, please contact OpenAir support.
In this monthís release, we also extended the ability to add text or HTML to the beginning of a timesheet report. Administrators can navigate to Timesheets > Options > Timesheet report layout, where they have the option to add text or HTML to either the beginning or the end of the timesheet report.
5. Resources: Display profile relationships in resource profile pick lists and dropdowns; notify resources of new profile items.
For resource managers who are creating profiles or doing custom searches in the Resources module, OpenAir has added a feature this month to make the task easier. If you are using profile types and have set up relationships between them (for example skills are related to industries), you can now choose to display the related profile in the selection process. In the example of a relationship between skills and industries, the picker or dropdown will display Skill (Industry). To enable this feature, administrators can navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Resources options > 'Show the related profile name on profile type drop-downs and pickers'.
If your account is set up to allow resources to modify their own profiles, you will probably want to enable our new resource option to notify users when a new resource profile type is created. If an administrator creates a new skill, for example, this option will automatically notify all users with skill profiles that a new skill was created and they should update their profile accordingly. To turn this feature on, administrators should navigate to Resources > Options. A column of checkboxes on the right lets you select the profiles for which users should be notified when new types are created.
6. Invoices: Attach documents to Invoices.
Attachments are now supported in the Invoices module, in addition to previously supported modules such as Opportunities, Timesheets (Schedule requests), Expenses, and Purchases. To attach a document to an invoice, create the invoice, then open it and click the Edit link. Click the "Add/view attachments" link, then click "Create a new attachment".
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8. Suggestions, problems, or questions?
As always, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.367.1288 (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.