April 24, 2003
1. Projects: Project budget alerts; report on percentage utilization of users across projects; additional options for calculating utilization; project pricing scenarios enhancement.
For the manager seeking tools to monitor project progress against budget amounts and to track project staffing, OpenAir has added several significant new features this month. The first is the ability to create project budget alerts. Users who have the required role permissions can configure an email alert to go out to project owners and other selected users on a specified schedule, when a project meets one or more conditions, including:
- Percentage of approved hours vs. budget hours
- Percentage of total billings vs. budget
- Percentage of invoiced billings vs. budget
The alert email describes all of the conditions that triggered the alert, and shows the client and project name in the subject line of the alert. Managers can create multiple alerts for an alert chain (for example, warn me when the project hits 50%, 75% and 90% of budget). OpenAir administrators can give other users access to this feature by configuring the userís role to include the ability to View projects, View project budget alerts and/or View and modify project budget alerts.
The second new feature among the Projects module enhancements is the Percent assigned utilization report. This report calculates the percentage of a user's time that has been assigned to tasks on projects. Using this report, managers can review a userís assignments by percentage across all projects, with subtotals for individual projects and tasks. To run this report, managers and users with the required privileges can navigate to Reports > Advanced > Resources > Percent assigned utilization.
The third new feature gives project managers more flexibility in determining how utilization figures are calculated. As of this release, there are now three options for defining the denominator used to calculate the percentage of userís booked or assigned time in utilization reporting. In the past, utilization was calculated only on the basis of the user's actual work schedule time for the period (taking schedule exceptions for vacation or other reasons into account). In the case of historical utilization, there was an additional option of the userís timesheet hours for the period. This month, weíve added base work schedule hours (ignoring schedule exceptions) as a possible choice for the denominator to all existing utilization reports (such as Summary > Advanced > [Booked, Availability, Realization], as well as in the new Percent assigned utilization report described above.
As an example, for the user whose base work schedule hours are 8 hours per day, but who is scheduled for 3 days of vacation for a particular week, the userís timesheet hours would be 24 hours of vacation time and 16 hours of worked time. If utilization is based on work schedule hours, the user seems over-utilized at 250% (40 timesheet hours/16 work schedule hours). If utilization is based on base work schedule hours, the user is fully utilized, but not over-utilized (40 timesheet hours/40 base work schedule hours). Managers still have the option, in historical utilization reporting, to filter the numerator hours by time type, which would also serve to eliminate the over-utilization; however, they would not then see userís vacation hours on the report.
The fourth new feature in the projects module this month is an enhancement to project pricing scenarios. Project pricing scenarios allow administrators to create pricing estimates for specific projects based on different estimates of time required, staff assigned and their rates. The feature lets managers capture the main financial data for the project: revenue, cost and profit. This month, OpenAir has introduced a feature allowing managers to break the pricing analysis down by time period where the scenarioís revenue and cost are based on the projectís tasks. Previously if you wanted to break down the pricing analysis by time period, you could only do this for bookings-based pricing scenarios. To take advantage of this feature, administrators or users with sufficient privileges can navigate to Projects > Projects > [select project ID] > Pricing. (The "Pricing" link will only appear if the projectís stage has project pricing enabled.) Click the Scenario link to create a pricing scenario. For the source of revenue hours and costs, select Tasks. Configure the other parameters of the scenario as desired and Save. Then, click the Analysis link. Click the Options link to choose subtotaling. In the Analysis options form, check the box to ĒTotal by periodĒ. There is also an option to include hourly detail by user. Select a period, enter Start and end dates if desired, and Save. To view the report, click the Report link.
2. Resources: New booking grid.
This month, OpenAir has added a convenient new booking grid to enable managers to allocate resources to projects more easily. The new grid, which is very configurable, is in addition to the existing methods of creating single bookings, or multiple bookings by selecting from the Create dropdown in Resources > Bookings.
To configure the new booking grid, users with the required privileges navigate to Resources > Bookings > Grid > Settings. Specify the time period (daily, weekly, monthly etc.), the number of periods, column order, etc. to display on the grid. Specify whether to book by hours or percentage of time. Default client, project and booking type are optional. The settings are on a per user basis, allowing different resource managers to set up the grid to suit his/her own preferences.
To create bookings, click the Grid link. To navigate through the grid, use the left and right arrows at the top left. The single arrows move the grid by one time period; the double arrows move the grid by the number of time periods displayed on the grid. To jump to a specific date, click the calendar icon and select a starting date for the grid. The grid will only show bookings that exactly match a time period on the grid (for example, a weekly booking wonít show up if the booking grid is set to show monthly periods).
3. Timesheets: Option to display phase name in timesheet task dropdown.
Administrators now have the option to display the phase name in the timesheet task dropdown. This will enable users to enter time more accurately, especially in cases where tasks in different phases of the same project may have similar or identical names. To enable this feature, administrators should navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Optional Features. Check the box "Show the phase name on task drop-downs and pickers" and Save.
4. Expenses: Option to display cost center on expense report.
For accounts that use the cost center feature of OpenAir, the cost center associated with an expense can now be displayed on the userís expense report. To enable this feature, there are two steps. First, the administrator needs to configure receipt rules for each cost center in Account > Cost centers > [select cost center] > Receipt rules. The receipt will be assigned to a cost center, depending on the rule; the assignment can be determined by the Customer, Project, Task, Expense item or User. When a receipt is saved it will be checked against the selected items in order. If the receipt matches a selected item that is associated with a cost center, the cost center will be assigned to the receipt. Second, the administrator needs to configure the expense report layout to include the cost center field, in Expenses > Options > Expense report layout > Show these columns on the expense report. Configure the expense report layout as desired, with the addition of the cost center field, and Save.
5. Administrative features: Streamlined approval processes; alternative method for calculating PST; improved filtering in reports and alert pick lists; new parameter for advanced filters.
OpenAir provides an exceptionally flexible approval process for project time and expenses, and in this release, weíve streamlined the process for even greater efficiency. If the project-based approver is the same as the userís final approver, and if the items to be approved are the same at the project and final stages, the final approval will be automatic. This will eliminate the second notification email to the approver, as well as the need to approve the same items twice. This enhancement applies to both Timesheets and Expenses modules.
For accounts that use Canadian GST and PST as tax entities, OpenAir now provides additional flexibility in how the PST taxes are calculated on invoices and receipts. When setting up a tax location (Account > Account data > Tax locations) there is a new checkbox, "Include GST in PST calculation". If checked, the PST tax is calculated on the sum of receipt or invoice amount plus the GST tax. For example, if this box is checked, with GST of 7% and PST of 6.5% and the taxable line item is $100, the GST is $7 (7% of $100) and PST is $6.96 (6.5% of $107). If unchecked, GST is $7 and PST is $6.50 (6.5% of $100).
This month, weíve added a feature to make it easier when selecting from long lists of available items in creating filters in reports or other areas of OpenAir. Pickers in reports and alerts now sort the selected items alphabetically. Previously, the selected items displayed in the order in which they were selected. Now, with the selected items displayed alphabetically, users will find it easier to determine if all desired selections have been included.
Advanced filters for clients, projects, users, etc, now permit you to filter on values depending on whether or not data has been entered or a selection made. For instance, in the User list view, you can create an advanced filter to show only those users where the Department name is blank. Or, in the Client list view you can filter on those clients that are missing an email address or web address. This permits administrators to identify records that need to be updated with additional information. To create an advanced filter, users navigate to the list of clients, projects, users, etc. The advanced filter dropdown is at the upper left of the list and defaults to "no filter". Select to create/edit a filter. Select the list column you want to filter on. The parameter definition dropdown now has values for is blank/is not blank. If you select one of these, you need not enter a value in the third dropdown column.
6. Reports: Additional PivotTable support; option to suppress report total column; other report enhancements.
PivotTables have long been available in Booking reports. This month, support for PivotTable and PivotTable adjustment has been added to Realization and Historical utilization reports as well. Navigate to Reports > Advanced > Realization/Historical utilization.
A new option this month lets users suppress the total column on any summary report. This is particularly useful when reporting on a single time period (one year, one month, one week) and thus no total is required. The setting is a part of the report layout for each individual summary report. In Reports > Summary > [select any summary report] > Options > Suppress report total column (Yes|No). The default is No.
In Projects summary reports, and in Account-wide summary reports for Projects, you can now select "Date to use" for projects values. Options are: assignment date (this is the default), calculated task start date, or calculated task end date.
In Projects detail reports, weíve added a total for project planned hours, as well as a filter for project owner. In addition, users can now sort on the Percent complete field in the project detail report.
Also as of this month, Base schedule hours and Percent assigned utilization (see above in section 1 on Projects module enhancements) are available as Resource values in the Account-wide summary reports.
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. They will highlight recent product enhancements.
We are offering two sessions:
Thursday, May 1st, 12-1pm EST.
Tuesday, May 13th, 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 email@example.com.
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 +1.617.351.0226). We pride ourselves on the outstanding care we give our customers. Please let us know how we can improve your experience with OpenAir.