May 22, 2003
1. Projects: Baselines; report on projects without billing rules.
OpenAir’s Projects module achieves another milestone this month with the addition of project baselines. This powerful feature allows project managers to answer critical project performance questions by comparing the current status of the project with earlier versions of the project plan. As changes are made to the project plan, the project manager can monitor the effects of those changes on start and finish dates, planned hours for tasks, duration of tasks, percent complete, revenue, cost and budget.
The baseline feature is enabled at the project stage level (Account > Projects > Project stages > [select Project stage] > Options). Administrators and users with role privileges to View the baselines or View and modify the baselines can access this feature. Once the feature is enabled, click on a project, then on the Baseline link. Create a new baseline by going to the New Entries Create dropdown on the right. View a baseline report from the Report link. The report lets you compare a baseline’s values for budget hours and dollars, for example, against the budget hours and dollars currently in the project, or against budget hours and dollars from other baselines. The report gives the baseline values, the comparison values and the delta. From a task edit form you can also click a link in the hints at the bottom of the screen, to view a popup report of the changes for a specific task.
For accounts that use project billing rules, we’ve added a feature this month to allow administrators and project managers to determine whether or not billing rules have been set up for all projects in the system. The project detail report now has a field for Number of billing rules. Previously, the administrator needed to go into each project individually to be sure that billing rules had been created. With the addition of this field to the project detail report, the administrator can learn very quickly which projects have no billing rules, and who the project owner is, so that the billing rules can be implemented for all projects which require them. To run this report, administrators and users with the requisite privileges can navigate to Reports > Detail > Account-wide > Projects > Report layout > Edit. Add the Number of billing rules field to the Selected items, with project name, client name, project owner, and click OK. Sort the resulting report by the Number of billing rules column.
2. Timesheets: Identify approvers responsible for submitted timesheets.
OpenAir now enables managers to determine easily which timesheet approvers are holding up the approval of users’ timesheets. By simply checking a box on the Timesheet status report, the manager can include on the report the identity of the approver for timesheets pending approval. If the approver is part of an approval process, the report will identify both the process and the person whose approval is required to move the timesheet to the next stage of approval. The addition of this feature eliminates the need to go into each submitted timesheet to review the approval history, and enables managers to expedite the approval (and ultimately) billing processes. To enable this feature, users with requisite privileges navigate to Reports > Advanced > Timesheets > Timesheet status > Include approver for timesheets pending approval.
3. Timesheets and Expenses: Display time of action in approval history.
A new company setting permits administrators to display the time, as well as the date, of actions in the approval history for both timesheets and expense envelopes. This affords both users and approvers additional, more precise data on time and expense approval status. To enable this feature, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Approval options. Check the box to “Display the time on the approval history” and Save.
4. Resources: New setting “Show only my bookings” on Bookings grid.
Users who want to limit the bookings grid to display only their own bookings can now do so, through a checkbox on the Settings form for the bookings grid. This makes it easier for users to isolate their own bookings from the rest of the users in the system, and to keep tabs on their own booking schedule. To turn this feature on, users navigate to Resources > Bookings > Grid > Settings. Check the box to “Show only my bookings” and Save. Click the Grid link to view the bookings. To display all bookings, go back to the Settings link and uncheck the “Show only my bookings” checkbox. Please be aware that the booking grid only shows bookings that exactly match the time period selected for the grid (for example, a weekly booking won’t show up if the booking grid is set to show monthly periods).
5. Invoices: Format printed invoices for double window envelopes; bulk action to allow multiple invoices to be marked Sent.
For administrators who print and send out invoices by mail, we’ve added two new features this month. First, they can format the printed invoices to fit a standard double window envelope. This feature eliminates the need to type or manually address/return address a separate envelope. To enable the feature, administrators navigate to Invoices > Options > Invoice layouts. Click each invoice layout for which you want the feature to apply. Under Adobe Acrobat PDF settings, check the box to “Print header for double window #9 envelope” and Save.
Second, administrators can mark multiple invoices as Sent. To enable this feature, navigate to Invoices > Invoices and click the Customize link at the bottom of the screen. Add the “Run an action” column to the list of Selected items and save. In the Invoices list, this will introduce a new column of checkboxes. Check the boxes for those invoices to be marked Sent, or click on the box at the top of the column to check/uncheck all items in the list. Click on the double-arrow "run" icon above the first item on the list. In the pop-up dialog box that appears, select the appropriate checkbox and click "OK" to mark the Invoices Sent/Unsent.
6. Reports: New values for projected billing, projected cost, projected net; summary reporting on project tasks; new detail reports for booking assignments, task assignments.
We continue to enhance OpenAir’s reporting capabilities, giving administrators and managers more tools to assess project performance. The first series of reporting enhancements allows billing and project managers to report on projected billing, cost and net figures, from projects, bookings and timesheets. Projected billings are calculated as the user’s default billing rate, multiplied by hours assigned to tasks, booked to projects or entered in timesheets. Projected costs are calculated as the user’s loaded cost, multiplied by hours assigned, booked or entered in timesheets. Projected net values are calculated by subtracting the projected cost figure from the projected billing figure. This trio of values gives managers a view of anticipated revenue and costs, on an opportunity basis.
To enable the projected billing feature, an administrator navigates to My Account > Company > Settings > Report Options. Check the box “Show projected billing values in summary reports …” and Save. The user default billing rate is entered in Account > Users > [select user ID] > Demographic. If the feature is enabled, this field will appear in the user demographic form, even if you’ve chosen a non-user based method of deriving billing (for example, client or client/project based billing). It’s important to note that if enabled in accounts that use project billing rules, or user/project billing rates, this feature will base projected billing on the user default billing rate, not on a project-specific rate.
To run the reports, the user’s role must allow him/her to see rates and loaded costs, and to see projected billing based on user rates. The projected values are accessible in Reports > Summary > [Account-wide | Resources | Projects | Timesheets]. In the case of projected values from timesheets, the amounts can be viewed depending on the timesheet status: [All | Open |Submitted | Rejected] Projected billing, projected cost, or projected net.
The second major addition to reporting is a feature allowing you to report on project tasks as the primary entity in summary reports. Previously, you could subtotal on project tasks, but not report directly on values associated with them. One consequence of this was that project tasks would not display on the report unless hours billed or worked were associated with the task, even if Hide empty rows were set to No. With the addition of the project task summary report, even if no hours have yet been worked on the task, you can display every task in the project, with the assigned hours. The only limitation is that, when running the report you must select a single project. To run the report, navigate to Reports > Summary > Account-wide > Tasks. Select the time period, number of periods and ending date. Select the desired values and other options. Filter to select a single client and a single project; apply other filters and detail fields as desired. Name, save and run the report.
Finally, we’ve added two new detail reports, to give project managers ability to view bookings and task assignments, by user, on a daily basis. To access these reports, users with the required privileges can navigate to Reports > Detail > Resources > Booking assignments and Reports > Detail > Projects > Task assignments.
7. Administrative: Filter set management tools; custom field support for bulk user change wizard.
The administrative task of managing user filter sets can be challenging; OpenAir has added a couple of features this month to assist with this chore. First, a new filter set detail report lists all filter sets and the users that have access to each. Second, a new field in the user detail report shows for each user, all filter sets to which s/he has access. To run these filter set reports, users with the required privileges can navigate to Reports > Detail > Account-wide > [Filter Sets | Users].
For administrators who have created custom fields associated with users, the bulk user change wizard now supports mass changes to these custom fields. The tool is available on the Dashboard, in the Wizards section, of those users whose role includes bulk user change wizard access. These users can update the custom field for one user, and then copy that value to multiple users or departments, in two quick and easy steps, via the bulk user change wizard, eliminating the need to update custom fields on a user-by-user basis.
8. Suggestions, problems, or questions?
As always, please contact us at email@example.com 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.