July 26, 2003
1. Data Exchange: OpenAir for the Pocket PC®.
This month, we are pleased to introduce a version of OpenAir for the Windows CE® Platform. It allows users of the Pocket PC and other similar devices to track time and expenses and update project tasks on the handheld device. Many users had requested this alternative to our Palm OS® application and we rolled out this addition to our thin client roster in response to customer demand.
PocketPC users can download the application by navigating to My Account > Exchange > Add-on services > OpenAir for the Pocket PC > “Download”. Save the program to your hard drive and click Save. Browse to the location of the file on your hard drive and double-click to run the setup, which can be completed with a few clicks. Users can track time in timesheets and record expenses, in both cases to the project task level. To synchronize changes with the online account, users simply update when their device is connected to the Internet through the USB tray or a wireless connection. Changes made on the handheld device are reflected on the Web and vice versa. The client requires a handheld with operating system Pocket PC® 2000 or greater and Microsoft® Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP. Like our other thin clients (OpenAir OffLine, OpenAir for the Palm, OpenAir Outlook Connector, and OpenAir Projects Connector) we’ve made OpenAir for the Pocket PC available at no additional charge to our users. A user guide can be accessed from My Account > Guides > Add-on services.
2. Projects: Determine pending billing for all projects; view rolling forecasts using actual and planned hours; repeating tasks in projects; display cost center on project list; display “Finish no later than” dates in Gantt view and outline view.
Several enhancements to the Projects module appear this month. First, we’ve added a report on pending billings for projects across the account. Pending billings are billings that would be generated if project billing rules were run. Up until now, billing managers were able to access pending billings only on a project-by-project basis. The new pending billings report allows the billing or project manager to see at a glance the monetary value of billable time and expenses on projects across the account. Moreover, the new report allows the billing manager to process the billing transactions from the report itself. To run this report, project billing rules must be enabled in My Account > Company > Settings > Billing rates. Administrators and users with the required role privileges navigate to Reports > Advanced > Projects > Pending billings. Filters for date, client, project and project stage are provided. There is an option to hide projects with no pending billings, if desired. Run the report to show projects, with client name, number of pending billings and amount. If a particular project has pending billings, the project name will be hyperlinked. Clicking the link will take the user (provided s/he has the appropriate privileges) to the Run billing screen, where s/he can run billing for the project. Another link on the billing screen returns the user to the pending billing report.
In a second enhancement to Projects, the project pricing feature now permits forecasting using historical hours for past periods and planned hours or bookings for future periods. Project pricing lets you create pricing estimates for a specific project under different scenarios of staffing, rates and time required, and to analyze key financial data based on the scenario. In the past, the pricing estimate’s cost and revenue forecasts were limited to only future data such as planned hours from tasks, bookings or job code estimates. This month, we include a powerful new option that lets you base the scenario on actual historical worked hours and projected hours. To take advantage of this feature, users with appropriate privileges navigate to Projects > Projects > [select Project] > Pricing > Scenario. Select the standard and discount rate cards desired. For revenue hours and cost hours, select either Tasks or Bookings (this feature does not operate if you select Job code estimates). Configure the remainder of the scenario as desired. Check the box to “Use worked hours for prior months”. If this option is checked, the analysis revenue and cost calculations for prior months will be based on actual worked hours, rather than on the task or booking assignments, which may vary from the actual. Calculations for future months will, of course, be based on projections from tasks or bookings. Click Analysis to view financial data, such as revenue, cost, profit and contribution margins. Snap shots of different pricing estimates can be created and viewed via the snap shot dropdown. You can, for instance create two snap shots, one based on prior worked hours and another based on hours from tasks or bookings, and compare the actuals with projections. (For more information on creating snap shots, see the product newsletter for November 21, 2002.) Use the Options link to break the analysis down by user and /or time period. A “printable version” link supplies a printer-friendly version of the project pricing report.
Third, we’ve added the ability to create repeating tasks in projects. When creating or editing a task, click the Repeating tasks > Create button to set up repeats for a task. A popup window opens with a Repeat dialog, allowing you to configure the repeat. Select how often you want the task to be repeated by using either the "Frequency" drop-down or the "Repeat every __ days" drop-down menu. Select how long a time period you want the repeating tasks to be added to the project plan by using either the "Occurrences" drop-down menu or by entering a specific date in the "End date" field. Click “OK”. The specified number of repeat tasks will appear in the edit task list. These tasks will be exactly the same as the task from which they were created, except each one will show a different start date according to the parameters set up in the Repeat dialog. If the initial task had attachments or estimates, these are unique to the task and will not be repeated. Please note that you can only set the predecessors, start and FNLT (finish no later than) dates in the first task of a repeating group. If you later copy or move a repeating task, it will be detached from the repeating group.
A fourth enhancement to the projects module, for users who have implemented cost centers related to projects, allows the cost center to be displayed on the project list view. To associate a cost center with a project, users with appropriate privilege can navigate to Projects > Projects > [select Project] > Edit. Select a cost center to associate with the project and Save. To display the cost center, navigate to Projects > Projects and click the Customize link at the bottom of the list. Add Cost center to the list of Selected items, order as desired using the up/down arrows and Save.
Finally, we’ve added the ability to display “Finish no later than” or “FNLT” dates on the Gantt view and Outline view of projects. Your account must have enabled FNLT dates in My Account > Company > Settings > Project options > Enable FNLT (finish no later than) dates for tasks. Enter FNLT dates in the Task edit form. To display the FNLT date on the Gantt view, administrators or users with the required level of privilege navigate to Projects > Options > Project Gantt view layout. Select “FNLT date” and Save. To display the date on the outline view, select a project and click Outline view. Click the customize link at the bottom of the page. Add “FNLT date” to the list of selected values, order the columns using the up/down arrows and Save.
3. Invoices: More flexibility in rolling up timebills on invoices; suppress company logo on invoice layout; enhanced “Create multiple invoices” feature; display and filter on customer billing code in invoice list.
We have significantly enhanced the Invoices module this month. First, we have added a “Combine timebills” feature to invoice layout options, to increase flexibility for rolling up timebills on invoices. With this feature, the billing manager can roll up timebills or charges with varying degrees of granularity, up to a single line item if desired. Roll up expenses to the expense item level, or hourly timebills to the service/activity level, or both. Break out timebills by date, by rate or by user within the roll up. Create different invoice layouts for different clients, with varying degrees of detail. To take advantage of this new feature, administrators or those with appropriate privileges can navigate to Invoices > Options > Invoice layouts. Edit an existing layout, or create a new one by selecting from the New entries > Create dropdown. In Invoice columns, select and order the columns to be displayed on the invoice. Under Invoice groupings, select Type. Under Combine timebills, use the checkboxes to select whether to combine expense item timebills and/or service/activity timebills. Use the Date/Rate/User checkboxes to combine timebills at those levels, if desired. Configure the remainder of the layout as desired, and Save. If you have multiple invoice layouts, you can assign the layout to a particular invoice by selecting an invoice, clicking Edit and selecting from the Invoice layout dropdown. Click the View link to view the invoice.
A second enhancement to invoice layout is the option to suppress the invoice logo for a particular layout. Your company logo can be uploaded in My Account > Company > Logos and will display on invoices sent to your clients. Invoice layouts can now be customized to exclude the logo, if desired. To exclude your company logo from a particular invoice layout, administrators or users with requisite privilege can navigate to Invoices > Options > Invoice layout. Select a layout, check the box “Suppress the logo” in the “Other” section and Save. Invoices with this layout will not display the logo, while invoices with other layouts will display your company logo.
A third enhancement to the Invoices module was implemented for billing managers who use the “create multiple invoices” feature. This powerful feature enables you to create invoices for many different clients at one time. If you create multiple invoices, and if you have clients with multiple projects being billed, the system will now honor project-specific billing contacts and will create separate invoices for those projects that have a billing contact specified. Previously, project billing contacts were disregarded when creating multiple invoices; options were to send the client a separate invoice for each project, or for all projects for a particular client to be put on a single invoice to the client. If all projects were put on a single invoice, the main client billing contact was used, and any project-specific billing contact was ignored. In order to implement this enhancement for your account, you must have enabled the setting in My Account > Company > Settings > Invoices options > “Allow project over-ride of billing contact”. Your account must also have disabled the setting “One project per invoice” in the same section of company settings. Administrators and others with requisite billing privileges can take advantage of this feature by going to Invoices > Invoices and selecting “Multiple invoices” from the New entries > Create dropdown. Check the box to “Create a new invoice for each Project billing contact”. Options to create a new invoice for each user’s timebills, or for each separate project still exist.
This month’s final enhancement to the Invoices module is the ability to filter the list of invoices based on the customer billing code. Customer billing codes are set in the Billing information form for each client (Account > Clients > [select Client] > Billing information). The code can be any combination of letters or numbers and is designed for use with the “create multiple invoices” feature, to allow you to select a subset of clients when invoicing in bulk. This month, we also permit you to display the client’s billing code on the invoice list view and to filter on the billing code. To display the billing code, navigate to Invoices > Invoices and click the Customize link at the bottom of the list. Add Billing code to the list of Selected items, order as desired using the up/down arrows and Save. You can filter on the billing code by using the dropdown in the column heading, or by using the advanced filter above the list.
4. Reports: Recognized revenue; booked utilization chart; new fields for project detail report; re-run saved report directly from generated report; separate columns for subtotals on downloaded reports; remember size of popup windows when configuring reports.
In addition to the Pending billing report mentioned above, there are many new reporting features introduced this month. First, you can now report on the amount of revenue recognized on all projects across the account. There is a new option for “Recognized revenue” in the following Projects and Account-wide Summary reports: User, Department, Job Code, Project, Service and Account. In order to report on this value, you must be an administrator, or your role must have the privilege to view revenue recognition. In addition, your account must have at least one project stage enabled for revenue recognition. To run the report, navigate to Reports > Summary > Account-wide or Projects and select one of the reports listed above. Under Options, add “Recognized revenue” to the list of Selected values. Configure the remainder of the report as desired, and run the report.
A second addition to reporting is the booked utilization chart. Staffing and project managers will appreciate this graphical view of bookings for selected users. It is similar to the assigned utilization chart, but represents bookings as opposed to project task assignments. The chart was previously available on a per-resource basis, in Resources > Resources > [select Resource] > Utilization. With this enhancement, it is now available for multiple resources across the account. To run the report, users with appropriate privileges can navigate to Reports > Advanced > Resources > Booked utilization chart. Enter the detail level (daily or monthly), the start date and duration. Determine whether the chart is to display hours or percentage of time. A user filter is available. Run the report to view a bar chart of the users’ booked versus available time.
Third, the project detail report has been enhanced by adding many new values to the list of those available to be reported on. The new fields include Estimated hours and Remaining hours (for users of the Projects module), Purchase request approver and Purchase order approver (for users of the Purchases module), and Authorization approver (for users of travel authorizations in the Expenses module). If your account is set up to use the pricing scenario feature in the Projects module, you can also report on whether Project pricing exists for each project in your account, whether Finance and/or Staffing approval has been given, the Standard rate card, Discount rate card, and source of Revenue hours and Billable resource cost hours defined in the pricing scenario. To run the report, navigate to Reports > Detail > Account-wide > Projects.
A fourth enhancement to reporting is the ability to re-run a report from the results screen. After running most reports, the resulting report will have a link in the gray bar at the bottom of the report, labeled “re-run the report”. This feature is particularly useful for utilization reports, so that if any changes are made to the booking data, new values based on the changes are included in the re-running of the report. A mere refresh of the executed report would not pick up new values but using the new “re-run the report” link will update the report with the new data.
Fifth, we have added a new option so that in downloading summary or utilization reports, a separate column will be generated in the downloaded report for each subtotal. Previously, if subtotals were specified in a summary or utilization report, they were included, indented, in the same column as the main entity reported on. To view the subtotals as a separate column, users who have access to summary and utilization reports can simply check the box at the bottom of the report configuration screen “For downloads, generate distinct columns for each entity when subtotaling is specified”. After running the report, use the download link at the bottom of the report to download to Microsoft Excel 2000/2002. The main entity will be in the first column, the first subtotal will display in the second column and the second subtotal will display in the third column.
A sixth and final enhancement to reporting this month allows you to customize the size of popup windows when configuring filter and detail fields in the report layout. This feature can be activated at the account level in My Account > Company > Settings > Display options, or by the individual user in My Account > My Options > Preferences. In either case, check the box “Remember size of popup windows” and Save. When this feature is turned on, if a user changes the size of the popup window when creating filters and detail fields during report configuration, the system will remember the popup window size when the user next accesses the popup. This can be a time-saver when applying multiple filters or selecting multiple detail fields in configuring a detailed report.
5. Expenses: Suppress the cash advance field on envelopes.
Administrators now have the ability to suppress the cash advance field on OpenAir expense envelopes. For companies that do not use cash advances in dealing with employee-incurred expenses, this may help avoid confusion for end users. To turn off the cash advance field in envelopes, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Expenses options. Check the box to “Hide the ‘Cash advance’ field on envelopes” and Save.
6. Opportunities: Proposal history dates added to list view, advanced filter and detail report; filter on submitted proposal list for all/waiting my approval; display custom fields in client and prospect list.
Proposal history dates (Created, Submitted, Approved, Sent, Viewed, Responded) have been added to the proposals list view in the Opportunities module. To display them, users with appropriate access can navigate to Opportunities > Proposals and click the customize link at the bottom of the proposals list. The columns are filterable, and the advanced filter also includes the option to filter the proposals list based on any of the activity dates. These fields are also available for display in the proposal detail report in Reports > Detail > Opportunities > Proposals.
A second enhancement to Opportunities is the addition of a filter on the submitted proposal list, according to whether the submitted proposal is awaiting the user’s approval. For accounts that use an approval process for proposals, there will now be sub-links on the submitted proposal list for Waiting my Approval and All. This will enable users to distinguish easily those proposals that are waiting for their approval. In the All (Submitted) proposal list, the proposals waiting the user’s approval will be displayed in bold. To view only those proposals waiting his/her approval, the user can select the “Waiting my approval” sub-link in Opportunities > Proposals > Submitted.
The third enhancement to the Opportunities module is the ability to display custom fields associated with clients in the client and prospect list view. Formerly, client-related custom fields could be displayed in the Account tab, but not in the client and prospect lists in Opportunities. With this release, users can display the custom fields in either location. To display the custom fields in Opportunities, navigate to Opportunities > Prospects > Prospect or Client. Click the customize link at the bottom of the list. Select the custom fields from the list of available items and Save.
7. Administrative: Hide Job code on lists and in reports.
A new account-wide switch enables administrators to suppress job code information in list views and reports throughout OpenAir. This affords an additional level of security to job code data, which some organizations regard as highly sensitive. To turn this setting on, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Optional features. Check the box “Hide the Job code on lists and reports unless user has ‘View job codes’ privilege” and Save. If this setting is on, and the user does not have “View job code privileges” enabled in his/her role, the user will not have the ability to view the Job code column in lists in Account > Account data > Users, or in Resources > Resources. In addition, Job code will not be an available option on the Detail or Summary reports pages, nor will it be a subtotaling or filtering option in detail, summary or utilization reports.
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 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.