August 22, 2002
1. Expenses: PDF format expense reports.
OpenAir now lets users, managers and approvers view and print expense reports in the ".pdf" file format. The .pdf file format provides a cleaner and more professional-looking expense report layout than other file formats. To use this feature, create an expense report. Navigate to the Expenses>Envelopes>select the appropriate expense envelope>Expense report. Then click on the "PDF version" link near the top of the expense report. OpenAir generates the .pdf version and then prompts the user to click on the "View PDF expense report" link to view the document. As noted on this screen, if the user has not installed the .pdf viewer Adobe® Acrobat® on his/her computer, the user can click on the "click here" link to download this free software program.
2. Resources: increased customization of resource profiles.
To better accommodate companies with the most complex resource classification and searching needs, OpenAir has enhanced the flexibility and number of its resource skill profiles as well as enabled users to customize "attribute sets" to be used in profiles (e.g. novice, intermediate, expert).
To use the new resource profiles, an account administrator must first create a new attribute set. An attribute set is the group of descriptors that is associated with a resource profile. For example, if the resource profile is the "languages," an attribute set might be "novice, proficient, fluent." To set up a new attribute set, navigate to My Account>Account>Attribute sets (under Resources). Then select "Attribute set" from the New Entries: Create drop down menu in the upper right hand corner. Fill out the form indicating the attribute set name and the list of attributes (novice, proficient, fluent) and click "Save."
To create a new, custom resource profile, an account administrator navigates to Resources>Options (on the right hand side of the browser window). Then the administrator checks the "Active" check box next to the custom profile s/he would like to use, names the custom profile in the "Terminology" field, and chooses the attribute set from the drop down. The administrator only uses the "Related profile" drop down when one profile is dependent upon another profile and checks the "Limit to one per resource" if each resource can only be associated once with this profile, and clicks "Save." (If you have questions about these two features, please don’t hesitate to contact email@example.com.)
To create new categories to appear in the resource profile (i.e. different languages in this example), navigate to the My Account>Account>select the appropriate resource attribute (under Resources). Then select the appropriate resource profile (i.e. languages) from the New Entries: Create drop down menu. Fill out the form by providing a category, in this case, a category might be "Spanish" and then click "Save." Create as many categories as necessary (German, French, etc.).
Finally, to assign the new custom resource profile with a resource, navigate to Resources>Resources>select appropriate resource>select the appropriate resource attribute (i.e. languages) from the New Entries: Create drop down menu in the upper right hand corner. Fill out the form by indicating both the skill (i.e. German, Spanish, etc.) and the attribute (i.e. novice, proficient, fluent). Then click "Save."
Once custom resource attributes are configured, resource and project managers can use these attributes to search for resources with the right skill mix. To do this, they would navigate to the Resources>Custom search screen. Then, they could select from the list of "Profile filters," which would include any custom resource attributes that had been set up.
3. Projects: closing percentages and task editing.
OpenAir has continued to add enhancements to the pricing functionality added last month (for details see the July 22, 2002 OpenAir Update). OpenAir now offers the ability for users to record a percentage chance of closing a particular project. For companies who have begun to use project stages (for details see the June 20, 2002 OpenAir Update) as a way to differentiate the project lifecycle (e.g. proposed, won, live, closed), the percentage chance of closing field is intended to provide a way to estimate the weighted expected billings from a particular project in the "proposed" project stage.
To use the feature, navigate to Projects>Projects>select appropriate project>Pricing>Scenario. Then scroll down to the bottom of the form and select the percentage chance of the project closing. Users can also report on the percent chance of closing by using the Pricing analysis report in the Reports>Advanced>Pricing analysis. On the report configuration screen, select "Report layout" and then select "Closing probability %" as a reporting field. Also, if the user would like to weight dollar (or other currency) values by the percent chance of closing, select the "Weight by closing probability" check box.
In order to save project managers time, OpenAir has also put in a feature that enables project managers to alter many tasks at once before OpenAir re-calculates the project plan and re-paints the project outline screen. To enable the feature, navigate to Projects>Projects>select appropriate project>Edit project. Then scroll down and check the check box marked "Allow the user to initiate the project recalculation," then click "Save." When this feature is enabled, project managers can change the planned hours in one or many tasks in the "Edit task/phases" tab or the "Outline view" tab without re-calculating the timeline of the project. After altering the tasks, a link to re-calculate will appear at the top of the "Edit tasks/phases" and the "Outline view."
4. Account-wide: generic users now have cost rates and job codes.
Generic users are "placeholder" users - often role-based - that project managers can use to temporarily staff projects. Once a "real" resource is found who fits the specific project need, project managers often switch the generic resource for a real resource.
Generic users can now be assigned an hourly cost rate and a job code (used with the rate card billing functionality) for more accurate pricing estimates and project profitability. To add these pieces of information to a generic user, navigate to My Account>Account>Generic resources (under Resources)>select the appropriate generic resources. Fill out the form by entering the appropriate job code and hourly cost rate for the generic resource.
5. Project accounting: auto-create Timebills with project billing rules.
OpenAir now offers a more automated way to perform billing using project billing rules. Trial charges (those charges displayed by selecting the Projects>Projects>select project>Billing>Run billing tab) can be automatically turned into Timebills, ready for invoicing. To use this feature, navigate to the Projects>Projects>select project>Billing>Auto billing tab. Then select the "Run billing and create project billing transactions and Timebills" radio button. Users must set up auto billing on a project-by-project basis.
6. Would you like to see previous OpenAir updates?
Click here to browse previous product updates including all new features, modules and functionality.
7. 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 can improve your experience with OpenAir.