Product Update

September 26, 2002

1. Reporting: company-wide and skill profile reports.

OpenAir now enables managers to generate reports with data drawn from multiple modules to help make better business decisions. Managers often need to understand how a client is impacting business in a broad sense; he or she may want to view time (from the Timesheets module), expenses incurred (from Expenses) and invoice charges (from Invoices) for a client on one report. Managers may want to compare how many hours a user has been booked in a month (from Resources) versus how many hours the user has been assigned to tasks (from Projects). Or managers may want to understand the total amount of dollars in the enterprise run through expense reports (from Expenses) versus dollars spent via purchase order process (from Purchases). These are just three examples of how OpenAir’s new cross-module reporting enables managers to analyze for better management decision making.

To use the new reporting functionality, employees who have permission to use reporting navigate to the My Account>Reports>Summary tab. Then select one of the nine new configurable cross-module reports under the "Account-wide" header and configure the report layout on the report set up screen: choose data to display in report columns, time periods, subtotals and filters. As with other OpenAir reports, employees can name and save their favorite reports for future use.

OpenAir now also offers more detailed resource profile reports. For resource managers who want to understand resource skills and capabilities across the enterprise, OpenAir now offers a comprehensive report. Managers can view employee name, the employee’s skill(s), and when the skill information was last updated.

To use the new resources report, navigate to My Account>Reports>Advanced and select "Resource profile updates" report under the "Resources" header. Configure the date range, the resources to review, the skills to review and then run the report.

2. Cost centers: a new way to categorize costs in OpenAir.

Executives who use OpenAir to run their enterprises need sophisticated revenue and cost information from the OpenAir solution. OpenAir has provided cost-related information in the past, but we continue to enhance our cost tracking functionality. This month, we launch the ability to set up cost centers, track time and expense costs to cost centers, and report on cost information by cost center.

To use the new cost center information, account administrators must go through three steps.

First, the account administrator must create cost center. To do so, s/he navigates to My Account>Account>"Cost centers" under the Account Data heading>List cost centers. Then select "Cost center" from the New Entries: Create drop down and fill out the cost center form.

Second, the administrator chooses how to assign costs to cost centers. For example, cost centers might be composed of users who "belong" to a certain functional group, such as sales. To configure this type of cost center, navigate to My Account>Account>Cost centers>Receipt rules and >Time entry rules. In both of these screens, select user as the basis of costs centers.

Third, assign users (or projects, clients, etc.) to specific cost centers. To do so, navigate to My Account>Account>User (Project, Client, etc.)>select specific user>Demographic. Scroll down to the "Cost center" drop down menu and select the appropriate cost center. In our example, the administrator would choose "sales." Then click "Save."

Finally, as users track time and expenses, the OpenAir solution will automatically log which user incurred the time or expense and thus to which cost center the time or expense belongs. Then, managers can run reports on this information in the My Account>Reports>Summary and >Detail screens.

3. Calendar functionality: users can view bookings and vacation schedule.

Employees who use OpenAir often need a central, easy-to-view calendar to see their work and vacation schedule. OpenAir now offers employees daily, weekly and monthly views of their assigned work. The new calendar views specifically enable an employee to see the length of their project bookings and the time they have scheduled for vacation and other time off. Managers can see all employee booking and schedule request information for any user for whom they have Proxy privileges.

To use the calendar functionality, employees navigate to My Account>My Calendar. Employees can then configure a variety of options to display their schedule most efficiently. Employees can choose to view bookings, schedule requests or both bookings and schedule requests on their calendar. They can choose to view the data by day, week or month. They can also drill down from a monthly or weekly view to a daily view. Plus, authorized employees can actually see the data forms that created the booking and/or schedule request and edit the information on the fly. Finally, OpenAir account administrators can enable/disable the calendar functionality as needed navigating to the My Account>Company>Setting screen, and scrolling down to the “Display options” and checking/un-checking the “Show 'My Calendar' tab in all modules” check box.

4. Resources: additional configurable skill profiles.

Resource managers need to understand their employees’ skills in order to staff new projects with the right team to execute effectively and profitably. OpenAir has offered the ability to describe employees with attributes - such as skill, location, education, etc. - for some time. However, we have just added twenty additional attributes that are fully customizable and configurable for organization that would like to describe their employees’ skills in more detail.

To use the new attributes functionality, an account administrator must perform a few steps. First, s/he must create an attribute set. An Attribute set is the level of proficiency of a skill, such as conversational, fluent, or native speaking. This attribute set will be used in conjunction with the new attribute. Second, s/he must set up a new attribute, such as language skill. Third, s/he must create new language skill choices, such as French, Spanish and Japanese. Fourth, once the new attribute is configured, s/he assigns the new skill to employees who possess the skill.

First, to create and attribute set, navigate to My Account>Account>Attribute sets (under "Projects"). Select "Attribute set" from the New Entries: Create drop down menu in the upper right hand section of the screen. Name the attribute set, such as language attributes. Next, list the attributes, ordered sequentially, one per line in the form. For example: conversational, fluent, native-speaker. Then click "Save."

Second, to configure a new attribute, navigate to Resource>Options. Scroll down to the next available custom skill, name the skill, such as language skill, select which attribute set goes with the skill (most likely, you will choose the attribute set you created above), and click "Save."

Third, to populate the new language skill, navigate to My Account>Account>select "Language skill" from the Resources section. Select "Language skills" from the New Entries: Create drop down men and fill out the form. In our example, one would fill out a new form each for French, Spanish and Japanese.

Fourth, once the attribute is configured, all that is required is to assign appropriate users to the skill and choose their skill proficiency. For example, navigate to Resources>Resources>select the appropriate resource>select "Language skill" from the New Entries: Create drop down menu. Fill out the form by selecting the skill possessed by the employee (for example: French, Spanish or Japanese) and select the attribute or proficiency possessed by the employee (for example: conversational, fluent or native-speaker). Then click "Save."

5. Project accounting: mark tasks and billable/not billable.

Project managers require a wide variety of billing configurations to ensure that their customers are charged appropriately. OpenAir has offered sophisticated project billing rules that accommodate fixed fee, time and materials and a variety of additional billing scenarios. A new addition to OpenAir’s project billing functionality is billability by task. In order to serve some clients, project managers may have to bill on a task-by-task basis.

To use this new task billing functionality, a project manager must have access to the project billing rules functions in OpenAir. First, a project manager creates a project billing rule for a particular project. To do so, navigate to Projects>Projects>select the appropriate project>Billing. Then select "Time billing rule" from the New Entries: Create drop down menu. A project manager fills out the billing rule form as usual, but keeping in mind that in addition to the rules s/he is configuring, billability will be determined on a task-by-task basis. Then click "Save."

Second, a project manager must indicate which tasks are billable and which are not billable. To do so, the project manager navigates to Projects>Projects>select the appropriate project>Outline view. Then s/he clicks on those tasks to mark as non-billable (the default task setting assumes that tasks are billable). Once in the task Edit task form, s/he scrolls down to the bottom of the screen and checks the "Non-billable task" check box and clicks "Save."

After the billing rule has been configured and the tasks have been marked billable or not billable, when the accounting staff run the project billing rules, those tasks that are marked "non-billable" will be skipped over during the billing process. Hours worked on non-billable tasks will not appear in the project billing transactions, Timebills or Invoices. However, the time tracked to non-billable tasks will still be recorded as hours worked on the project and show up as a cost to the project.

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 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.