October 23, 2002
1. Utilization reporting: filter by attribute or by department, combine with other metrics.
OpenAir clients continue to improve resource staffing and utilization using the utilization and availability reports in the Resources module. This month, we have added two new features to make these reports more useful to manage resource utilization.
First, resource managers can now configure their utilization and availability reports based on resource attributes, such as skills, geographic location, education, etc, or by department. For example, a resource manager may want to answer the question "How well utilized last quarter were my resources who are certified to implement ERP systems?" To answer that question, a resource manager can now set up a utilization report to filter out all resources except those that possess certification from an ERP vendor. The resource manager can then determine if s/he needs to hire additional employees. Similarly, (s)he can use this to understand utilization on the department level to see which are overworked and which have slack, and adjust staffing accordingly.
To use this new functionality, there are two main steps. First, under Resources>Options>Resource Profile Options, ensure that the attributes on which you would like to filter the report have been checked in both the "Active" and "Limit to one per resource" columns. Second, navigate to My Account>Account>Reports>Advanced and select "Percent historical utilization report." Once on the report configuration screen, scroll down to the "Filter and detail fields" section. Then select the filters on the report that are required. In our example, we would choose to filter on the skill entitled "ERP implementation certified" or similar skill. Then run the report.
Second, resource managers and executives can now view utilization metrics side by side with other operational metrics all in one report. In the last few months, OpenAir launched more comprehensive account-wide reports. Account wide reports enable executives to view metrics across functions and business process--and therefore across OpenAir modules. For example, an executive might wish to answer the question "How many hours did my employees work last month relative to their utilization?" Account-wide reports can answer that question.
To use this new functionality, navigate to My Account>Reports>Summary and select "Users" from the "Account wide" selection of reports. Once on the report configuration screen, scroll down to the "Options-available values" pick list and select any of the resource/booking related metrics along with any other account-wide metrics as desired. Then run the report.
2. Administrative: exception-based filter sets.
OpenAirís professional services automation solution helps automate many processes in an enterprise and thus must serve many different types of employees. As a result, OpenAir must provide flexible data views for those diverse employees. Filter set functionality is one of key features administrators use to regulate data displayed on reports. This month, OpenAir offers administrators a new way to configure and maintain filter sets: exception-based filter sets. When configuring regular filter sets, administrators indicate which items in OpenAir - such as clients and projects - an employee should see when using the application or in reporting. Exception-based filter sets enable administrators to indicate which items an employee should not see. For example, an administrator might want to run a report that shows every the number of hours worked for on all projects except for a few (such as a company internal projects).
Now, administrators just set up an exception-based filter set excluding undesired projects. With this filter set, an executive who runs the report will see every project - even new projects added after the filter set was created - except for those explicitly excluded without the administrator needing to maintain the filter set.
To use this new functionality, administrators navigate to My Account>Account then select 'Filter sets" from the "Account data" selections. Then select "Filter set" from the "New entry: Create" drop down menu. Name the filter set. Then click on the "User filter set" link above the form and select which employees will be able to use this filter set to filter data in their account views. Then click on the "Access control" link above the form and select one of the access control categories. Then select the radio button "Exclude selected clients (or other entity in OpenAir)" and choose which clients (or other entity) that you would like to exclude from this filter set and click save.
3. Timesheets and Expense: configurable time/expense cards.
OpenAir continues to improve usability for employees who use the Timesheet and Expenses module. Some of OpenAirís clients like to present specific information to employees as they are filling out timesheets and receipts. For example, they may have different codes for time types, service (activity), etc. that go onto a timesheet. In order to promote data integrity, OpenAir has launched this month a message functionality to inform time and expense entering employees which codes to use for specific time/expense entries.
To create a reminder message, administrators navigate to Timesheets>Timesheets>[select any timesheet]>click on the "Customize" link at the bottom of the screen. (For expenses, navigate to Expenses>Envelopes>[select any envelope]>[select any receipt]>click on the "Customize" link at the bottom of the screen.) Then, an administrator types in the appropriate message, in our example, s/he types in codes for activities, expense types, etc. to ensure that time and expense keepers enter data accurately. All users who view these timesheets and receipts subsequently will see the reminder message.
4. Projects: more accurate forecasting, project-wide resource substitution, enhanced project copies.
OpenAir offers three new features to enhance the usability of the Projects module this month.
First, OpenAir continues to roll out new features to help project managers and sales professionals forecast future revenue more accurately. Recently, we offered new functionality under the "pricing" tab in the Projects module. This month, we enhance the ability to price and forecast by enabling managers to track and view labor and pass through revenue in customized time increments. For example, sales managers and project mangers often get together to scope at a high level a potential engagement. They desire to see how staffing and pass through timing will impact revenue on a month-by-month or week-by-week basis. The new functionality released this month enables mangers to both input data on arbitrary timelines and view data on the same arbitrary timelines.
To use the new functionality, employees with access to the pricing features in the Projects modules navigate to Projects>Projects>[select appropriate project]>Pricing. There are two areas to explore this new forecast timing functionality. The first area involves data entry. Navigate to the "Scenario" link. In the Scenario screen, the new timing functionality is available to "split" dollar amounts for five different forecast line items - gross revenue amounts, investment absorptions, other billable costs, non-billable resources costs, and non-billable expense costs. To split forecast dollar amounts, first make sure the feature is turned on in the tips at the bottom of the screen, then click on the "split" link near any of these five features and then enter a date and a dollar amounts. The second area involves data viewing. Navigate to the "Analysis" link at the top of the form and then select the "Options" link.
On the options screen, check the "Total by period" check box and then provide period duration (month, week, etc.) and a begin and end date for the report to display, then click save. Finally, select the "Report" link at the top of the form to view revenue forecasts displayed by appropriate period.
Second, OpenAir has made it easier to use resource substitution. Many of OpenAirís clients like to assign generic resources - such as project manager or analyst - to a project plan task when the project plan is not finalized. Often, project managers donít know which specific resources will end up on the project, so assigning generic resources allows accurate scoping and revenue forecasting even without knowing who will be on the project. However, when a project is sold, a project manager must substitute specific, real resources for generic resources. Similarly, an employee might be pulled off of a project midstream and need to be replaced for any number of reasons. OpenAir has enabled project managers to do this in the past, but this month we make this process easier. Now, rather than substituting resources on a task-by-task basis, project managers can re-assign tasks to specific resources project wide.
To use the new functionality, administrators must first enable the project-wide resource substitutions for the entire OpenAir account. An administrator navigate to My Account>Company>Settings and scroll down to the "Project options" section and check the box next to "Enable project-wide resources substitution." Then, project managers navigate to Projects>Projects>[select appropriate project]>Team. Then users select the name of the resource they would like to replace project wide and complete the form.
Third, OpenAir enhances project managersí ability to create projects by copying existing projects and/or project templates. OpenAir has always allowed project managers to copy old projects or templates to reduce the work in creating a new project work breakdown structure. This month, OpenAir makes copying projects easier by enabling mangers to copy specific phases and tasks from one project to another and to copy resource task assignments when creating a copy of a project. Most project-based enterprises have lines of business in which newly sold projects are just versions of previously completed projects. In order to reduce re-work and maximize the productivity of existing intellectual capital, project managers can use OpenAirís project copy and templating functionality.
To use the new phase/task functionality, navigate to Projects>Projects>[project phase sub-tab] and click on the name of the project. From the outline view, click on the phase or task you want to copy or move. The form that pops up now contains a "Copy/Move this task" link.
To use the new functionality that enables copying task assignments when projects are copied, simply copy projects from other projects. Navigate to Projects>Projects then select "Project from another project" from the "New entries: Create" drop down menu. Fill out the form and click save. The new project that is created based on the previous project will include task assignments to resources.
5. Account-wide: batch printing of invoices and other documents.
Many OpenAir clients use the Invoices module to bill clients because of the flexible layout of OpenAir invoices: OpenAir can accommodate one client demanding a highly-detailed list of charges and another client wanting to see just a few high-level, rolled-up charges. For those clients who use or would like to use OpenAir to invoice many clients at a time, this month we offer batch printing of PDF format invoices. When one of our clients wants to invoice hundreds of their customers at the end of the month, the accounts receivable manger can now configure OpenAir to generate and print all relevant invoices rather than printing invoices one at a time.
To use the new functionality, navigate to Invoices>Invoices and click the "Customize" link in the gray bar at the bottom of the screen. Click on "Run an action" and add it to the "Selected Items" list by clicking the green arrow and then "OK". A column of check boxes will appear on the left of the screen. Click the boxes next to the invoices you wish to create, and then click the circular arrow icon at the top of the column. A window pops up that lets you confirm the action.
This same functionality has been incorporated throughout the application, so you can batch print proposals, schedule requests, expense reports, purchase requests and purchase orders by following the process outlined above.
6. Integration: New integration with Microsoftģ Outlookģ.
OpenAir has launched integration between its recently added calendar functionality and Microsoft Outlook. Now items that appear in the OpenAir calendar, such as bookings and schedule requests, can be exported to Outlook to ensure that OpenAir commitments and scheduled time are consistent in both systems. For more information about integration, contact our support department (see below).
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 improve your experience with OpenAir.