October 28, 2004
1. Projects: Lag times for tasks; alert for over-assignments; set default billing options; expenses billing rules enhanced; optional automatic deactivation of project when all tasks are closed; other Projects enhancements.
Once again, we have a release packed with features to make OpenAir more responsive to the needs of users, managers and account administrators. The Projects module has been enhanced in many ways. First, we have added the ability to specify lag times for predecessor tasks. This can be useful if the succeeding task will not start immediately on conclusion of the predecessor (for example, if a deliverable is provided to the client who has to review and respond before the next task begins). To enter lag times, the project manager drills down on the project and selects the task. In the “Other” section of the “Edit task” form, select predecessors for the task. Then, click “Create/edit” to the right of “Predecessor lag times”. Enter the lag time in days, either as a positive or negative number. A different lag time may be specified for each predecessor task. The “Edit task” form displays all predecessors for the task and lag times for each.
A second new feature alerts project managers to over-assignment of users across projects. With this feature enabled, if the manager assigns a user to a task, and the assignment would cause the user to be assigned over 100% of his/her available schedule, the manager receives a warning (for example “On 10/16/04 [User] is scheduled for 8 hours and is assigned 16 hours”). For each day the user is over-assigned, the error message links to a popup window showing all the tasks and assigned hours that caused the error to be generated. The alert does not preclude making the assignment, but is designed to notify the project manager of possible conflicts. To enable this feature, please contact OpenAir support.
Third, we have added the ability to set default auto-billing options on an account-wide basis, eliminating a step for project managers when creating new projects. To configure the defaults, administrators and users with the required role privileges navigate to Projects > Options > Project billing options. Configure the options for whether to use auto-billing, trial billing or full billing, set the auto-bill schedule, and select the users to receive email notification of the billing results. These options will apply to new projects and will not change the auto-bill settings for any existing projects. For more information on auto-billing, please click here to view the online help.
We have also enhanced expense item billing rules to allow setting of receipt maximums. Maximums are set on a per-expense item basis in each individual billing rule. To utilize the receipt maximum feature, administrators and users with the required role privileges select a project and click the “Billing” link. Create a new expense item billing rule or modify an existing one. In the “Receipt maximums” section, select an expense item from the dropdown and enter an amount in the “Maximum” field. Configure the remainder of the billing rule and save. Receipts that exceed the maximum will be reduced to the maximum specified, when the billing is run for the particular project. For more information on project billing rules, please click here to view the online help.
A new switch provides automatic deactivation of projects when all tasks are marked closed. Inactive projects are not displayed in timesheets, preventing users from logging time to them. To take advantage of this feature, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Projects options. Check the box “Inactivate project when all tasks are closed” and save. Once all the tasks on the project are marked closed (by checking the “Closed task” box in the “Edit task” form), the project will be automatically deactivated and inaccessible on users' timesheets.
Other enhancements to the Projects module in this release include:
For accounts using the signers option on projects, we have added the ability to enter a third party email address to be notified of hours signed-off. When the guest signs off, they also have the option to specify other addresses to receive notification of the sign-off. Details of sign-off can also be displayed on the invoice (see Invoice section below). For more information on the signers option from the online help, please click here.
The project booking grid now displays links to allow resource substitution, and supports subtotals by group. The grid can also be configured to repeat the users’ names at the end of each row. A “find” option has been added to the user picker in the grid setup as well. To configure the project booking grid, navigate to Projects > Options > Booking grid options. For more information on the project booking grid from the online help, please click here.
2. Expenses: American Express import enhancements.
Last month, OpenAir added the ability to import receipts from an American Express multi-user corporate account statement. This month, we have enhanced the American Express import in two ways. First, we extended it to include solo accounts. The import wizard detects automatically whether the file being uploaded is a multi-user or solo-user file. If the file is multi-user, the import wizard prompts to map the employees in the file to OpenAir user ID’s. If the file is a solo file, the import creates an envelope and corresponding receipts for the user who is doing the import. Secondly, we have enabled the user to specify the reimbursable status and payment type of receipts being imported. If the American Express statement is for a corporate card, the user can import all receipts as non-reimbursable and company paid, for example. If it is for a personal card, the user can import the receipts as reimbursable, with the appropriate payment type. To access this feature, the user must be an administrator, or have a role that includes the privilege “American Express receipt import” in the “My Account” section of the role settings. To perform the import, the user navigates to the OpenAir dashboard. In the “Wizards” section, click the link “American Express receipt import wizard”. Specify the file to import (it must be in .csv format), and follow the remaining prompts.
3. Invoices: Additional fields available in invoice layout; PayPal link.
In this month’s release, we have added more invoice layout options for greater invoicing flexibility. First, we have added an optional invoice title to the PDF version of the invoice. Displayed in the upper right hand corner of the first page of the PDF invoice, it can be used to specify whether the invoice is a standard invoice or a credit memo, for example. Second, you can now display the number of units and rate per unit for purchase items on the invoice layout. Finally, for accounts that use the signers option, sign-off details, including signer contact information, can be displayed on the invoice. To configure the invoice layout with these new options, administrators or users with the required role privileges navigate to Invoices > Options > Invoice layout options. Create a new invoice layout, or select an existing layout to modify. Use the "Invoice columns" picker list to select the fields to display on the invoice. For purchase items, select “Unit” and “Rate”. For signers information, select “Sign off”. To add an optional invoice title, enter desired text (25 characters maximum) in the “Invoice title” field in the “Adobe Acrobat PDF settings” section, and save.
For PayPal sellers, we also have added a feature that allows you to include a link to the PayPal system on your invoice. Please contact OpenAir support to have this feature activated for your account. Once enabled, the printable and guest view of an invoice will have an icon linking to the PayPal system so that your clients can make online payment of the balance due.
4. Administrative: Validate password on login; option to approve by manager; filter sets enhanced; new custom field type.
We introduce several new administrative features this month. First, to offer enhanced security, we have added a new feature so that passwords can be validated at login. To enable the feature, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Password options. Check the box “Force user to change invalid password upon login” and save. With this feature enabled, if a user has a password that does not meet the requirements selected for your account (for example, it is too short, or it matches the user ID), s/he will be forced to change the password prior to logging in.
We have also streamlined project-based approvals and approval processes. In the past, if an individual user was both project approver and final approver, the final approval was automatic if the items being approved were the same at the project and final levels. With this release, we have extended this functionality to include approval processes as well as individual users. If an approver is a part of an approval process and has already approved all items on a timesheet, expense report, purchase request, etc. during the project-based approval stage, the approver will not have to review and approve the identical items again as part of the final approval process. The second approval will be automatic. View the online help for approvals by clicking here.
Two new options have been added for approvals this month: [Manager] and [Manager’s manager]. These options greatly increase the flexibility of approvals and approval processes. Instead of specifying a particular person to approve or to participate in an approval process, the administrator can create a template for approval that varies with each user on the system. The [Manager] and [Manager’s manager] approvals are available both for project-based approvals and final (user-based) approvals. In the case of project-based approvals, the [Manager] is the manager of the user who is the owner of the project. Navigate to the user demographic form to select the user’s [Manager] (Account > Users > [select user ID] > Demographic). The [Manager] terminology is customizable in My Account > Company > Terminology.
Custom fields provide OpenAir account administrators a powerful and flexible tool to add special information tailored to your company's requirements to the standard data entered about users, clients, projects and other account entities. We have enhanced custom fields this month with the addition of a new custom field type, the multiple selection custom field. This new custom field type allows the administrator to create a series of possible values from which a user may select one, several or all choices. For instance, if your company has multiple product lines and you wish to associate each user with the product lines s/he supports, you can create a multiple selection custom field, associated with users, to hold this information. To create a multiple selection custom field, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Custom Fields > Create Multiple selection Field. Enter name and description for the field, and select an association. In our example, it would be “User”. Enter a list of possible values, one value per line. If desired, check the box “Allow ordering” to permit ordering of items in the selector. Then, navigate to the User demographic form, (or other edit form, depending on the association for the custom field), and choose one or more values from those available. Order the selected items as desired and save.
Filter sets have also been enhanced in this release. Filter sets allow the administrator to limit a user’s access to clients, projects, services, other users, expense items, time types and booking types within the OpenAir application. This month, we enhanced filter sets in two ways. First, we have extended filter sets to include the ability to limit access by timebill stages and project stages. This permits you, for instance, to prevent certain users or classes of users from viewing timebills in particular stages, or projects in particular stages. If certain users should not have access to project templates, for example, the templates can be moved to a separate project stage, which can then be removed from the users’ filter set access. Similarly, timebill stages can be created and excluded from the access privileges for certain users by removing the timebill stages from the users’ filter set. Timebills assigned to those stages would not be accessible to users whose filter sets exclude the timebill stage.
A second enhancement to filter sets is an option in client access for [Access to booked clients]. If a user is booked to a single project, this option gives the user access to all projects for that client. For more information on configuring filter set access, please visit the online help.
Other administrative enhancements in this release include:
Auto-approve rules can now be set up for expense authorizations in approval processes. Administrators navigate to My Account > Account > Expenses > Approval processes.
All email fields have been expanded to support 200 characters (from the current 50 character limit).
5. Resources: Bulk changes to bookings; additional option for booking request approvals.
The booking modification process has been significantly streamlined in this release. Booking types, start dates and end dates can be changed for multiple bookings in bulk. To take advantage of this feature, administrators (and those users with role privileges to edit bookings) can simply click the customize link at the bottom of the bookings list. Move “Run an action” to the list of selected items on the right, and click OK. This displays a column of checkboxes in the bookings list. Check the boxes for the bookings to be modified. To toggle the entire column of checkboxes on and off, click the icon at the top of the column. Click the circling arrows icon to run the action. Available options are to delete the selected bookings, change the booking type of the selected bookings, or change start and end dates of the selected bookings. Select the desired action and click OK.
We have also added an option to the booking request approval process. Up until now, if booking request approvals were enabled for an account, the request was routed for approval according to which user was requesting the booking. With this release, booking request approvals can be routed according to the resource for which a booking request is made. To enable this option, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Resources options. Check the box “Booking request approvals are for the requested resource” and save. Booking request approvals can also be copied from one user to multiple users through the bulk user change wizard on the Dashboard. For more information on booking requests, please click here. To view details on the bulk user change wizard, click here.
6. Reports: Projected billing amounts and hours; filter and sub-total by timebill stage; hierarchy data available in summary and detail reports; other reporting enhancements.
We continue to enrich the reporting options available in OpenAir. With this release, for example, we have added new values for "Project billing amount" and "Project billing hours" to the projects and account-wide summary reports for user, department, customer, project, service, project task, and company. The values come from project billing transactions. This permits a manager to compare hours and income generated by billing rules in the projects module, with hours and income created as billable in the invoices module. In a single account-wide report, for instance, you can report on the project billing transactions and the charges/timebills to view any write-ups or write-downs on the project.
A second reporting enhancement is the ability to filter and subtotal by timebill stage. This feature is available in account-wide reports, and in summary invoice reports, summary project reports (when reporting on project billing transactions) and advanced reports on percent realization. If you have created a separate timebill stage for non-billable charges, for example, this feature allows you to filter timebills in this stage out of report results. more information on timebills stages is available in the online help.
Third, you can now obtain comprehensive information relating to hierarchies in detail reports on users, customers or projects, or in summary reports as detail when reporting on those entities. Available options include the actual node for the entity within the hierarchy, the full path for the entity in the hierarchy, and the node at any level for the entity in the hierarchy. For additional information on hierarchies, please click to view the online help.
Other reporting additions this month include:
Recognized revenue is an available value in summary reports on project tasks (under both account-wide and project headings).
A new summary project report on services is now available if there are any revenue recognition transactions.
In summary expense reports, there are new date-to-use options for envelope submitted date and envelope approved date.
In detail expense reports on receipts, we have added the ability to report and filter on envelope approved date, envelope submitted date and envelope created date.
New detail invoices reports on timebill stage and timebill type have been added.
Report options now allow you to set the wrap value for multi-line fields in reports. The default is 50 characters and can be changed in Reports > Options.
7. Other enhancements: Account-wide, Workspaces, Purchases.
Account-wide: The advanced filter is provided on most OpenAir list views, allowing users to display a subset of data that meets specified criteria. This month, we have enhanced the advanced filter options in a variety of ways. First, any column that can be filtered on in the list view can be filtered on in the advanced filter. Second, the notes field is made available in most advanced filters. This permits a search of the notes field to display items where the notes contain certain text. Finally, the fields in the filter dropdowns are now sorted alphabetically for increased ease of use.
Workspaces: A new configuration option for workspace alerts allows them to be sent to specific workspace members. To take advantage of this feature, navigate to a Workspaces > [select a workspace] > Alerts. Use the Edit button at the bottom of the alerts form to limit the alert emails that are sent.
Purchases: We have improved the robustness of fulfillments of purchase orders with large number of purchase items.
8. Would you like to see previous OpenAir product 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.367.1288 (outside the U.S. and Canada, call +1.617.351.0226). We pride ourselves on the outstanding care we give our customers. Please let us know how we can improve your experience with OpenAir.