December 18, 2004
1. Data Exchange: OpenAir for Blackberry.
1. This month, we are pleased to introduce a version of OpenAir for the Blackberry. It allows Blackberry users to track time and expenses on the handheld device, and to submit them for approval directly from the handheld.
Like our other thin clients, OpenAir for the Blackberry is available to our users at no additional charge.
The client runs on any 4-digit device model running Blackberry 3.7 or higher. It requires Blackberry Enterprise server with Mobile Data Service (MDS) enabled and Microsoft® Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP. It also requires a minimum of 1MB free on the device.
Users can download the application by navigating to My Account > Exchange > Add-on services > OpenAir for the Blackberry. Click to download. A wizard guides you through the installation. When installation is complete, run the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software, and double click the "Application Loader" icon. Click "Next", and locate the "OpenAir" group of components. Check off all items within the "OpenAir" group and click "Next". Your Blackberry device will now display the OpenAir application.
To synchronize changes with OpenAir, users simply update when their device is connected to the Internet via wireless connection. Changes made on the handheld device are reflected on the Web and vice versa.
2. Administrative: Audit trail; maximum number of repeat transactions increased.
OpenAir understands the importance of controls to secure your valuable business data. To the numerous security measures already in place, this month we add an audit trail feature. This enables users to access a log of who changed a record, when, and what values were changed. To view the audit trail, a user must either be an administrator or have a role that gives access to detail reports and that has “View audit trail” enabled in the general settings section of the role. From Reports > Detail, select the item for which you wish to view the audit trail (such as users, clients, projects, project tasks, timesheets, envelopes, etc.). Click to edit the report layout. Move "Audit trail" from the list of available items on the left to the list of selected items on the right. Add other items as desired to the report layout and click OK. Configure date ranges and filters, and run the report. The results will show who changed which records and when. Moreover, if a user has proxied in to make changes to a record, the audit trail identifies the actual user who made the changes, rather than the proxied user. Please note that this feature operates prospectively only; audit trail is not available via the detail reports for changes made prior to December 18,2004.
We have also increased the maximum number of repeatable transactions from 50 to 104. This provides users with a convenient method to create weekly transactions for a full two years, for items such as bookings, booking requests, receipts, timebills/charges, project tasks, revenue recognition transactions, etc. When creating the item, click the Create/edit button for “Repeat [item]”. Select the frequency, interval and duration for the repeating item. The occurrences dropdown provides up to 104 repeats. .
3. Projects: Enhancements to task predecessors, baselines; other project enhancements.
On the Projects front, we have enhanced the functionality surrounding task predecessors in several ways. First, through the addition of new predecessor types, we now support the same range of dependencies between tasks as Microsoft Project does. This allows the project manager to sequence tasks in a variety of ways:
a). Finish-to-Start (FS). This means the succeeding task cannot start until the predecessor task is finished. OpenAir has always supported this type of predecessor relationship.
b). Start-to-Start (SS). The succeeding task cannot start until the predecessor task starts.
c). Finish-to-Finish (FF). The succeeding task cannot finish until the predecessor task finishes.
d). Start-to-Finish (SF). The succeeding task cannot finish until the predecessor task starts.
The system calculates the start and finish dates of tasks based on the predecessors selected, lag times, and predecessor type, number of hours planned, percentage of user time allocated, and user/company schedules.
Secondly, we have a new user interface for predecessors, so that predecessors, lag times and predecessor types can all be configured easily in one popup window. To create and configure predecessors, users navigate to the “Edit task” form. Click the Create/edit button for “Predecessors”. Select the predecessor tasks for the task being edited, the lag time (in days) and the type of predecessor for each.
The final enhancement to predecessors in this month’s release provides that when calculating lag times for predecessors, the system skips days that are non-work days according to the company or user schedule.
The baseline feature in Projects has also been enhanced this month. Baselines allow you to record the status of a project at one or more points in time and later compare the current status to an earlier version of the project plan. With this month’s release, you can display the baseline hours for each task in the project plan. This allows the project manager to compare hours currently planned to hours that were planned at some earlier point. To display the baseline hours, navigate to a particular project and select the “Outline” or “Edit tasks/phases” views. Click the “customize” link at the bottom of the page and add “Baseline”. By default, the system displays the last baseline created. However, there is an option to select an earlier baseline as the reporting baseline. To select an earlier baseline, users with the required role privileges go to Projects > [Select a project] > Baselines > [Select a baseline] > Edit. Check the “Reporting baseline” box and save.
A second enhancement lets you view the baseline start and end dates in the project task detail report. Navigate to Reports > Detail > Projects > Tasks. Configure the report layout to include “Baseline Calculated Start Date” and “Baseline Calculated End Date”, along with other fields as desired. Click OK. Select date ranges, filter if desired and run the report.
The final baseline enhancement this month allows you to edit planned hours in a baseline. Instead of creating multiple baselines, you can update one baseline and use that single baseline as the comparison. To utilize this feature, please contact OpenAir support to have it enabled for your account.
Other enhancements to the Projects module in this release include:
The ability to show booked hours (from the Resources or Projects module) on the project list. This allows a comparison between booked hours and hours planned, assigned, worked, billed, etc. Click the “Customize” link at the bottom of the project list and add “Hours - Booked”. Please contact OpenAir support to have this feature enabled.
Tasks can be automatically updated to 100% complete when marked closed. To activate this feature, please navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Projects options Check the box "Mark closed tasks 100% complete" and save.
When splitting a task, if only one user is assigned to the task, the blackout date calendar picker displays the calendar of the assigned user. An option to split tasks is available on the “Edit task” form.
4. Invoices: Additional invoice layout options; invoice approval process enhanced.
We have added a number of new invoice layout options this month. First is the ability to roll up timebills on the invoice by phase. To take advantage of this feature, administrators and users with the required privileges navigate to Invoices > Options > Invoice layouts. Select an existing layout to edit, or create a new layout. In the "Invoice groupings" section, select the desired columns, including "Phase” (be sure "Phase" is last in the "Selected Columns" list). Check the box to "Rollup TimeBills in the last group". Configure the remainder of the layout as desired and save. Charges on the invoice will be subtotaled at the phase level. Apply the layout to an invoice by selecting an invoice from the invoice list, and then clicking the Edit link. You can also associate the layout with a particular client by going to Account > Clients > [select a client] > Billing information. Select the desired layout and save. All invoices for this client will default to the selected layout.
The second new invoice layout option allows you to display negative values in red on the invoice, both in HTML and PDF views. This feature makes it easy for you and your clients to recognize credit values or balances on the invoice. This feature is activated on a per-layout basis. Select a layout, or create a new layout. In the "Other" section, check the box "Display negative numbers in red", and save. Associate an invoice with the layout, as described above.
A third invoice layout enhancement is the option to suppress the "from" address on the invoice. This feature, useful if you print your invoice on letterhead, is also found in the "Other" section of the invoice layout settings. Check the box to “Suppress the ‘From’ address" and save.
We have also added a switch permitting you to suppress the customer name on an invoice, if you are using a specific billing contact for the invoice. To activate this feature, please contact OpenAir support .
Other invoice enhancements in this month’s release:
If an invoice has a "from" address based on the invoice layout and this "from" address differs from the default "from" address entered in the Company demographic information, the client statement report displays the invoice-specific "from" address. The client statement report is accessed from Reports > Advanced > Invoices > Client statements.
During the invoice approval process, if an invoice is rejected, it can be re-submitted only by the original submitter.
5. Resources: Resources: Select default “book by” value; streamlined booking request “save and submit” feature; other resource enhancements.
We continue to add new features to the Resources module. This month, we have introduced the ability to select a default “book by” value. This allows the administrator to choose whether bookings and booking requests default to hours or percentage of a user’s time. The default operates unless a different value is otherwise implied (as for instance if a booking is being created from a booking request, or from the results of a custom availability search for a resource). The user creating the booking or booking request can, of course, override the default. To select the "book by" default value, administrators and users with the required role privilege navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Resources options.
A second new feature streamlines the booking request process, allowing users to save and submit a booking request in a single step. Previously, the booking request had to be saved, then modified to access the “Submit/approve” link. Now, on creating the booking request, the user is offered a new option to “Save and Submit/Approve”, bypassing the modify step.
Other enhancements to the Resource module this month include:
Resource managers can define booking request approvers for generic resources. This accommodates situations where the booking request approval process is configured to follow the requested resource. To select the booking request approver for a generic resource, users with the required privilege navigate to My Account > Account > Resources > Generic resources > [select a generic resource] > Edit.
The description from the booking request can be displayed in the booking request list view, by using the “customize” link at the bottom of the page.
6. Reports: Custom field subtotals; filter for saved reports list; other reporting enhancements.
Several reporting enhancements are introduced this month. We allow subtotaling of custom field values in summary reports under certain defined circumstances. There are three requirements for custom field subtotals:
a). The report must be one of the module-specific summary reports for Invoices, Expenses or Purchases modules.
b). The custom field must be of the type dropdown, radio button or dropdown/text.
c). The transactions reported on must be either timebills/charges, receipts or purchase items.
If the above requirements are met, the custom field will be presented as an option in the subtotal dropdowns of the report configuration. Hierarchies and PivotTables are also supported when custom field subtotaling is requested.
Also in reports, we have added an advanced filter to the saved reports list. For users who have a large number of saved reports, this feature provides a convenient way to organize the list, allowing the user to filter on the date the report was created or last modified, as well as the report owner, name or notes. The advanced filter is located above and to the left of the list of reports in Reports > Saved reports. To set up a filter, select "Create a new filter" from the drop-down list box. In the pop-up dialog box, name the filter; select the list column(s) you want to filter and parameter definition(s) from choices in the drop-downs. Multiple filters can be saved, and the user can easily select among them from the advanced filter dropdown to view a specific subset of saved reports.
Other reporting enhancements in December’s release:
In last month's release, we added new values for "Project billing amount" and "Project billing hours". This month, we add another new value for the "Project billing amount difference". The value is available in summary account-wide project reports. This value is calculated as the difference between the project billing transaction total and the timebill total. This permits a manager to view the difference between hours/income generated by billing rules in the projects module, and hours/income created as billable in the invoices module.
It is now possible to subtotal and add detail by booking in Resources Summary Reports, Advanced reports based on bookings, and relevant account-wide summary reports.
7. Other enhancements: Timesheets, Expenses, Workspaces.
Timesheets: Administrators can restrict the services/activities a user can choose, based on the project selected. This helps eliminate user error when entering data about time spent on projects. Please contact OpenAir support to have this feature enabled. Once enabled, on the project edit form, we present an option to limit the services that can be selected for this project on the timesheet. Similar options exist to limit the time types that are available on the timesheet by project or by project task.
Expenses: We added an option to display the project phase on the expense report. To take advantage of this option, an administrator or user with the required privilege navigates to Expenses > Options > Expense report layout. Select “ Phase” as one of the columns to be displayed on the expense report and save.
Also in the Expenses module, there are two new switches to allow administrator project approvers and/or project approvers to view all receipts in an envelope, even if they are only being asked to approve a subset of the total receipts. This overrides the customary behavior, which is to show project approvers and administrators only the receipts under approval at that particular stage of the approval process. Please contact OpenAir support to have either switch activated for your account.
Workspaces: We have separated the privilege of deleting all documents in a particular workspace from the privilege of downloading all documents. Previously, all users who could download all documents could also delete all documents. The privileges are now separately enabled at the role level. To add either permission to a role, please go to My Account > Account > Roles > [select a role]. There are two options in the Workspaces section to “Download all documents” and “Delete all documents”. The latter option is only available if you have asked OpenAir to activate bulk deletion for your account.
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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 +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.