Product Update

October 29, 2005

1. Projects: Specify user loaded costs at project or task level; other Projects enhancements.

2. Reports: Filter on custom fields; report on role privileges; other Reporting features.

3. Administrative: Approval process enhancements; password validation bypass for new user setup; other Administrative features.

4. Invoices: Create invoices by task; other Invoice features.

5. Other module enhancements: Expenses, Workspaces, Resources, Account-wide.

6. Would you like to see previous OpenAir product updates?

7. Suggestions, problems or questions?

1. Projects: Specify user loaded costs at project or task level; other Projects enhancements

OpenAir administrators can associate users with an hourly loaded cost rate, allowing managers to analyze project financials and profitability, and to run summary reports on the labor costs associated with timesheet hours. Up to this point, the loaded cost rate associated with a particular user was the same across all projects and tasks. With this release, we have added the ability to specify a loaded cost rate for each user at the project and task level. To enable either project or task loaded cost for users, please contact OpenAir support. Here is how the feature works:

The default hourly cost rate for a user is entered in My Account > Account > Account data > Users > [select a user ID] > Cost. Enter the current hourly loaded cost rate; loaded cost rates for prior periods can be entered as historical costs, with relevant date ranges.

Project-specific loaded costs for users are entered in the “Edit project form”. From the Projects module, navigate to Projects > [select a project] > Edit project > Loaded hourly cost.

Task-specific loaded costs are entered in the “Edit task” form. From the project outline view, click on a task and go to the “Assignments” section of the “Edit task” form.

When the loaded cost is calculated (either actual historical costs or projected costs), the system looks for the hourly rate in the following order: the task loaded cost, the project loaded cost, the historical loaded cost, the current loaded cost. It uses the first match it finds for the rate and then multiplies that rate by the relevant hours (depending on which report or view is being accessed).

A few other notes on this new feature:

    • To edit the project or task loaded cost rates, the user needs to have role privileges to edit user loaded costs.

    • The project and task detail reports have a field (called “Loaded cost Over-ride”) in the report layout options to display hourly cost over-ride rates.

    • Projected task costs now use the hourly loaded cost rate in effect as of the actual assignment date; previously, there was a company setting to select project start date, task start date or current hourly loaded cost as the effective date. The projected costs can be displayed on the project list view or the outline view for a particular project.

    • The “incurred vs. forecast” revenue recognition rule also now uses the assignment date to determine the effective loaded cost; previously, the rate in effect at the project start date was used.

    • If you are creating a project from another project, a checkbox on the “New project” form will allow the duplication of the loaded hourly costs from the original project.

    • If a task is copied or moved, the task-specific loaded hourly costs are copied/moved with it.

    • In multi-currency accounts, for both project and task loaded cost over-rides, the project currency is always used.

    • For accounts that use the project pricing feature, the option to "Calculate loaded cost for project pricing on a daily basis” is automatically turned on if project-level or task-level loaded costs are enabled.

    • Please note that if you are using the scrolling picker feature for task assignment, the loaded cost over-ride option will not appear on the task edit form.

Other enhancements to the Projects module this month include:

    • Guest users can be given access to the Gantt chart for a project, without being given access to task details. When creating a guest role, there is a new option: "Guest can view task details in the Gantt/outline views". If unchecked, the guest user will see the Gantt chart, but not the links to details of the tasks. For more information on configuring guest users and roles, please see the online help for the My Account module (My Account > Help > Account tab > Roles > Guest settings).

    • The project owner is now the user associated with timebills and transactions generated by fixed fee billing and recognition rules.

    • Bookings can be imported from a spreadsheet into the project booking grid. For more information on the project booking grid, or to enable the new feature to permit import into the project booking grid via a spreadsheet, please contact OpenAir support.


2. Reports: Filter on custom fields; report on role privileges; other Reporting features.

OpenAir has extended reporting options to include filtering on certain types of custom fields. Custom fields of type "Checkbox", "Dropdown", "Dropdown/Text" and "Radio" are now candidates for filtering in summary and detail reports. The values available for filtering in reports are those appearing in the custom field's controlled vocabulary (or value list). In addition "No customfield" is an option on the filter list for all but checkbox-type custom fields. This enables managers, for example, to run a report on "All booked hours", while filtering the data based on the value in a dropdown field relating to the users who have been booked. Filtering by a value in the custom field's controlled vocabulary will limit the transactions to those whose users have that value. For more information on setting up custom fields, please see the online help in My Account > Help > Company tab > Custom fields.

We have also added a new feature that lets administrators report on which privileges are enabled for each role in your OpenAir account. This can be very valuable in dealing with regulatory compliance questions, such as might be involved in a Sarbanes-Oxley audit, for example. To create a report that displays role privileges, users with the required permissions can navigate to Reports > Detail > Account-wide >Roles. Configure the report layout to include the new “Privileges” field, as well as the role name, the assigned users and date created. You can filter the report on specific roles, or run it for all roles. Configure the remaining report settings as desired and run the report. The results list all the privileges in each role you have chosen to report on. The privilege is pre-pended with the group name under which it appears in the role definition form.

Other reporting enhancements in this release include:

    • We have added a new value to project reports called "Work in progress (WIP) - Inception-to-date". This value comes from the financial analysis report calculations. WIP is calculated as the difference between recognized revenue and amount billed. The value is available in the detail report on projects, or as a detail field on project when running summary reports.

    • If a user has the role privileges to view (but not run) project billing, s/he can now drill down to the detail level from the pending billings report. Previously, such users were limited to the project billing summary, showing only the total pending billing amount and the number of pending billing transactions. With this new feature, users are enabled to view the details of the individual pending billing transactions. Please see Reports > Advanced > Projects > Pending billing.

    • The audit trail field in the approval process detail report now includes changes made to the rules in a particular approval process. Please see Reports > Detail > Account-wide > Approval processes; include the “Audit trail” in the report layout.

    • There is a new report to show values that are missing from the list of options in various custom fields. Please see Reports > Advanced > Account-wide > Custom field value omissions report. This lists any values in use for controlled vocabulary custom fields where the value is not in the controlled vocabulary. This can be executed for any dropdown and radio type custom field. It can be helpful when records are being imported/updated by OpenAir’s Integration Manager tool, to make sure that only valid custom field values are being used.

    • There is an option in Reports > Detail > Projects, to show approved request items and fulfilled purchase items from the Purchases module. Please contact OpenAir support to have this feature enabled.

    • The “Drill down” tab in Reports can be turned off. Drill down reports were implemented as a way to report on timebills, expenses, timesheets and other data by hierarchy. The same information that can be accessed via the drill down reports is now available through summary reports in a much more flexible format. To remove the “Drill down” tab, administrators can navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Reporting options. Check the box “Hide the 'Drill down' reports tab” and save.


3. Administrative: Approval process enhancements; password validation bypass for new user setup; other Administrative features.

OpenAir approval processes now support an either/or option. This can help to streamline approvals across all modules. To utilize this feature, please go to My Account > Account > Timesheets (or Expenses or Invoices) > Approval processes. Create a new approval process or modify an existing one. Check the box "A sequence number requires only one approval". If this option is checked, any one approval creates an automatic approval for any other approvers with the same sequence number.

This means that if you have an approval process with three people, all with the same sequence number, and one person of the three approves, the other users will not be required to approve the timesheet (or expense, invoice, etc.). The other two approvals will happen automatically.

The password validation option is one of OpenAir’s many security features. Administrators can require passwords of a minimum length, that include both alpha and numeric characters, or that do not match the user’s ID. There is also an option to force users to change a password that does not meet the requirements before logging in. With this month’s release, we have added a switch to let administrators bypass password validation when creating new users. This bypass feature eases the administrative task of setting up new users. If the bypass switch is set, when you create a new user, or edit a user that has not logged in yet, there is no password validation performed. This allows an administrator to set the password equal to the new user’s user ID, or to some other invalid password, while still requiring the new user to change the invalid password to a valid one. To set password requirements, administrators can navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Password options. To enable the new bypass feature, check the box "Allow any password when editing new users" and save.

Other Administrative features in this release include:

    • All email fields have been increased from 200 characters to 255 characters. Multiple email addresses, separated by a space, can be entered in email fields, up to the new 255 character limit.

    • The ability to modify form permissions was introduced last month and has been extended with this release to the “Edit timesheet” form. This feature can be used to restrict a user’s ability to mark his/her own timesheets as “archived”, for example. To modify the form permissions to make the archive status read-only, administrators and users with the required role privileges navigate to Timesheets > Timesheets > Approved > [select a timesheet] > Edit timesheet. Click the link in the hints below the form to “modify the form permissions”. A window will pop up with all the roles (except the "Administrator" role) in your account listed across the top. Down the left-hand side of the window will be listed all the fields in the "Edit Timesheet" form that can be modified, one field per row. To the right of “Archive this timesheet”, check the box for each role where you want the users to have read-only access to this field.


4. Invoices: Create invoices by task; other Invoice features.

When creating invoices in OpenAir, it is now possible to filter the list of timebills by project task. This enables billing managers to create invoices for timebills related to a particular subset of tasks for a project. To take advantage of this feature, please go to Invoices > Invoices > Create an invoice. Click the “customize” link at the bottom of the screen. Add “Task” to the list of selected items. Filter the timebill list on a single task and proceed to create the invoice. To include multiple tasks, use the advanced filter, above and to the left of the timebill list on the invoice create screen. The advanced filter is labeled “Select the Timebills to invoice”. For details on setting up an advanced filter, please see the online help in My Account > Help > Shared OpenAir features > Sorting and filtering > Advanced filtering.

Projects can be assigned a billing code, and this code can be used when creating invoices in bulk. This is an extension of the feature that lets you assign a billing code at the client level to be used in invoicing. To assign a project billing code, navigate to the “Edit project” form. Enter the billing code in the field provided and save. To use the billing code when generating invoices, navigate to Invoices > Invoices > Create multiple invoices. Enter one or more billing codes to limit the customers and projects you wish to invoice. Use a space between multiple billing codes. Configure the other options for the invoice run (timebill date range, date for the invoices to be generated, whether to create separate invoices for each user, project, etc.). Click Continue. Use the checkboxes provided to select the invoices to create and click “Create the invoices”. For more information on using the multiple invoice feature, please see the online help in Invoices > Help > Invoices tab > Create multiple invoices.

The internal company switches "One customer PO per invoice" and "One agreement per invoice" will enforce the stated restriction when creating individual or bulk invoices, and when editing or adding timebills to an invoice. Please contact OpenAir support to have the switches enabled, or for more information on Customer PO's or Agreements.


5. Other module enhancements: Expenses, Workspaces, Resources, Account-wide.

In the Expenses module, the Amex import wizard now has a checkbox to try to use an existing open envelope when importing expenses. Previously, the wizard always created a new expense envelope, even if the user had an open envelope available. Administrators and users with the required privileges access the Amex import wizard from Dashboard > Overview > Wizards. For more information on the Amex import feature, please see the online help for the My Account module > Dashboard tab > Wizards > American Express Import wizard.

In Workspaces, there are a few new features in this release:

    • An option to keep customers synchronized with workspaces. This feature assures that any user who is booked or assigned to any project for a particular client will automatically become a member of the related workspaces for that client. To activate this feature, two switches need to be turned on:

1. In My Account > Company > Settings > Projects options, check the box "Enable workspace member synchronization".

2. In My Account > Account > Clients > [select a client]> Demographic, check the box "Synchronize the workspace members". With this option checked, rather than synchronizing workspace memberships for one project with a particular workspace, you can sync a group of projects, defined by the customer.

    • When new members are added to a workspace, they do not automatically receive workspace alerts. Previously, all users received alerts unless explicitly removed. With the new feature, workspace members will not receive alerts unless explicitly added in the Alerts dialog of a particular workspace.

    • When a project is activated/inactivated, linked workspaces will be marked open/closed automatically.

In the Resources module, we have enhanced the email notification for bookings to include the booking type, if there is one.

Across all modules, we have enhanced the bulk action feature. This feature is available on many list views throughout the application, by clicking the “customize” link at the bottom of the page and adding “Run an action” to the list of selected values. The bulk action feature allows you to select items from the list by checking the box in the “run an action” column, and then to perform a bulk action (such as delete, deactivate, modify, create PDF documents, etc.) against those selected items by clicking the circling arrows icon. With this release, we have made the default selection “No action” but only if there is more than one possible action, or if “delete” is the only available option. This will streamline the bulk action feature, while still helping to ensure that items are not deleted in bulk accidentally.


6. Would you like to see previous OpenAir product 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 +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.


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