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Little Changes #7: Cash Flow Phasing

UniPhi Software, 17 Jul 2019

A simple but big improvement that we have made to the Cost module is for Cashflow Phasing. What we've brought into the product now is the ability to enter in percentages, so using these filters are very important when doing cashflow.

To highlight these changes we will go through cashflow phasing done against  contracts. This can be done against codes as well, but that can all be done within the cost module which was something we brought in in UniPhi 13.

In this screen, areas that are grayed out are actuals that have been closed. This screen will also present all the contract that now exist in the project you are working on and their deliverables.

What are you now able to do in the system, which may work more for consulting contracts than main works, is if you know that you have milestone claims that are going to be made and will be consistent across the deliverables, is you can now phase it out using percentages. This will also be a big thing for our practice management users as they've got their own revenue contracts that they then claim across all deliverables in one month.

To phase your cashflows by percentages, what you first need to do, is change the Unit drop-down from Currency to %, which is new in UniPhi 15.

Unit  Drop-Down - %
This means you can now key in percentages across the months as to what the claim value for that deliverable will be and automatically phase it across your claim period. For example if you if you know the claim value will be 20% for one month and the months after you simply enter 20% across that time period.

20% Phasing
 Once entered, hit save and the system will automatically calculate 20% of the $10 million to phase that information out.

Phased Variance
Then if you are happy with that being what is going to happen to all displayed deliverable, you can simply tick the box and select Fill Down. The tick boxes normally means that there are hidden buttons that are going to appear, which is something that came in in UniPhi 13 and alerts users to hidden functionality that can be selected when ticked.

Fill Down & Save
 The 20% will then come down into each code and once you click save, the cash flow of that contract will have automatically be phased.

20% Phased 
You can then revert the screen back into Currency and see the dollar values that are coming in on a month by month basis.

Unit Drop-down - Currency

Phased $ Value
This is just one of the cool little functions that we feel will be pretty popular in UniPhi 15 and may, in certain circumstances, sur-plant the auto-phase function that we enhanced in UniPhi 13.

 

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Little Changes: #6 Copy Paste Importing from Excel

UniPhi Software, 16 Jul 2019

A new import method we've been having a lot of fun with is the copying from Excel method. This was initially introduced in UniPhi 14 for updating cash flow and periodic custom fields and has now been expanded into 15.
The traditional import method has been the uploading of files, be they excel or csv to the system and then pressing save.
Import From Excel Function

Import From Excel Function - Browse File

The issue with this is that the result is a black box to the end user who has no idea whether the data has imported successfully or not. Even with good error handling the user is only ever presented with cell or row references of issues. The copy and paste function presents instant visual feedback to the end user. For those that missed this update in UniPhi 14, here's how cash flow phasing can be brought into the Cost Module.

To begin you simply need to go into the Phasing sub-navigation of the Cost module, select the relevant chart of accounts from the Cost Code drop down list and then Budget, Forecast or Actuals from the Phase drop down list (highlighted below). Note, Actual will only be available for project cost chart of accounts if accounting integration has been configured.

Phasing Cashflow Budgets

Then from an excel spreadsheet you can copy the data required - this data can be as ugly as you like as the system will just pick out the necessary bits from it. With the data copied, simply go to the paste from Excel screen.

Paste From Excel Button
Select forecast or budget from the Import drop down. This will already have Actuals that are being managed from the contracts.

Paste From Excel - Import Drop-Down

Depending on how you've configured the application you can then paste the values selected in from the excel cashflow into the budget.

UniPhi will then ignore columns that don't mean anything to the system and will match codes to pre-existing ones, for which you can have as many as you like. UniPhi will also match dates to the months and periods you are putting them into and if there is a gap in the data or something it can't match, it just won't highlight it.

For example in the image below, UniPhi has ignored columns 1, 2 and 3 and has matched the CF to the CF code within UniPhi. You can also see that the empty columns have been grayed out.

Data Pasted From Excel
The big red box it puts around something is the way in which the system tells you that an account code does not exist. In this exampled Total does not exist, but you can simply ignore that as it does not matter.

Additionally, if there is a typo, you can change it within the pasted function instead of having to go back to excel, update and then copy and paste again.

To finish, you simply tick the line that you want to bring in and click save. It will then automatically put the cashflow in the budget against the relevant codes for the months that you have highlighted.

Data to be Imported - Tick Box
Our benchmarking cashflow is based off the actuals of past projects, so if you've got that data and those profiles, you can quickly get them into the system using this paste from excel function. It's a quick way to get data uptake and portfolios of cashflows into the system that we hope will be useful for our users.

In UniPhi 15, this copy past functionality has been expanded to include resources.

The copy and paste functionality for resources uses the following workflow:

1) Go into Resources and ensure All Projects is selected or the Paste from Excel button won't appear.
Resource Module - All Projects

2) Copy the relevant Resource data from your excel file
Excel Resource File - Copy Data

3) Click the Paste From Excel button
Paste From Excel Button

4) Paste data into UniPhi. Any unrecognized data will be highlighted in grey.
Data Pasted From Excel

5) For unrecognized data you can map the column by selecting a UniPhi related field from the drop down box
Resource Filter Drop-down Box - Select Contact Name
 6) Map all the columns to the relevant fields and tick the lines of data you want to import. Any data left in grey will be ignored when imported.
Filter Categories - Drop Down Lists

7) When happy with your selection, click Save.
Save Button
8) Your resource data will now have been automatically brought into UniPhi!

The next big improvement that we have made is in the Cost Module will be released tomorrow so check back in to find out what that is!

 

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Little Changes #5: Risks

UniPhi Software, 12 Jul 2019

Two modules of UniPhi that didn't get any major updates in UniPhi 15 are Issues and Risks. The Issues module is a stable module with little request for change from end users. Risks received a major overhaul as part of Uniphi 10 and 14. As a consequence here have been a couple of small legacy issues that have spilled over and have now been fixed in UniPhi 15.

Changes to Filtering

Issue number one was fixing the fact that originally our risk dashboard, which was built in 2007, didn't have the concept of a treated and an untreated risk level - it just had the one level. You simply rated your risks likelihood, consequence and a level so where you now see two columns, Untreated and Treated, you would only seen one.

Risk Dashboard - Untreated & Treated Columns
We expanded this into two columns 5 years ago in UniPhi 10 but what we didn't do was allow for both Treated and Untreated level filtering - just treated. Now, with UniPhi 15, the change we've made is that we have added an Untreated filter.

Untreated Filter
With this new addition you can now, for example, filter for very high on untreated and something else for treated and generate a subset of your risk management plan and risk framework.

Filter Drop-Downs

Changes to Reports

Just like in the dashboards, Risk Reports were missing some filters as well. In UniPhi 15, we have added status filters and escalation filters to the Risk Management Plan Report.

New Report Filters

You can now filter out the relevant statuses in the Risk Report that will then come into it when you run that Risk Management Plan.

Status Filter

Escalate to Filter

So hopefully a couple of frustrations reported by users have now gone away...bring on the next load.

 

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Little Changes #4 - PCG Template Controls

UniPhi Software, 11 Jul 2019

The fourth little change we've made to the usability of UniPhi is some small tweaks to the template controls. These changes are only accessible by those who have a System Administrator license but do have impact on the end-user - so this can be handy for users to know what your system admin can do for you!

For those who don't know, template controls are the things that we use to create the steps in the document templates that you may have seen in Part I and Part II of the little changes to Documents.

Template Steps

These templates are created by your organisation's system administrator who has a selection of optional controls that enable them to bring information into the document in order to automatically generate content. This ensure a level of consistency and quality every time a team members creates any type of document and allows for the dynamic creation of content based on information stored elsewhere in the system.

Changes to PCG Reports

The small changes that we have made to template controls can be seen when creating a PCG report. This report has been around for a while but now we have added some tweaks to some of the information that is in there.

One of the requirements clients have when using this template is to be able to compare one report to the next. This latest tweak allows this for the template controls highlighted below: Financial Year v Budget, Contracted Costs, Cash Flow -  Table and Cash Flow (Graph).

Template Changes

Changes to Financial Year v Budget

The financial year based report looks at month by month and year to date data. It displays data for the month selected by the user (in this case: June), Year to Date and Total for this financial year as it exists in the system now.

Cost Columns
Though now, due to this feedback, what we have done is incorporate that this data with the ability to compare it with previous PCG reports. This data comes into the Variance Last Forecast (VLF) column highlighted below.

VLF Column

The VLF column looks up what was reported in previous PCG Reports (in this example: PCG Repor 2), which is selected from the new "Last Forecast Document" drop-down.

Previous PCG Reports Drop-Down List
This drop-down allows you to select any relevant report previously issued and to then compare any changes to the latest report. These differences are displayed in the VLF column for users who can then comment on and demonstrate it to clients. This concept has also been included in the whole of project cost report.

Drop-Down - Select Report to Compare

Changes to Cash Flow - Table

Cash Flow - Table shows the month by month phasing of a project over time. One of the things we noticed in this area is that when we were doing month by month phasing on a program basis, this table didn't provide the complete program data just discreet projects' cash flow. to solve this problem we have now incorporated what we call portfolio mode. This mode allows you to select all projects that relate to a particular meta-data type, displayed in the highlighted section below. This could be Sector, Parent-Child relationship (Project Type).

Project Meta-Data Type

If you select a parent project from the "Project" drop-down this will then consolidate all the cash flows that exist in the children projects and the parent project into this view. This will then match with the next step which is cash flow graph.

Parent Drop-Down List (Mirvac Program)


Changes to Cash Flow (Graph)

In this step we have made it possible to now select the same Parent project as the previous step, and then have the S-curve graph display the same data as what was in the previous table.

Cash Flow (Graph) - Mirvac Program S Curve Graph
This has enhanced the ability to do portfolio aggregation across multiple projects both in the graph and in the table which is a new ability now available in UniPhi 15.

 

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Little Changes #3: Documents Part II

UniPhi Software, 10 Jul 2019

Yesterday's post on Documents Part I was all about changes to document naming conventions and how template information is displayed to users who are creating documents.

Part II focuses on what information is displayed to non UniPhi users who don't have access to the systems and how information can be hidden from them but used by licensed users.

In UniPhi, it is possible to hide steps in a document. There can be many reasons for this but one would be to have a link to an issue that has been logged in the system from being seen by a non-licensed user. Currently, if a step is hidden, it can't be seen by any user, this meant that links to issues were not hidden and were sent as part of the document body to non-licensed users. The receipients of the document don't have access to issues linked into that document and this can lead to confusion when they click on links that lead them nowhere.

For example, in UniPhi 14, when creating a document such as a variation order, all issues, emails and documents that had been around since this variation came up could be linked to the document. This is due to the variation order being the last the last step in the entire process once everything has been thoroughly scoped out. Internal users could select and view the included issues, however external contractors could see the reference link but not access and view what these issues were about.

Now in UniPhi 15, a "Hide Output" checkbox, which is automatically ticked as part of the template,  hides any links from the final PDF documents that are sent to external parties. 

Hide Output Checkbox

This helps avoid any future confusion created whilst generating the document and when the document is finalized and created, the way that information is shared is two-fold.

First, if you have access to UniPhi, you can access document information by just viewing the document as html in your browser. From this view you can "'Show Hidden" fields to view the internal references, as well as mask them once done.

Contract Variation with Fields Hidden
Contract Variation with Hidden Fields Shown
From there you can sign it off, email it and send the document to the contractor. Once emailed, it will be sent as a PDF with your company letterhead and so what we've done in UniPhi 15, is take advantage of this difference.

When rendered to PDF those internal references won't be there so that people who don't have access to UniPhi won't be confused by links they can't view.

Variation Order as a PDF

This means people with access to UniPhi can see the whole audit trail around that particular issues and the emails that have come and gone over time, but those who don't won't see those internal references but will still receive the document instructing them on what to do. 

 

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