OpenAir Techniques for Forecasting Resource Utilization and Reporting

NetSuite OpenAir
ReportingUtilization

Resource utilization is a common measure in all professional services organizations. It’s a measure of productivity and of your people as assets in delivering services.

Utilization can be described as a basic equation: how much have you worked and how much time do you have available to work. The numerator of the equation is the measure of hours by category to drive the reporting value. The denominator is the hours of availability, based on the companies metric definition.

For many companies, the numerator measures the amount of time considered billable to a customer while the available hours for delivery focuses on the work week. As an example, a consultant expected to work 40 hours a week and 30 hours of billable work are entered on a timesheet, the utilization measure is 30 hours / 40 hours or 75%.

Under the Advanced Report tab in the Reports module of OpenAir, you will find some standard utilization reports. The historical utilization report will give you your actuals and the booked utilization or assigned utilization reports will give you your forecast utilization.

Another standard reporting options can be found under the Summary or Cross-tabbed User Summary report which provide options to configure the utilization equation as part of the report definition.

Non-standard Values for Denominator Configuration

Creating your own custom calculation values gives you the freedom to include utilization on many different kinds of reports. The reports configured can be setup to support graphs, dashboards and executive reports, among other consumables.

Custom calculations allow you to define your own reporting values. If your work schedule or base work schedule is not granular enough for your needs, you can expand it to take other type of hours into account. The denominator typically represents ‘how many hours am I paying you for and what percentage of those hours do I expect you to be billable? ‘

Some companies focus on full work weeks, others focus on the work week minus standard company holidays. and yet other subtract out expected non-billable hours like training time, vacations, and more to get a final billable hour denominator.

Non-standard Values for Numerator Configuration

While the standard reports allow you to include a single set of hours filtered to represent a single reporting utilization value, many companies measure different types of utilization so a custom calculation is more appropriate to report on multiple values.

A number of category tags are considered when creating custom calculated numerators including: Task Type on project tasks and Time Type on timesheet entries. The difference between task type inside the task and time type on the timesheet boils down to who makes the decision that something is billable or not. If the consultant determines how time is categorized, use time type on timesheets. If the project owner decides, task type is typically used.

Set up numerator utilization reporting values with custom calculations filtered by one of these categories.

The Numerator and Denominator Equation

Once you have the numerator and the denominator, you can create your percentage reporting value. However, your percentage number doesn’t mean a great deal if it is taken out of context.

If someone runs a report with 86 as a percentage, for example, this can be a great figure if their target was 75 or a bad figure if their target utilization percentage was 100.

OpenAir has a target utilization feature found in the optional features of OpenAir (Administration–>Global Settings) This feature provide another set of standard reporting values including target hours and base target hours.

In this way, you can compare your custom calculations of billable utilization or hours to your target hours, and this will tell you what your percentage number actually means. From there, set up self-service utilization dashboards for your team.

The Sky is the Limit

The utilization calculation options in OpenAir are very flexible. Everything is configurable. The key is to understand how you are tagging the data and what metric you are measuring against.

What do you want the reports and dashboards to tell you? How will this information help you to make decisions moving forward?

Make sure the dashboards are clearly laid out so you’re able to interpret the information very quickly without having to dig through numbers on a report to get to what you need.

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