Setting Up Subcontractor Resources in OpenAir

OpenAir uses an active user licensing approach that supports a wide range of permissions and data view controls. Knowing what you need your subcontractors to see and do vs. what they shouldn’t is key to role and filter set setup to limit access. A priority is to make sure your subcontractors do not see more than they should to do their job.

Setting Up Your Subcontractor’s User Accounts

There are two basic approaches to giving subcontractors access to your OpenAir system.

You can set up a full-service account for your Subcontractor. This means they are able to log in directly to OpenAir. Essentially, they are managed the same way as an employee.

The other approach is to give the vendor a general login. As an example, ABC company will have a single account and a single contact from the company that manages it.

The approach you use will depend on how you engage your subcontractors, whether it’s a company or an individual subcontractor.

A Basic Setup Versus an Advanced Setup

As you set up user accounts, you should have a way to identify the user account is an employee, subcontractor, intern, etc. A basic setup uses a drop-down custom field on the user demographic form to set the ‘user type’.

A more advanced setup uses an entity tag which gives you date control if the user account changes status such as employee to subcontractor, subcontractor to employee, and so on.

The Advanced/Entity Tag Approach

To enable the advanced approach, you need to go into optional features on the global setting page and enable the user tag feature option.

When enabled, a new administration option for setup called tag groups will show up in the global settings area. Tag groups are set up to have a list of active values which then mimic a drop-down field. For example, you could create a tag group called employment status and the three active values could be ‘not employed’, ‘employee’, or ‘subcontractor’.

To set a value on a user record, a new tab appears in the user account setup called user entity tag. This feature has two parts – a default or current value and a historical date range value. The historical date range allows you to enter the start and end date that applies to a specific value from the tag group while the default is what will apply outside of the designated date ranges.

The impact in using entity tags is primarily in reporting. When you filter on a tag group value, the date range of the report indexes into the tag group value to include or exclude the user based on the tag group value for that date/timeframe. Compare this to a custom drop-down field alone on a user record which will pull the user in based on the current value only and not consider any historical values.

Once your tagging is in place, you need to decide how much access the subcontractor will have to your system. This is why it pays to set up a role under subcontractor.

Key Values of the User Role

When deciding how much access your subcontractors should have to your OpenAir system, there are a few key factors to consider.

You need to decide if the subcontractor should be able to modify a report. If yes, will this give them access to reports and information that you do not want them to have?

Our suggestion is to share already created reports with them, but do not allow them to modify reports.

The same consideration must be given to giving subcontractors access to modify projects, even if just slightly. If not, that access can be turned off within the associated OpenAir role.

We also suggest you turn off access to view all timesheets as this could cause a privacy issue.

Filter sets are often referred to as booked/assigned and they’re usually self-view. At a minimum, a self-view filter set should be in place for subcontractors, so that they can only see themselves and only the projects to which they are booked or assigned.

Subcontractors can be set up to have a skill profile in the same way that employees can. If they have a regular user account, they can fill in a skill profile, but keep in mind the rules about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that may limit the information you’re allowed to store.

Giving Access to a Single Vendor Account

If you choose to handle vendor access by providing a single user account, then you must consider how best to capture the names of individuals provided by the vendor. This could be in a notes field on timesheets or using other drop-down fields such as time type or custom fields.

With a single user account, you may think this limits your ability to track skills and scheduling information for specific individuals staffed by the vendor. You can actually create generic users that represent the vendor resources for scheduling and skill profiles. The only limitation is the entry of time and expenses directly into OpenAir as this would still be controlled by the single user account.

OpenAir Supports Many Subcontractor Management Techniques

Subcontractors can provide extra skills that are needed for your project delivery and OpenAir has many features that support subcontractor management.

To learn more watch our video Subcontractor Management in OpenAir.

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