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UniPhi Blog

UniPhi 17 is Live!

UniPhi Software, 05 Jul 2021

With our first round of clients upgraded over the weekend, UniPhi17 is now a production release! 

This new version has two main aspects, a complete re-write of our contracts module and the implementation of embedded charts throughout the application. Why were these two elements our investment focus? 

Contracts module 


The contracts module is the fourth most intensive data capture area of UniPhi, after timesheets, issues and  documents. What's more the data is numbers heavy as it is used to track the adjusted contract value and progress invoicing across all purchases within a business or for a program of works. Feedback from clients was that while it was a lifesaver in terms of tracking all the adjustments that need to be administered to an original contract, data entry was slow and clunky. So we decided we'd respond with a focus on quicker data entry, easier re-formatting and the ability to build and manage larger and larger contract values.

Additional features for contracts while we're at it 

Earned Value

As we were investing in this module, we decided some new features were in order as well. For a while now we're been supporting clients track earned value at a project level but our engineering clients wanted more. They battle to track performance against deliverables during design, building complex spreadsheets that are hard to maintain with actual data in an attempt to do so. Again, we felt responsible for delivering something more and so, we introduced earned values for contract deliverables. Three new screens were essential for supporting this: An earned value screen to measure progress via a stage gate methodology, comment threads against contract deliverables to validate the earned value claim and an effort schedule that provides a baseline at the WBS level for planned performance. 

 
Earned value webinar

Charts - In 2018 we released as part of UniPhi 14 a direct integration with Power BI and an embedded Power BI product that allows you to publish your own charts within the application, however, there are two issues with this: You need to have internal capability to build the dashboards and you can only view them in the embedded dashboard page. We wanted to support all our clients plus be able to give instant visual feedback to our users when they change budgets, add issues or risks, commit contracts and submit timesheets. These charts have generated significant interest from our user base and we plan to leverage this concept with more and more charts supported by drag and drop selection for users to get the visual that means most to them right where they need it.


 

The full webinar series for UniPhi 17 is in a playlist on YouTube.

So, if any of this has piqued your interest, give us a call or register for a demo. We'd love to show you our biggest and best release in years.

 


 

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UniPhi 17 - New scheduling sub module for cash flow and effort

UniPhi Software, 05 Jul 2021

UniPhi 17 has split out the phasing of a contracts deliverables into two. In prior versions, a user could cash flow a contract by scheduling the deliverables and then using linear monthly phasing across those dates to drive when the forecast of when invoices will be raised. This then consolidates across the portfolio of projects to generate a corporate cash flow profile that can be sliced into states, sectors or any other portfolio subset imaginable.

UniPhi 17 expands this functionality considerably by adding an additional "effort" phasing screen and expanding the phasing algorithms to include other linear methods (i.e. quarterly, half year and yearly) as well as a standard "s" curve for main building contracts.

New effort view for contract schedule


The effort screen is only available for revenue contracts and only when you have developed your contract values from a bottom up estimate of task and assignment. By assigning resources to tasks and phasing out the effort, the end user instantly has a baseline earned value profile for that project. Note we can then cash flow at a higher level for milestone claims and as these don't represent the effort profile, both are catered for.

Feedback to the end user is presented in the form of total contract hours estimated, current actual hours and forecast remaining. Updated schedules push out the remaining hours only.

A baseline function enables users to compare current forecast to the original profile and also is the trigger for the budgeted cost of work scheduled when assessing earned value on the deliverable.

Finally, the hours phased in the contract screen push to the resource planning module to provide a bottom up cumulative effort profile for each person on the project, enabling a virtuous circle from proposal estimate to project management to timesheets to invoicing to cash flow to profitability to resource planning and back to estimating at completion costs.

This to our knowledge, is the only system in the world capable of doing this.

 

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UniPhi 17 - New invoice sub-nav

UniPhi Software, 29 Jun 2021

UniPhi 17 simplifies various contract screens by moving components into their own sub-navigation. Included in this is the summary screen which displays summary information about the contract

Contract summary 

The edit details screen

Edit contract details 

The value screen which we have covered in several blog posts on UniPhi 17

Contract value screen The schedule screen which is the topic of our next blog post.

Contract schedule screen

And the Invoice screen which we're covering today. 

Contract invoice screen

Believe it or not, in UniPhi 16, all of this information was captured in the one screen!

Breaking these components (which are utilised at different stages of a projects life and by different users) has allowed for enhanced the features available. My personal favourite in the invoice screen is the "incomplete" filter that allows you to remove from view all line items that have been invoiced to 100%. This has made invoicing for our complex projects significantly simpler.

Recommendation view for progress recommendations

The recommendation view is a QS dream (actually not quite, we still need to incorporate the ability to add custom fields to this screen - The 20 columns there currently just aren't quite enough).

The colour coding represents the relevant sections of the recommendation including value, contractors claim, the QS assessment and reasons for variances to contractors assessment.

Instead of having all related templates for the contract in a panel in that one monster screen referenced earlier, each sub-nav has a new documents action button that contextualises the template list to that section of the system . For example, clicking new document in the cost contracts invoice screen presents you with the progress payment templates list:

Contextual templates 

Time in motion studies and our own assessment of time for month end invoicing has demonstrated these changes can save 50% over UniPhi 16 when preparing and processing invoices. 

 

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UniPhi 17 - Drag and drop style ordering of WBS

UniPhi Software, 29 Jun 2021

UniPhi 17 has a completely new structure to its contracts module and included in this is 'n' levels WBS. This new 'n' level structure has a host of additional features to assist in laying out your structure including:

  1. Free data entry (no more clunky add buttons)
  2. Indent and out-dent to capture the levels
  3. Drill in to focus on one level and one deliverable tree at a time
  4. And today's blog entry, the drag and drop re-ordering 

Unfortunately us humans do make mistakes and most of the above is there to assist in fixing mistakes more than it is to establish the structure in the first place. Before UniPhi 17, a user would use numbering to re-order. This became frustrating when you wanted to move a deliverable to the middle of the list.

Old re-ordering 

As the above list shows, if I wanted to move line 15 to line 9 I'd have to do a fair bit of work.

Now, a user can do the same thing in less than a second by simply dragging the deliverable to where they want it to be using the symbol .


This simple change will save users considerable time in managing the structure of their contracts.

 

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UniPhi 17 - Copy paste from Excel for contract WBS, progress claim valuations, resourcing and cash flow

UniPhi Software, 07 Jun 2021

In UniPhi 15, we created a new methodology for pulling information from Microsoft Excel. Traditionally we would provide users the ability to upload an excel file to import a budget, cash flow or resources. This worked well if the Excel file was formatted. If it wasn't, providing feedback to the end user was incredibly difficult and even sometimes when it was, the result was not what the user expected (which meeting user expectations is kind of a big deal).

Column mappings interface for WBS paste from MS Excel

So in UniPhi 15, we created our first copy paste function for importing resources. This has expanded over time and now in UniPhi 17, will include contract deliverables, contract cash flow phasing, effort phasing and progress claim valuations.

No matter now many columns and what those columns are called in Excel, the data can be pasted into UniPhi and mapped to the relevant field. So in the above screenshot, you can see that some crazy column headings from Excel have been mapped to their relevant UniPhi field name.

One of the key action buttons in the graphic above is the validate button. Once the fields are mapped, the user can click "Validate" and UniPhi will check all the data and instantly display errors before you try to import the data.

Data validation step









Once a user is happy and there's no validation errors, click Import and in this instance your contract deliverables have been created.

 

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