What’s New in Empire SUITE?


Date: February 2018


Summary:

    We’ve added the following new features in this release:

Empire RESOURCE to Microsoft Outlook Calendar Automation


Empire RESOURCE customers now have the option to download assignments automatically into user Microsoft Outlook calendars. The automation is available for Exchange 2010 and later, as well as Office 365 environments. Please contact WSG if you are interested in adding this capability to your toolkit.


Copy Resource


We’ve added the ability to copy a project’s resource schedule from one period to another. Select Copy Resource from the Project Dashboard page:

Figure 1 – Copy Resource Project Dashboard


You can also select Copy Resource from the Project Main Details page:

Figure 2 – Copy Resource Project Main Details


Use the Copy Resource Information page to select the project or projects and to define how the assignments should be copied:

Figure 3 – Copy Resource Information


•   Search – Use the Search option to select the desired projects using your standard project search attributes such as status, name, office, department and      Additional Information (Custom) fields:

Figure 4 – Project Search


•   Copy From – Use these settings to define what and how you want to use the Copy feature

    ♦   You can copy the resource plan using either scheduled hours or actual time by selecting either Actuals or Scheduled
    ♦   Use the FromFrom and to calendar controls to set the desired copy range. Your copy range can be as small as a single day or can be multiple years if desired.
    ♦   Use the Minimum Hours Per Day field to ignore either actual or scheduled amounts below your desired threshold. This can be useful if you’re using Actuals and
         don’t want to copy small amounts of time from random resources you would prefer not to include in the proposed schedule.

    ♦   The Multiply Hours control can be used to modify the amount of either actual or scheduled hours copied.
    ♦   The Shift control determines how far in advance the selected range is copied in either Weeks or Days. Please note the Shift can be a negative number.
    ♦   The Employees Terminated As Of Current Date combo box let you decide how to treat actuals or scheduled hours for terminated employees.
         You can select any of the following options:

  • Do Not Copy
  • Copy Employee
  • Copy as Staff Level
    ♦   The Active Employees combo box lets you decide how to treat actuals or scheduled hours for your active employees.
         You can select either of the following options:

  • Do Employee
  • Copy as Staff Level
    ♦   If you are copying Scheduled hours, use the Include Tentative Assignments for Schedule checkbox to include or exclude any tentative assignments
         occurring during your selected From and To date range

    ♦   Finally, use the Copy radio buttons to determine the created assignment status:

  • Tentative
  • Approved
  • As Is, meaning Tentative assignments will be created as Tentative and Approved assignments will be created as Approved

When the desired settings are configured, click Copy Data to copy the resource schedule. Click Close when finished to return to either the Project Dashboard or Project Main Details page.

New Reporting Permissions and BI Reporting Functionality


We’ve made some changes to how Empire REPORTS are accessed and we’ve added some additional reporting functionality.


Security Permissions by Report

Along with adding a new Reports permission group to the Edit Permissions page, we’ve added a separate security permission for each report. Go to Administration \ Company \ Edit Permissions:

Figure 5 – Reports Permissions


When you click the Reports link in the tool bar, you’ll launch the standard Empire REPORTS page, with links to all of the standard reports enabled for your user based on the permissions defined for your role:

Figure 6 – Standard Empire Reports


Access to BI Reports

If your tenant has been configured to allow access to our new Business Intelligence based reporting capability, you’ll have an Access to BI Reports permission included in the Reports permission group. If you’d like to enable this feature, please contact WSG so we can make the necessary database updates for your tenant.


If you don’t have the BI Reports database setting enabled for your tenant, you won’t see the Access to BI Reports permission in the Reports permission group.


Changes in Reports Behavior with BI Reporting Enabled

When BI Reporting is enabled for your tenant, users with the Access to BI Reports permission will see a different page when they launch Empire REPORTS:

Figure 7 – BI Reports Enabled


Click the Standard Reports link to view the standard Empire REPORTS.


BI Reporting

WSG has incorporated business intelligence (BI) reporting tools into our reporting solution. The tools are seamlessly integrated and embedded in our cloud version and allows WSG to produce custom ad hoc reports and dashboards, as well as data analytics using drag and drop.


Use Report Search to find a report using a keyword such as Time or Expense. For example, if you click Report Search and use Time as a search variable, note the list of reports and the report count changes to only those reports with Time in the report title:

Figure 8 – Report Search


The Recently Used link will display a list of the last 10 BI Reports you’ve run:

Figure 9 – Recently Used


The New link displays a list of recently added reports and views:

Figure 10 – New Reports


The Time and Expense link displays a list of time and expense reports ranging from lists of users entering reports to compliance reports, including graphics:

Figure 11 – Time and Expense Reports


The Project link displays a list project-based reports:

Figure 12 – Project Reports


The Employee link displays a list of employee-based reports:

Figure 14 – Employee Reports


How the BI Reports Work

Depending on the type of report, each BI report will use up to three (3) different reporting elements to determine the report content. For example, if you select the Time Extract – project search, employee search and date range report from the Time and Expense group, you’ll see the following links to customize the report content by project, employee and date range:

Figure 15 – Report Content Selection


The report will display based on your client/project, employee and date range selections:

Figure 16 – Sample Report Results


Once the report results are returned, you’ll see fields with additional filtering options to further refine and customize the report results.

Figure 17 – Report Results Unfiltered


Note here you can add or remove clients, projects and employees from the results by clicking individual entries, or using shift-click to select multiple items:

Figure 18 – Report Filters


And here are the updated report results based on the selected filtering items:

Figure 19 – Report Results Filtered


Please contact WSG for more information about our BI Reporting capabilities and how they can be implemented for your tenant.




Date: September 2017


Summary:

Employee Types


We’ve added the ability to create and manage different employee types – Full-time, Part-time, Contractors, Exempt, etc. – and also define different data entry requirements by employee type. For example, your Exempt employees may be required to report 40 hours per week and report their time in sequence, but Contractors or Part-time employees may have different reporting requirements – they can record less than 40 hours in a period, or they can skip timesheets during periods when the contractor or part-time employee is not working. From the Administration page, select View Employees, then select an employee to launch the Edit User page:

Figure 1 – Employee Types


To add a new employee type, click the ‘plus’ icon. To edit an existing employee type, click the pencil icon:

Figure 2 – Editing an Employee Type


For example, you may want to add a Contractor employee type with a different combination of Data Entry Requirements than your employees. Click the plus icon to launch the Add New Employee Type Setup page:

Figure 3 – Creating an Employee Type


You can designate an employee type as the default when adding new employees by clicking the Set as Default checkbox. All new employees added will be assigned the default employee type.


Office/Department Hierarchies


We’ve added the ability to create multi-level office and department hierarchies so your configuration can align with your business structure. If you’d like to set up hierarchies for offices or departments, let us know and we’ll configure your tenant with the required levels. Once that’s done, you can manage the different nodes from the Administration \ View Employees \ Edit User page. Click Edit to open the office or department page:

Figure 4 – Office Hierarchy Main


Click the plus or minus icons to expand or collapse the hierarchy:

Figure 5 – Hierarchy Details


To add a node, click the level above where you want to add a node, then click Add. For example, if you want to add a new East territory in the USA, click USA then Add:

Figure 6 – Adding a Hierarchy Node


Click Save when done to save your work.

To modify a node, click the node, then click Modify

Figure 7 – Modifying a Hierarchy Node


Be sure to save your changes.

To delete a node, click the node, then click Delete. Please note if there is an active employee, an approved timesheet or an active project associated with the node, the node can’t be deleted.
To Move a node, click the node, then click Move. You’ll be asked to select which organization to move the selected node into. In example below, we’re moving the NYC office into the USA \ East \ New York node:

Figure 8 – Moving a Hierarchy Node


You’ll be asked to verify the move:

Figure 9 – Hierarchy Move Confirmation


Click OK to continue. And here’s the updated structure:

Figure 10 – Final Hierarchy After Move Completed


View Employees


We’ve added a View Employees option to improve performance on the Administration page. Users can navigate directly to the administration menu options without waiting for the page to display your employees’ information. Click View Employee to display your employees in either the list view or card view as selected:

Figure 11 – View Employees


Holiday Lists Management


For those customers who want to simplify company holiday management for their schedulers and timekeepers, we’ve improved our Holiday Lists Management feature. Holiday imports – names, days and hours – are now done from one place in the Administration \ Loads/Integration menu.

Figure 12 – Holiday Information Import Location


A list of standard US holidays has already been added to the database:

  • Christmas Day
  • Christmas Eve
  • Columbus Day
  • Day After Thanksgiving
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Memorial Day
  • New Year’s Day
  • New Year's Eve
  • Presidents Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Veterans Day

Other holidays can be added using the Import Holiday Info template.


Step 1 – Import Holiday Info

The Import Holiday Info template is used to configure the holiday details, such as the holiday date and whether the holiday is a full day or partial day. For example, some employers give employees a half day on Christmas Eve Day or New Year’s Eve Day.


Step 2 – Configure the Office/Employee Calendar

After the import is complete, the next step is to associate the holidays with the Office/Employee Calendars and with the appropriate Client/Project to use for time capture and resource scheduling. From the Administration \ Company menu, select Office/Employee Calendar Setup. Select the appropriate Calendar, then select the Client/Project/Task List/Task details as required by your configuration. Click Save Holiday List to apply the holidays to the Calendar:

Figure 14 – Applying Holidays to a Calendar


The saved Holiday List will now appear in the company Office/Employee calendar:

Figure 15 – Updated Company Calendar


And in employee timesheets:

Figure 16 Timesheet with Company Holidays


Company holidays are also integrated with Empire RESOURCE scheduling. For example, if you make a full-time assignment for the week of September 3rd through September 9th, notice Labor Day, Monday, September 4th is not automatically scheduled, although you have the option of scheduling on that day as necessary:

Figure 17 Resource Scheduling with Company Holidays


Timers


For our customers who want to track their employees when the employee is on site with a customer, or for users who want Empire TIME to track the time spent working on an activity, we’ve added Timers. Timers capture client, project, task list, task, location, rate class and geo-location details and load them automatically into the timesheet using the timer duration. As in the timesheet, Location in the timer details refers to data elements your tenant is configured to capture, such as whether you were with a client at the client’s office, at a job site or in your office. To capture specific geo-location information – the physical location of the device along with the device’s latitude and longitude – make sure your device’s location setting is set to Allowed. (If locations are not allowed, we will prompt you when you start the timer.) Please note we’ve added four new permissions in the Time/Expense application group for timer users and administrators. The new permissions control whether users can add a timer and whether the user or a manager can modify the collected timer information:

Figure 18 – Timer Permissions


To start a timer, click the Timer icon on the timesheet page:

Figure 19 – Timer Icon


Select a client, project, activity and location as your configuration requires, then click Clock In to start the timer:

Figure 20 – Timer Clock In


You can Pause a timer to work on a task for a different project, or to answer a phone call or email unrelated to the task at hand, and then restart the timer when you’re ready. Click Clock Out to stop the timer, and the time is automatically added to your timesheet.

Figure 21 – Timer Launch


When you Clock Out, we’ll show you a summary of the timer details, including the timer duration in hours (or fractional hours) to be added to your timesheet:

Figure 22 – Timer Information


If you want to review your timers, click the Review link in the timer page. We’ll show you all the timers you have for a selected day:

Figure 23 – Timer by Date


To see Timer details, click the Details button. We’ll show precise geo-location information, as well as the timer start and stop times:

Figure 24 – Timer Overview


Click Edit to verify and/or modify the timer details. You can modify the Client, Project, Task List, Task, Location and Rate Class information as appropriate, as well as adjust the timer Start and End Times. If necessary, you can also make changes to the Start and End formatted location information:

Figure 25 – Edit Timer


When your timer is stopped and the information has been verified, close the timer page and we’ll update the information in your timesheet automatically:

Figure 26 – Timer in Timesheet


Timers are also available on your mobile device. Simply use your iOS or Android phone or tablet to login to http://www.empiresuite.com using your Empire SUITE user name and password and the timer screen will be launched automatically. If you want to include geo-location information in the timer details, make sure your device is set to allow locations. Add your client, project, task list, task, location and rate class details per your configuration and tap Clock In to start a timer, same as on the web timesheet.


If your company would like to use Timers, please contact us to discuss your desired parameters – minimum times and rounding values – so we can configure your environment according to your requirements.


Activity Based Web Resource Scheduling


You can now do your resource scheduling at the activity level – task list, task, location and rate class. Select Resource from the toolbar, then click and drag in the desired employee’s row to highlight the assignment period, then add the details:

Figure 27 – Scheduling by Activity


After you’ve saved the assignment, you can mouse over the assignment to see the details:

Figure 28 – Mouse Over Assignment Details


Instant Personal Time Off (PTO) Notifications


We’ve added instant email notifications for employees and managers when PTO requests are made, approved, rejected, or cancelled:


1. When an employee makes a PTO request, the employee receives an email confirmation of the request

2. When an employee makes a PTO request, the employee’s manager receives and email with the PTO request details

3. When a manager approves or rejects a PTO request, the employee receives an email confirmation

4. When an employee cancels a PTO request, the employee receives a cancellation confirmation email




Date: April 2017


Summary:

Employee Extract


We’ve added the ability to use the employee extract as an employee import template. This is useful if you need to move a group of employees from one manager to another, or move a group of employees from one department to another. Of course you can always make the necessary changes in the Edit User page, but this enhancement allows you to make changes to as many employees as needed rather than one by one. We’ve also added the ability to select Active, Inactive or both Active and Inactive employees in the extract results. The Employee Extract is available from the Loads\Integration menu in Administration:


Employee Summary Report


Daily mode in the Employee Summary Report is now actually daily. You can select a date range independent of Summary Period, Approval Period or Calendar month boundaries. You’ll find the Employee Summary Report in the Timesheet under the Print menu:


Offices and Departments


You can now add codes to your office and department descriptions. You can also set an office or department status to ‘Active’ or ‘Inactive’ as appropriate. Please note you can’t change the status from ‘Active’ to ‘Inactive’ if there are still active employees or projects in the office or department. You can edit offices and departments from the Edit User page in Administration. Click the pencil next to the Office or Department name to launch the Modify page:


Resource Enhancements

Several new features have been added to Empire RESOURCE


Default Scheduling Configuration


Administrators can now save a default scheduling configuration for new RESOURCE users. From the Home page, click the RESOURCE link, then click the Gear icon at the right side of the toolbar to launch the Setup Options page and configure the desired settings:


Spilt Assignments


System Administrators can now define how many non-scheduled days in an assignment will create two separate assignments. For example, assume a resource has a 10 working day assignment spread over three weeks, with the middle week open.

If your system setting was 5 days, we would create two different assignments and show the assignment with two bars in Empire RESOURCE:

This is no UI for this setting yet, so please contact us so we can set the option for you.


Tool Tips

If you mouse over a resource assignment, you’ll see project manager information and comment details


Administrative Permissions

We’ve broken the Administrative permissions into different functional groups – employee, client, project and others - so your managers can custom tailor user security roles according to user responsibilities, and your requirements and business rules. For example, you can create a ‘Project Manager’ custom role which allows the user to modify any of the project attributes, but prevents the user from making any changes to client attributes.


From the Administration page, select Company, then Edit Permissions.

Click Administration from the Security Permissions Setup page role bar:

To modify the standard User or Administrator roles, or to add or a Custom Role, click the appropriate role, or select the desired custom role from the Custom Roles drop down list. Select the appropriate permission group from the list and use the On/Off toggles to include or remove the desired permissions.


Client Page and Dashboard


We’ve added a client page that allows users with the appropriate permissions to add a new client, modify existing client information such as client name, established date, code and managers. We’ve also added support for Consolidation Clients to support your customers and their subsidiary organizations. Click Project in the toolbar and then click the hamburger icon:


Then click the Client icon. The client page will display the clients associated with the projects you’ve selected in your project dashboard:

To add a new client, click Add New Client. To modify an existing client, click the appropriate client name. You can also type the client name in the client field to find the desired client if it’s not included in the display. When you select a client from the view, the application will display Client information such as the managers, status and active date.


You can also include charts (Time, Expense, Sprints) in the Client dashboard:

The Time chart shows the scheduled hours (red bars) and actual time (blue bars). The Expense chart shows incurred expenses, and the Sprints chart shows open and closed activities associated with the client’s projects.


To edit the client, click the Edit Client link:

You can manage billing contact information, as well as include the client as a subsidiary in Consolidation Client from the Edit or Add Client page. Each of the Client page fields – client long name, client short name, client code, date established, consolidation client and billing contact are controlled by security permissions. Users with the Add Client permission can add a client, but need ‘Activate Client’ in order to set a new client to active status.


New Project Dashboard


We’ve added new charts to the project dashboard. Select Project from the toolbar or Project from the Hamburger menu to launch the Project Main page:


At the right side of the page are icons for different charts:

The available charts enable your users and managers to see aggregated information based on the selected projects. Clicking the icons toggles the chart on and off in the display.

1. Counter

  • Project Count is the number of projects selected
  • Actual Hours is the approved hours for the selected projects
  • Actual Expenses is the approved expenses for the selected projects
  • Remaining Scheduled are the hours scheduled against the selected projects, including hours scheduled in the current month.

2. Forecast

Actual hours, remaining scheduled hours, estimate at completion hours, estimated hours and the percentage variance between the Estimate at Completion Hours and Estimated Hours for the selected projects are included in the Forecast chart:


3. Time and Schedule

The Time and Schedule chart shows the approved (blue) and scheduled (red) hours for the selected projects over time, in this example, May 2016 through October 2017:


4. Expenses

The Expenses chart shows approved expenses for the selected projects over time, in this example, from May 2016 through October 2017:


5. Sprint Progress

Sprint Progress displays the status – Open, Closed and Cancelled – for activities included in Sprints for the selected projects


6. Sprint Activities

The Sprint Activities chart displays activities assigned to the user which are associated with Sprints for the selected projects


7. Time and Schedule by Office

The Time and Schedule by Office chart shows actual (blue) and scheduled (red) hours by office for the selected projects since project inception:


8. Time and Schedule by Department

The Time and Schedule by Department chart shows actual (blue) and scheduled (red) hours by department for the selected projects since project inception:


9. Expenses by Office

The Expenses by Office chart shows the distribution of approved expenses for the selected projects across the various offices from project inception:


10. Expenses by Department

The Expenses by Department chart shows the distribution of approved expenses for the selected projects across the various departments from project inception:


11. Project List

The Project List chart includes hours, total revenue and total billed hours for the selected projects:


Automatic Session Time Out


For security reasons, we’ve added an automatic session time out feature to the Empire SUITE. After two hours of inactivity, your users will be logged out and returned to the login screen. (Please contact us if you prefer a different timeout setting.) Prior to the time out, the application will display a notification window with a countdown clock which includes an option for the user to extend their session without being forced to login again.

External Collaborators


Each Empire SUITE tenant will have at least one project created specifically for the tenant to suggest enhancements and log software bugs and track their progress toward resolution. Users with the appropriate permissions can create Activities and see the Scrum board for their Empire SUITE project.


Collaborators will have an External Project option in the project page that displays the WSG project for the tenant.


Collaborators will see a list of the projects ‘followed’ by the collaborator:


Collaborators can click Activities and see project issues created by the collaborator and the issue status


Collaborators with the appropriate security permissions can see an issue’s history, as well as re-assign the activity to other collaborators or to a WSG manager associated with the project. Collaborators can also view and reprint invoices WSG invoices created for the Collaborator’s account. Please contact us if you’d like us to configure your account to allow Collaborator access




Date: December 2016


Summary:

View Disabled Employees


You can now view both Active and Disabled Employees at the same time in the Administration main menu page.


Users with Access to Administration rights will see the Employee View page when the user navigates to the Administration page. Check ‘Display Disabled Employees’ to show disabled employees.


Disabled employees are shaded gray. Active employees are unshaded.





Edit Employee Start Date


We’ve added a field to capture the employee start date when configuring new employees or adding them through the employee import:


The Employee start date prevents the employee or any user with access to the employee timesheet from entering time or expenses prior to the start date




Editing Security Permissions and Adding Custom Roles


Until now, the Empire SUITE included three standard security Roles – None, User and Administrator – and the security permissions associated with the roles were not editable by firm administrators. We’ve added the ability for Administrators to edit the permissions associated with the standard roles in each of the functional areas (Time and Expense, Administration, Resource, etc.) and firm administrators now have the ability to create new Custom Roles with user selectable permissions to better support each firm’s unique requirements.

EDIT PERMISSIONS

To add or remove permissions from the standard User and Administrator roles, select Edit Permissions from the Administration page Company menu. Select the desired functional area from the menu bar (Time and Expense, Administration, etc.) and the appropriate role (User, Administrator) and use the On/Off toggle next to each permission to customize the standard roles.

CREATE CUSTOM ROLES

Select one of the functional areas from the menu bar (Time and Expense, Administration, etc.) and click the 'New Role' button to create a custom security role.

Give the custom role a name, add the appropriate permissions and click Save when done.

Custom Roles can be assigned to employees from the Edit User page:

Changing Custom Field-based Security Permissions in Empire SUITE to Custom Security Roles

As noted earlier, the Empire SUITE included three standard security Roles – None, User and Administrator. Administrators also had the option to limit the Time Entry behavior for Users through this Setup area, located in Administration in the Tenant Owner's Account:

These setup options will be deprecated in the new release and replaced by the Administrator defined Custom Security Roles. That is, if you want to allow Users to Approve their own time and expenses, you can define a custom role that includes the Approve permission.

Some current Empire SUITE clients have implemented custom security roles for their employees and contractors through Custom Fields – that is, they have added custom fields to the employee import and the security permissions associated with those custom fields govern the employee's ability to use the application.

We will continue to support this methodology, but the goal is to move away from Custom Field based security roles into Application based Custom Security Roles. What does this mean to you?

  • If your new employee or edit existing employee import includes a security-based Custom Field, we will map the Custom Field to a corresponding
    Custom Role as part of the import process. You don’t need to make any changes to your import process.

  • If you edit an employee through the Empire SUITE Administration Edit User page, we will ignore the Custom Field value applied through the
    import and apply permissions associated with either the 'User' or 'Administrator' radio buttons or the Custom Role defined in Edit
    Permissions and applied in the Application Roles section.


For example, let’s assume you’ve used the employee import to add an employee with a Custom Field called ‘Time Entry’ which allows the user to enter time but not approve their own timesheet. However, if you set the employee’s Time Application Role to ‘Administrator’ using the radio button, we will ignore the ‘Time Entry’ custom field permissions and the user will now have all the permissions associated with the Time ‘Administrator’ role, which includes timesheet approval. Or, if you used Edit Permissions to create a Custom Role called ‘Self Approval’, which includes the ability for a user to enter time and approve their own timesheet, we will ignore the ‘Time Entry’ custom field permissions and the user will now have all the security permissions associated with the 'Self Approval' Custom Role.


View Company Information


You can now view the company’s Organization Chart and Company Usage in the Company side menu on the Administration main menu page.

Select Organization Chart to view managers and their employees. Select Company Usage to see how many employees used the system during a specific time period.




Oraganization Chart

Clicking the 'Organization Chart' submenu will bring up the organization chart for the entire company.

Click an employee to display their details.

Click the employee first or last name to edit the employee details. Make the appropriate changes and click Save to update the employee details and close the Edit User page.




Company Usage

Click Company Usage to bring up the usage chart. Hovering over individual bars will show the number of users in the system for that month.

We track the number of days each employee is 'Active' in a month and Usage is defined as the number of employees who had an ‘Active’ status for at least 15 days in any given month. For example, when we calculate October usage, we sum the number of employees who were active 15 or more days in the month of October.