Automation Tool Tracks Projects

OpenAir releases Workspaces PSA module.

OpenAir Inc. this week will round out its namesake professional services automation suite with a knowledge management module.

The Workspaces module provides integrated applications that allow users to structure virtual workspaces around projects, processes or ideas.

The module augments the Boston developers PSA software, which allows companies to automate steps in locating and hiring services and contingent staff for the sourcing, administration and management of projects in an enterprise. Workspaces, available this week, will enable an IT manager to monitor how many IT consultants are on a project and if their skills meet the projects requirements, as well as estimate for how long and where those resources are needed next.

Workspaces includes Opportunities, a sales force automation suite that allows for internal work requests and workflows, and a project management suite called Project. The Resources tool in Workspaces automates reporting on time and expenses, and the Reporting component allows for automated forecasting and estimating. There is also a billing module.

Workspaces is integrated with OpenAirs PSA suite of applications, which offers a database repository in which customers enter information only once, and its distributed throughout all of a companys modules.

Pricing for Workspaces, which is available as a hosted suite or installed in-house, is $75 per month per user.

Unlike some of its bigger PSA competitors, such as PeopleSoft Inc. and Siebel Systems Inc., OpenAir guarantees an upgrade to its code every 30 days. OpenAirs large and small customers alike have input to the upgrades.

Martin Progressive LLC, an IT consulting company based in New York, deployed OpenAir because of the 30-day upgrade cycle, said Senior Product Manager Vinod Paul. Martin Progressive has 180 salaried employees, and Paul found that he and his team could have the same amount of code enhancement input often afforded to larger companies—and rarely offered to small companies.

"Since OpenAir is a startup, theyve given us a lot of flexibility, and they are very willing to work with our project management team," Paul said. "We are a project management-focused company, and they have the same philosophy, where project management is the key to success on implementations."

Paul said that while he hasnt had the opportunity to look closely at Open- Airs knowledge management module, it would provide important functionality, and Martin Progressive will implement it in the future.

"Its another part of the tool thats going to let us keep a central place for our intellectual capital," Paul said.