Updates & Tools
- Invoice Tracking & Admin Tool – this tool, added to the Invoice Management module, allows customers to view their pending invoices that are either Carrier Direct or Expense as they are awaiting to be processed for their first load into vManager
- Support For AP Batch Filing – we now support AP Batch filing which can be customized on a per customer basis. So, for example a customer could ask for an AP Batch file to be run and emailed on a Thursday to include all of the invoices that arrived since the last AP Batch run. This saves tremendous time and allows for automation and is especially useful when you have large quantities of invoices in vManager.
- Printing Of Invoice Remittance Slips – from either the Invoice grid or on the invoice itself the ability to print a remittance slip is just a click away.
- Pending Invoices View – you can now view Carrier Direct Invoices that are pending (i.e. expected to be received or late) on the new Pending Invoice view in Invoice Management.
- Managed Hardware Added To Hardware Assets Module – we’ve added vCom Managed Hardware to the Hardware Assets module so now you have a view of non-managed and managed hardware all in one location.
- RFP Process Added To Solution Design – we’ve added vCom’s seven step RFP Process as and educational tool to the Solutions Design module.
- Bill Pay 2.0 – we have rebuilt from the ground up our Bill Pay system for those customers that take care of our Bill Pay service.
- Invoice Workflow 2.0 – also rebuilt from the ground up, Invoice workflow now supports Threshold workflows and a new methodology for creating and assigning workflows which greatly improves the time to create and manage workflows
- Network Utilization Chart Improvements – we have added additional views to the Network Utilization charges in the Utilization module. Users can now view Bandwidth Utilization down to the minute within a selected hour in real time!
Under The Hood Improvements
- Improved Wireline & Collaboration Inventory Load Times – we have significantly improved the time it takes for this module to load.
See below for details on each of the New Tools, the Upgrades and performance improvements
Invoice Tracking & Admin Tool
We have added the Invoice Tracking & Admin Tool to vManager. You might know this tool better as the “Select/Expense Management Tool” from iPath. Essentially, what we have done is take this tool from iPath and included it in vManager for customers to view and track their Carrier Direct invoices.
We hope the benefit will be that customers themselves can look at the status of their pending accounts that have not yet been added to vManager and they can also update Portal Login information (e.g. passwords) directly in the application themselves when they need to make updates to passwords.
To access the tool, select the new link “Invoice Tracking & Admin Tool” from the “Invoice Mgmt” module in vManager as shown below:
Doing so will display the following:
Note you will see different Stages available:
- Pending – means the invoice is pending ordering for EDI (if available) or a parser being built.
- Pending 1st Invoice – means the invoice has been ordered for EDI or the parser is built, and we are awaiting the first invoice to be received from the carrier
- Active – means the invoice has been received for the specified account and we are processing it on a monthly basis.
Other Notable Fields
Some other notable fields are:
- First Billed Date – this is the first date that the invoice has been billed for, meaning the first time we have billed for this invoice.
- Current Invoice Date – the most current invoice date that has been loaded
- Next Invoice Date – the expected date for the next invoice.
Viewing Invoice Details
Clinking on a “Billing Entity” Name for any invoice will display the Carrier Direct Invoice Detail page as shown below:
On this page are a number of valuable fields that customers can review and edit:
- First Invoice Date – the date we first loaded this invoices
- Current Invoice Date – the invoice date of the most current invoice
- Current Invoice Status – the status of the most recently loaded invoices (typically “Released”)
- Next Invoice Date – the expected next invoice date
- Carrier Portal URL, User ID & Password – the URL, User ID and Password for the carrier portal, which the customer can edit.
Customers can also view all the invoices loaded for this Carrier Account on the “Invoices” tab. They can add Notes on the Notes tab as well. This history tab will display the changes made to this Account.
Support For AP Batch Filing
We have a new feature that’s available in vManager. In situations where you have Customers with a large volume of Carrier Direct or Expense invoices, they might need to be able to generate “batches” of AP files in order to support payment of invoices – sometimes weekly. We have implemented this feature for FNB and would like to share with the rest of the organization that we can now support this feature for the other Customers that might need this.
How It Works
As of now, this is a “back-end” process, meaning if you need a Customer to be set up with AP Batching, you’ll need to engage IT via an AP Ticket to configure it. We will work with you as a CSM/AE to understand the requirements of the Customer and generate an AP Batch File to be emailed to the customer as their desired time. That file will include a report of all invoices that have been received and allocated since the previous Thursday.
When a customer has AP Batching set up you’ll see some additional columns in the AP Module as shown below:
The additional columns are “Batch Date” and “Batch AP File” which is a downloadable link. Clicking that link with download the Customer’s version of their batch file. Below is an example of what it looks like.
Note, this is one customer’s version of their AP Batch file, this is based on the requirements they provided. For each Customer we can provide a customized version of a batch file.
This is a great new feature that is available in vManager for our customers as we deal with Customers with large numbers of invoices. Should you have any questions, please engage Bhanu or myself.
Printing Of Invoice Remittance Slips
You’ll notice on the Invoice grid, a new icon that looks like a printer as shown below:
Simply click on this icon will display a print dialog box as shown below:
From here users can send the remittance slip to their printer for printing.
Below is what the remittance slip looks like when printed
You can also print remittance slips from within the invoice, note the new printer icon next to the Export and PDF icons:
Pending Invoices View
In the Invoice Management module we now have a new checkbox, “Pending Invoices”, this checkbox is located at the bottom of the grid of Invoices:
Checking the checkbox will display the pending invoices along with a column explaining the status:
The Status is in the Invoice# column. Pending USOC will tell the user that the invoice is pending USOC mapping, while Pending Release means it’s ready and should be expected to be available the following day.
Managed Hardware Added To Hardware Assets
We’ve improved the Hardware Asset Module to now include vCom Managed Hardware. This new feature allows customers to view all of their Hardware Assets, both vCom Managed and Non-vCom Managed all in one location.
When selecting Hardware Inventory in the Asset module you’ll see a new tab, Managed Hardware, as shown below. This lists all vCom provided Hardware.
Note, we still show Hardware Inventory in the Wireline and Collaboration module – this is just an additional place for users to look at their hardware inventory.
RFP Process Added To Solution Design
Bill Pay 2.0
Now, when viewing the list of invoices, customer can easily see which invoices are set up for Bill Pay, and for those that are the payment status is easily viewable on the Invoice grid in Invoice Management as shown below:
The “Bill Pay” column indicates if an invoice is set up for Bill Pay, while the “Bill Pay Status” column indicates if it has been paid yet.
Invoice Workflow 2.0
We have completely changed the way workflows are created and assigned. In version 1.0, workflows were created at the invoice/account level, meaning you had to create multiple workflows (even if they were the same) for each Carrier Account you want to assign the workflow.
In the Version 2.0, we have flipped that structure around, you create your workflows (you can have as many as you need) and then assign them to accounts – one workflow can be assigned to multiple Carrier Accounts.
See the diagram below for how a representation of the new structure
Note how one workflow can be assigned to multiple different accounts.
With this release we are also introducing Threshold workflows. Threshold workflows allow you to specify different approvers based on the dollar amount of the invoice. In threshold workflows you set lower and upper limits in dollar amounts for each approver. If the invoice is within the threshold of a specific approver (but not above) the invoice can be approved by that user and then the invoice is considered approved. If, however, the invoice is above the first user’s threshold, they must approve it and then the next person in line to approve will need to approve.
You can set as many lower and upper thresholds as needed.
Accessing Invoice Workflow Management
Invoice Workflow Management is accessed from the Invoice Management menu as shown below.
Once selected the the Account Assignments page is displayed. This shows all the accounts that have been assigned to workflows.
The first step in Invoice Workflow Management is to create a new Workflow if they have not yet created any. From the Hamburger menu, select “Workflow Management” as shown below:
Doing so will bring the user to the Workflow Management page as shown below:
On this page you can edit existing workflows and add new workflows. To add a new workflow, click on the Hamburger icon and select “New Workflow” as shown below:
Clicking “New Workflow” will display the new workflow wizard as shown below:
The first step is to give the workflow a name and then select the Type. There are three types available
- Non Sequential – in this workflow any of the approvers can approve the invoice at any time, but all need to approve it before it is considered Approved
- Sequential – the invoice needs to be approved by the people specifed as approvers in the sequence specified.
- Threshold – the approval proess will follow the Thresholds specified based on the invoice amount.
For this example we are going to create a Threadhold workflow
After completing the Name and Type fields, click Next. The Add Approvers and Thresholds dialog will be displayed as shown below:
On this dialog you will add Thresholds and add approvers to those Thresholds. Click the “Add Threshold” link, the following dialog will be displayed:
By default we have pre-entered the first Threshold range as $0 to $1,000. The upper limit can be edited to the desired amount. Once complete, click the Add button to add that Threshold.
Note that we have added the first Threshold and have automatically set the next Threshold as $,1001 to $2,000. Note the upper limit can be changed if so desired, the lower limit of course needs to be above the first threshold. We have take care of that automatically.
You can continue adding Thresholds – as many as needed.
Below is an example with 3 Thresholds created.
Once all of the Thresholds have been added, you can add the Approvers. Note you can have multiple approvers in each Threshold – these will all be in sequential order by the sort order specified.
To add approvers, click the “Add Approver” link, the following dialog will be displayed:
Simply drag Approver names from the left to the right. Note – the order of Approval will be done in the order specified. If you wish to change the order, simply drag the user’s name up or down to change the Approval order. When completed click Done. The Add Approvers dialog will be dislayed as shown below:
Note that the Approval Order is displayed for you, to change it, click the “Add Approvers” link and rearragn the order of the approvers by dragging and dropping them.
Continue adding Approvers to the Other Thresholds to complete the process. When finished, click Done. The “Add Workflow” dialog will be displayed as shown below. Click Save to save the Workflow.
Adding Accounts To Workflows
The next step in the process is to add one or more Accounts to the Workflow just created. Click the hamburger menu and select “Account Assignments” as shown below:
Doing so will display the Account Assigments page as shown below:
On this page, all existing account assignments are displayed. Users can edit the assignments here and add new assignments. To add a new assignment, click the hamburger icon and select the “New Account Assignment” link as shown below:
Upon selecting that link the Add Account Assignment page is displayed as shown below.
On this page users select a Carrier and then all the accounts for that carrier will be displayed, you can check one or more accounts via the checkboxes and then click the “Configure Multiple” link to assign a workflow to the selected accounts as shown below:
Upon selecting the desired workflow, click Save to complete the account assignment.
Another new feature added to Invoice Workflow is the abilty to create Groups of Approvers. You can create a group and then add members to that group. Once done, you can then add that Group as an “Approver” in a workflow.
When you add a Group as an apprver in a workflow, any of the members in that group can approve and invoice and it will then jump to the next approver outside of the group. Essentially, only one member of the Group needs to approve the invoice.
To create a group, click the Hamburger icon and select “Group Management” as shown below.
The Group Management page shows all existing Groups. On this page you can edit existing Groups (change the Group Name, add or remove users) and also Delete groups.
To create a new Group, click the Hamburger icon and click on the “New Group” link as shown below:
On the New Group dialog, you will name the Group and assign members to it as shown below.
After completing the name and assigning members, click Save.
Assigning Groups to Workflows
After you’ve created a Group, you can then assign that group as an Approver in Workflow Management as shown below
Network Utilization Chart Improvements
Accessing Network Utilization
To access the Network Utilization chart, navigate to Analytics & BI > Utilization as shown below.
On the Utilization page, any date to view more details.
Note, the title of the graph will indicate if the Utilization is Average bandwidth or not. When viewing any thing but hourly, the charts will be averaged.
After selecting any date the following is displayed.
On this page, by default utilization for the last 7 days is displayed across all circuits that are being monitored via the M&N server.
On the filters on the right users can select different durations (such as 24 hours) as well as filter on Locations, Services, Circuits and even Carriers.
Below is an example of the Duration filter:
Below is an example of a filter by location and set to 24 hours.
Data is collected every minute for monitoring – we receive that data in 15 minute increments – meaning the chart is updated every 15 minutes with data from the last 15 minutes.
Click on any hour to view the Bandwidth Utilization for that hour by minute.
Improved Wireline & Collaboration Inventory Load Times