Monday, September 10, 2018

UniPhi 14.1 - A mini release due 31st October 2018

We noticed some low hanging fruit that didn't quite make the deadline following the successful release of UniPhi 14. This has led to our first .1 release in a few years. We will be launching 14.1 in November 2018 with the following key features set to hit your deployment:

UniPhi plugin in the Outlook marketplace

The research undertaken to upgrade our existing plugin to work in a 64-bit environment as part of the 14 release led us to realise that there's some awesome new capability in the Office 365 plugin marketplace. To leverage this, we have created a new plugin that will improve the user experience and enable emails accessed through the web browser and phone to be saved into your UniPhi application. Other  enhancements is the stripping out of embedded files and better threading of the conversation in the UniPhi comment thread.

Mobile access enhancements

Our UniPhi 13 release saw the introduction of our new richer interface. The platform used for this interface has great capability to handle different screen resolution sizes dynamically. However, there are still many decisions to be made to take advantage of this capability. UniPhi 14.1 will have all these decisions made and will allow our users to enjoy accessing UniPhi on their phone as much as they do on their laptop or desktop.

Expanded accounting integration


UniPhi 14.1 will come with a debtors and creditors dashboard, as well as, automated updating of the paid flag for customer and supplier invoices. This functionality will be supported out of the box for our entry level integrations of Xero and MYOB.

UniPhi in the PowerBI marketplace

PowerBI is the future of big data analytics and UniPhi is the now for big data capture. The two are a great marriage and the 14.1 release will include our first marketplace app that users can access to get our out of the box dashboards covering; practice management, benchmarking, risk management, issues management, time management and integrated summaries.

Paste from excel

One of the coolest little widgets we've created in years, is the ability to now highlight a range of cells in excel and just copy paste the data into UniPhi. This has been developed for cash flow and budgets and is part of our 14.1 release. The functionality works at the project, program and portfolio level.

Small tweaks to user interface for an enhanced experience
Improvements include tweaks to bulk updating, new navigational structures, enhanced personal profiles and more.

These features will hit the marketplace in November and we will dedicate a blog entry to each one in the latter part of October as a count down to go live!

Make sure to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to not miss an update!

Monday, August 06, 2018

We've just been listed as a FrontRunner on Software Advice!


The start of August has been an exciting month, with a recent upgrade to UniPhi 14 and with us finding out that UniPhi has been listed as a FrontRunner for the Construction Project Management software category on Software Advice.

Software Advice is part of the Gartner network, which includes Capterra and GetApp, and is an online platform for reviewing software. It aims to help businesses find the right software for their needs and helps them save time during the search process.

The FrontRunners list is published bi-annual with the aim of helping small business find the best solutions. Companies are evaluated based on end-user reviews on usability and user recommendations, as well as, publicly available product data. The top scoring products create the FrontRunners list and are placed on a quadrant graphic.

Construction Project Management FrontRunners Quadrant

We are really pleased to be placed on this list and to have received a usability score of 4.08 out of 5 and a user recommended score of 4.35 out of 5. We are equally grateful for all our users who spent time reviewing us.

The full report can be viewed here: https://www.softwareadvice.com/construction/project-management-software-comparison/#top-products

Keep up to date with all our news by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter!

Required disclaimer: FrontRunners constitute the subjective opinions of individual end-users reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Software Advice or its affiliates.


Wednesday, August 01, 2018

UniPhi 14 is here!

After what has been an exciting two week countdown (for us at least), it is finally time to release UniPhi 14!

This release has been all about AI and machine learning. Enhancements have been focused around making the software more efficient and adaptable when it comes to processing project data and making it easier to visualize this data in a variety of ways. These new functionalities will hopefully make it easier for users to produce the results they need with less errors, as UniPhi does all the time consuming administrative tasks, leaving users with more time to focus on more important things.

If you've been following our blog posts on LinkedIn and Twitter then you may already be up-to-date with some of our new features, but for those who missed them, here is a quick summary:


These are but a few of our new improvements that have been included in the new update. If you want to find out what else has been included, or want to start using these new functionalities, get in contact with your account manager today!

UniPhi 14 - Feasibility Analysis

The original scope of UniPhi back in 2003 was to codify the project management methodology we had developed and were selling at the time, as well as, create software that managed the feasibility modelling that I had developed in spreadsheets. These models included base case NPV build ups, sensitivity models, probability allocations for Monte Carlo simulations and option pricing on real assets using the standard deviation of the Monte Carlo as the volatility value. 15 years later, we have released the first two elements of this! And it's good.


The reasons this has taken so long are many and varied. It was quite a challenge for our young development team at the time to get their heads around discounted cash flows, but also, as we approached businesses about this capability, no one seemed interested. In fact, we had far more success selling qualitative prioritisation frameworks than we did NPV.


NPV Dashboard
Fast forward to the present and developers in the construction industry (particular aged care) have come baying for blood if I don't do this! Well, it's now here and utilises many of the cash flow features we have been developing since UniPhi 11.

I'll be conducting a webinar on this feature on Friday at 12pm AEDT. The recording of the webinar will be posted back here when it's done. 

To attend the webinar register at: http://uniphi.com.au/webinar/register.aspx


Hope you can join me to see this exciting new feature then.

UniPhi 14 - Outlook Integration

The outlook plugin has been upgraded to support MS Office 64-bit . The outlook plugin was first released in 2007 and has been a favourite of many users for some time. I know one of our N.Z. colleagues is really going to like the fact that it now supports 64-bit office as his contractors have been asking for it but have been unable to deploy it due to the 32-bit limitation.

The outlook plugin allows you to save emails directly into UniPhi either as an issue for resolution or as a document with all attachments then becoming available for others to download. The communications module is automatically updated with the email accessible by all team members. The correspondence is also logged against the various parties correspondence register as well.

Outlook Plugin "Save as Issue" Form

Communications Tab Filtered for Email

Users Correspondence Log


This is the first in a number of upgrades to the plugin that will be rolled out progressively in the coming year. Next will be drag and drop functionality for your issues and documents along with background processing. We willl be showing off this capability in our October 2018 webinar.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

UniPhi 14 - RESTful API linked to PowerBI

UniPhi 14 provides an enormous stride forward for users in accessing their data. During this release, we expanded our RESTful API to include a lot more endpoints. The RESTful API provides a user friendly way of accessing UniPhi data without needing to understand the relationships across 400 tables and the business logic embedded within the UniPhi app. Using PowerBI, users can connect to an "end point" or table of information using the "Web" connector available from the "Get Data" function in PowerBI.

API documentation will be published as part of our 14 release and one of the key uses for this API is connecting the "end points" to PowerBI. This connection enables end users to design their own live dashboard reports and analyse their data in new and fascinating ways.

We have also created some standard dashboards to assist users in getting started. These will be presented as PBIX files (The PowerBI file extension) for users to download and then open in PowerBI desktop, a free desktop application downloadable from Microsoft.

There will be webinars on this new feature in coming weeks and its sure to be the biggest hit of the release. Here's some screenshots from our Major Projects demo site.

Cost Benchmarking

Geographic analysis

Financial performance

Timeline with key milestones - beats a Gantt Chart!

Monday, July 30, 2018

UniPhi 14 - Tactical resource planning

A more intriguing left field feature of UniPhi 14 is what we're calling tactical resource planning. As usual, a spreadsheet was shared with us from a client who said, can you help improve this. It was a one month look ahead resource by resource, project by project and task by task. The spreadsheet was updated by over 100 people! The summary sheet highlighted over and under allocations which was excellent information for management but oh what a nightmare to collect.

The problem was a distributed data capture problem that lends itself to a web based portfolio application as a solution. And, with the penny dropping that what they were after was a forecast of their timesheet, the solution became a simple one. End users were already entering actual hours, if we replicated this interface, they could enter forecast hours too.

Now, all staff members enter in what they expect to be working on, in collaboration with their project managers, over a rolling 4 week period. The summary report is run and resourcing issues identified by senior management.

Sample screen - before the first amendment to include comments
Summary report on overs and unders

Once again, working closely with clients and their end users has resulted in a nifty little tool for all our users. I can't wait for the feedback (which has already lead to a new comments field) and the inevitable improvements that ensue.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

UniPhi 14 - Defects Management

4 years ago, we released our OnSite mobile apps product. The main focus of this product was to assist in the management of defects, as per this blog post at the time.

Since then, the majority of use for these apps has been in site surveillances carried out by independent review engineers on infrastructure projects. The app has supported all sorts of new roads and rail networks. However, it hasn't been used much for its intended purpose. Hopefully, UniPhi 14 will assist in changing this.

The main issue in using it for defects was that the correspondence that was logged as comments in the issues module of UniPhi couldn't be extracted easily to share with non-UniPhi users. We use reporting services for our reports (see this post) and we didn't know how to strip the HTML stored in our database when using this platform. Turns out, there's a setting for that, so we now have the defects management report!

New Defects Log Report - With Comments!

This report puts all image files uploaded into their own column and adds all comments into the report as well. This new capability (that was there and hidden the whole time - Doh!) has opened up issues management to broader than just defects, with RFIs, Safety and other types of issues being able to be shared with non-UniPhi users as a register with all comments, actions, due dates and ratings.

If you want to find out what our other features are, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter - we post all our updates there!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

UniPhi 14 - Email Notifications

There's been a lot of expansion to the UniPhi email notifications in version 14. Thanks to considerable feedback from our lovely end users, we've added the following:
  1. Notifications on new projects created. This has been added to assist bid teams when new opportunities are logged into UniPhi
  2. Notifications on new actions you've been assigned to. This handy feature came about due to the great success of an independent verification deployment. There was so much activity that we had to get more nuanced as to the changes. Now, an engineer will know they've been assigned a new surveillance or review action rather than having to check modified activities/issues to see if that modification affected them.
  3. Notifications of documents awaiting your sign off contextualised to the lowest delegated authority. This was hurriedly implemented when a CEO did not like being notified of a document awaiting sign-off before all the underlings had already signed it off. Of course, unbeknown to the CEO was our experience of other CEOs incorrectly signing off contracts and invoices because they blindly relied on the fact that the underlings had already signed off the document. The question here being, what value are they adding signing the document off? With UniPhi presenting all the information they need in one screen, I would imagine a more productive thing would be that if they did sign it off before others then the whole document gets signed off. Alas, a battle for another day.
  4. Notifications on signed off documents. This helps external PMs (to a client of construction services) know when instructions have been signed off so they can then send the notice to the contract. The majority of UniPhi clients these days are developers who then engages with their external consultants to use UniPhi to manage their projects. This provides significant productivity savings for all organisations concerned of up to 50% on the activities undertaken in UniPhi.
Notification Email

UniPhi email notifications has always been a bane of contention with our team and our philosophy of providing a platform product for people to collaborate but truth be told, it is crucial to successful deployments. Hopefully these new features will assist in future deployments being even more successful.

To keep up to date on our feature release, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter!


Monday, July 23, 2018

UniPhi 14 - Resource Planning

There is one feature in particular which has been a big focus of the recent update.  From working on improving tracking its lifecycles to reports, feature 7 in our countdown is resource planning.

The resource module provides UniPhi users with a variety of different capabilities, for instance; the ability to budget resource hours in a project. 

Each resource in UniPhi has a cost and charge rate against their user profile.

Cost & Charge Rates

This means that when you budget, for example, Denis Adams for 8 hours in a week and he has a cost rate of $50 against his user profile (as seen above), running the report with "Cost" selected instead of hours will result in an output of $400 in the week instead of 8 hours.

The module, furthermore,  provides users with the ability to forecast resource hours (week ending) and have variance analysis between actual and budget, as well as forward workload planning. 

Resource Variance Analysis

This means, you can now report on hours or on cost depending on your needs, view the variance and are able to more accurately plan further in advance for all your resource needs.

To keep up to date on our feature release, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter!

Friday, July 20, 2018

UniPhi 14 - New Reports

UniPhi has used Microsoft SQL Reporting Services as the platform for reports since 2003. This is a solid platform for producing tabular reports that export to excel and can be embedded in a web app but they're not best for graphically rich interfaces and require a software developer to write the underlying SQL queries to produce them. This is expensive and removes the ability for clients to do custom reports (hence our template engine from the previous blog post).

So why keep using this platform? Well, it turns out that senior execs like the ability to run ad-hoc tabular style reports that answer the key questions they're looking to be answered. This epiphany arrived across my desk via a one-on-one with one of our key client's CEO. She was telling me that it's great that her CFO can do all these funky pivot tables and graphs of information but often she just wants to know the profit on a job, which jobs are off track or which clients are buying and which aren't. She also wants to be able to run a report, know the data is live and accurate and the ability to get this information is fantastic.

With that in mind, UniPhi 14 comes with some funky new reports to support our CEOs everywhere:

Portfolio Profitability by Project - A new method of calculating portfolio profitability and enabling team profitability assessment.

Resource Custom Fields - Get access to your custom resource data. Great for managing campaigns and prospecting. See the movie:



Project Profiles - Issue pretty reports on projects you've completed

Contracts Requiring Formal Approval - Monitoring where things are at in the approvals workflow

Lifecycle Budget vs Actual Forecast - Compare a project's budget snapshot to phased actual/forecast values during a lifecycle phase which enables project managers to track staged budget releases (e.g. Masterplan budget v actual, concept design budget v actual etc)

Forward Workload Summary and Detail - For tactical resource planning and will be the subject of a blog post soon.

Tender Analysis: Elemental Rates per Key Metric - For analysing anomalies in contractor quotes where one element may be significantly cheaper than competitors and hence might have misunderstood the requirement

Tender Analysis: Project Rates per Key Metric and Percentage - "Who's the cheapest, let's go with them" Said the King

Contract Export - Feed other systems with data dumps from UniPhi. This could be superseded by our API but we'll see over the next 12 months

Metric Export and Elemental Metric Export reports to the benchmark report tab.

Defects Log - Long awaited for by our Ridgmill friends. I hope it fits the bill?! Another one to get its own blog post soon.

To make sure you don't miss out on the next enthralling installment, follow us on LinkedIn where all these posts are shared!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

UniPhi 14 - More and expanded template controls

From the day our resident genius +Murray Stiles developed the UniPhi template system way back in 2003, we've been using it to automate project status reports. To be honest, we have had mixed success. However, as the Indian in the Clint Eastwood classic "the Outlaw Josey Wales" once prosaically stated, we must endeavour to persevere. UniPhi 14 has six key new or expanded template controls that will hopefully increase the quantity of PCG reports being produced out of UniPhi.

These new features are split into three categories for the use cases they are looking to support - 1) General improvements applicable to all types of documents, 2) Cost Plan Report changes and 3) PCG report

General Template Improvements
  1. Added the ability to auto generate document names using template variables. This is a great feature that can standardise document naming to a common convention....the holy grail!
  2. Documents: Changed the line height of list items to match that of paragraphs.
  3. Custom CheckList template control now has a four column layout option.
  4. Distribution list template control now includes the Position of the relevant contact.
  5. Added a classification column to Distribution List template control.
  6. Document templates may mandate a minimum number of individuals required to sign off each document, in addition to the signoff roles being met.
  7. If a document has both an Autonumber step and a VariationOrder No or EOT No, the Autonumber will now take precedence in the document register.
Cost Plan Report Improvements
  1. Benchmark Elements template control that compares approved budget snapshots for a selection of projects.
  2. Budget Summary template control shows the level 2 codes plus any random other lines you wish to add into the Budget screen
  3. Budget Summary Text template control shows all text entered against the level 2 elements describing any assumptions, constraints etc. Note this data can come from underlying cost estimating tools that we integrate with. Ask us which ones and how to configure - our resident cost management expert Trudi Kirk will be able to assist.
  4. Budget template control: when showing the budget for a parent project, includes an option to show the budget breakdown for each child project as well.
PCG Report Improvements
  1. Document Register template control shows the metadata for a filtered list of signed off documents including document name and ID, author, date modified, etc.
  2. Issue Summary template control will now allow multi-select for projects when used in portfolio mode
  3. Issue Summary template control will now include issue custom fields as optional columns.
  4. Periodic Issue count template control now allows a subset of categories to be included/excluded from final output.
You can see an example of a PCG report being generated here:


And comparing two cost plans here:


If you liked this post, follow us on LinkedIn to make sure you don't miss the next one!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

UniPhi 14 - Task Summary Dashboard

The my work summary upgrade that occurred in UniPhi 13 has been adapted and applied to a portfolio view of all resources in UniPhi 14. This allows project and program managers to filter and sort across their portfolio for issues and actions assigned to people, deliverables due, milestones due and risk actions outstanding.

Tasks dashboard option


New Portfolio Tasks Dashboard




An early 14.1 release (September 2018) will add to this table view with a timeline view. This long asked for visual of work will be used for multiple timeline aspects of UniPhi including conversation threads in issues and milestones  as per below:

New milestone timeline graphic

Keep up to date with our features release by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter!