Scheduling Software | Room Scheduling Software | VisualTime



VisualTime Administrator's Guide

Table of contents

Introduction........................................................................... 5

Application components.......................................................... 6

Concepts................................................................................ 7

Resources........................................................................................................................ 7

Activities......................................................................................................................... 7

Activity approval and confirmation............................................................................. 8

Single step scheduling vs multi step scheduling......................................................... 8

Simple scheduling vs complex scheduling................................................................... 9

Services......................................................................................................................... 10

Sites............................................................................................................................... 10

Locations....................................................................................................................... 10

User profiles.................................................................................................................. 11

Catalogs........................................................................................................................ 11

Business modules......................................................................................................... 11

Catering & Food Services.......................................................................................... 11

Furnishings................................................................................................................. 11

Customer Relationship Management....................................................................... 11

Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange integration.......................................... 12

Web access module................................................................................................... 12

Personnel requests.................................................................................................... 12

Generic Services........................................................................................................ 12

Reporting and Business Intelligence......................................................................... 12

LDAP and ICAL integration........................................................................................ 12

Multiple Sites............................................................................................................. 12

Running VisualTime............................................................... 13

Configuring VisualTime for first time use................................................................. 13

Logging via the Management Console....................................................................... 14

Creating and defining your sites................................................................................ 15

Create and define your locations............................................................................... 16

Defining user profiles................................................................................................... 17

Resource types............................................................................................................. 19

Resource Features........................................................................................................ 19

Activity Types............................................................................................................... 20

Resource Groups.......................................................................................................... 21

Email templates............................................................................................................ 21

Settings......................................................................................................................... 28

Activity form.............................................................................................................. 28

Calendar.................................................................................................................... 29

Day view.................................................................................................................... 29

General...................................................................................................................... 29

Mailer........................................................................................................................ 33

Scheduling................................................................................................................. 34

Web Viewer............................................................................................................... 34

Management console operations............................................ 35

User accounts............................................................................................................ 35

Resetting passwords.................................................................................................. 36

Active users............................................................................................................... 37

Performing a remote backup.................................................................................... 38

Changing the license activation key.......................................................................... 38

Managing resources............................................................... 40

 

Introduction

VisualTime is a resource planning and scheduling system for the enterprise.

You can use VisualTime  to manage the booking and reservation of facilities, rooms, offices, equipment, services and more.

The software is built as a multi tiered application and can be deployed on customer’s premises or as an online service accessible via the Internet.

 

This guide is intended for business analysts, system administrators and technical consultants to aid implementing and configuring a VisualTime scheduling software system.

Application components

VisualTime software is comprised of server components and client (user) components.

The VisualTime administrator is responsible for installing VisualTime on the server.  Note: If you are using it as an online service, the server components are managed by the the VisualTime staff.

The user components are the rich client and the web client. As option, the Outlook Integration module requires the Microsoft Outlook program to be installed on the user’s PC.

The server components are: the web/application server (IIS), the database server (MS SQL Server) and the VisualTime Communication Server (aka the VisualTime System Agent).

Concepts

The following list provides a brief description of the concepts and elements used in VisualTime

Resources 

The resources are the basic elements used to define any physical element from your business processes requiring management and scheduling. Examples of resources that can be scheduled are rooms, furniture, equipment, tools, cars, trucks, etc.

By definition resources can only be elements that are not easily replaceable. Note: Elements that produced or stocked should not be defined as resources but rather as supplies or finished goods, etc.

Activities

In VisualTime, the Activities are defined as a logical representation of your actual business activities in respect to the resources. An activity is comprised of one or more resources and a time interval where the activity takes place.  The VisualTime activities are portions of time where the particular resources are dedicated to a particular operation.  The activities can be assimilated with or otherwise called bookings, reservations, meetings, appointments, events, etc.

An activity is defined at very least by a place where the activity takes place (a Resource which in fact represents a physical element/resource) and a time slot when the activity is scheduled.  In addition to that, an activity can involve other resources, services to be delivered and people attending the activity.

In order to differentiate between the other resources and the Resource where that activity takes place, this last one is called the Main Resource with the others are called Additional Resources.

Depending on the way the application is configured by the administrator, an activity can have different statuses: Tentative, Approved, Confirmed or Cancelled.

Activity approval and confirmation

If the global setting Allow Conflicts is tuned ON (has a value of 1), an activity is saved by default with an Approved status.

The system will not allow an Approved Activity to be in conflict with any other Approved Activity.

However, an activity having the status of Tentative can be in conflict with any other activities. In a business scenario, the activities being in Tentative status can be considered as being aprt of a waiting list since they are not actually in an  Approved status.

The activities for which one or more types of services have been requested, will need to be Confirmed. Typically this is done by each of the providers of the particular service.

Deleted / cancelled activities are no longer visible in the application but they are still kept in the system and you can extract that information and generate reports based on activities that have been canceled.

Single step scheduling vs multi step scheduling

If your business allows the resources to scheduled and reserved directly by the users then you can consider that you have a single step scheduling process.

If your processes require each activity to be booked and then approved by a resource or activity administrator then you have a multi step scheduling process.

Simple scheduling vs complex scheduling

If your scheduling process only involves the reservation/booking of the particular  resources, then your process will be referred as Simple Scheduling.

If your business requires certain services to be provided during some of the activities, then we will refer to this as Complex Scheduling.

Services 

The Services can be defined in your VisualTime system and can be requested in conjunction with any activity if the main resource of the activity supports it. Services can be defined as Food & Catering Services, Supply Services, Personnel Services or General Services.

Depending on the type of license you have acquired  or the subscription options you have signed up for, the Services module may not be available in your VisualTime system.

Sites

A site is the primary physical space or geographical area where your business is located.  By definition, all your resources belong to a site. You can not have resources outside of a site.  An example of a site could be a building and the resources are the rooms within that building.

Locations

You can define one or more locations within a site. A location is a logical way to group resources. A resource can only belong to one location. An example of a location could be a particular floor within a building. Or if the site is defined as a group of buildings or an area, the locations could be as well defined as buildings.

 

Below is depicted the logical representation of the SIte - Location - Resource hierarchy.

User profiles

Each user needs to have a login id in order to have access to the application. The ability to perform certain tasks is managed through the settings defined for each one user’s profiles. Each user must have a profile assigned to his own login id. By defining specific  permissions for each profile, the administrator can manage the permissions for each user. For example Profile X can book rooms and schedule activities for a particular site but not for another site, etc. The administrator can create profiles and define granular permissions for each profile.

By default the application is installed with two profiles: the Guest and the Administrator profiles. These profiles can not be deleted as they are

Catalogs

Each service provider can define his own set of items that can be ordered/requested through that service.  These items are grouped into lists referred here as catalogs. In order to request an item from a particular service provider, the manager of that service must first make the item available for ordering.

Business modules

VisualTime is structured in several business modules which can be added on top of your base installation and can be acquired separately. Depending on the type of license you have acquired or the subscription options you have signed up for, these modules may not be available in your VisualTime application.

Catering & Food Services

It allows users to request Catering & Food Services for their activities, meetings and reservations.

Furnishings

It allows users to request specific consumable items for their activities.

Customer Relationship Management

It allows power users to manage customer contacts,  charge per room or resource usage and generate invoices.

Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange integration

With this module the VisualTime users can use the Outlook Global Address Book and Microsoft Exchange directory and book Outlook meetings directly from VisualTime.

Web access module

Also referred to as the Web Viewer, this module allows users to schedule rooms and resources via their web browser. An organization can enable this feature for extranet access.

Personnel requests

This module allows organizations with complex activities to manage special requests for personnel, contractors and staff in conjunction with the scheduled resources.

Generic Services

The Generic Services module is designed to allow the seamless integration of any type of requests and services for any organization. Any type of services can be defined via this module.

Reporting and Business Intelligence

The Advanced Reporting module allows the integration of industry standard reports and dashboards into the VisualTime application. The users can design and publish their own custom reports based on the Visualtime database without any limitation.

LDAP and ICAL integration

For large organizations using LDAP authentication and calendaring systems based on industry standard protocols, VisualTime can act as a plug in to these systems and reuse this information, thus minimizing changes to your IT infrastructure.

Multiple Sites

For organizations with multiple physical sites or where access to your resources requires granular security, the Multiple Site module enhances your Visualtime application and allows delegated administration of your resource pool.

Running VisualTime

The VisualTime client is a rich internet access application (RIAA) designed to run on the Windows operating system.  It can be launched from a local folder on your computer, from a network share or from a web page. It does not require any installation or administrative privileges and no additional components need to be installed on the local computer.

To access VisualTime:

  1. Double-click on the Visualtime icon provided by your application administrator.
  2. Depending upon the application settings you may need to provide the server address

  1. Type in the server address as instructed by the application administrator and then click Connect.
  2. When prompted, enter your user name and password and press the  Login button.

Configuring VisualTime for first time use

Once the application has been installed on your server or - in the case of an online subscription – once the application you have been granted access to the application, you should then configure it according to your business requirements.

When the application is first installed, the installation program creates and configures automatically a minimum of settings so an administrator can log in and complete the configuration according to your business needs.

Once the program has been installed on your servers, there is an initial site and a single location created by default.

There are two user profiles automatically created: Administrator and Public. The Administrator profile can not be deleted.

By default, the installation program creates two users: admin and guest.

Here is the suggested order of configuring the various modules:

  1. Create and define the site(s).
  2. Create and define the location(s).
  3. Define the user profiles.
  4. Configure the application global settings.
  5. Define the user accounts and the authentication method.
  6. Configure email templates.
  7. Define and configure Resource types (optional).
  8. Define and configure Activity types (optional).
  9. Create and configure the resources.

Note:

It is important to plan your application configuration prior to starting to implement it.

Once you have assigned your location to a particular site, the particular location can not be re-assigned to a different site. This will also affect your resources as each resource is assigned to a location therefore the resources can not be assigned to a different site. If you need to move your locations or resources between sites you will need to recreate them.

Logging via the Management Console

When you access the application for the very first time it’s necessary to  login to VisualTime Management Console in order to configure it for use within your organization.

To run VisualTime in administrative mode select Management Console from the application’s menu and login as Admin.

Once logged in to the Management Console you will see the control panel with icons which will give you access to each of the administrative modules:

 

Below are the suggested configuration steps in order to configure your application for the first time use. You can also develop your own implementation plan and still achieve the same results.

Creating and defining your sites

From the main control panel Select the Sites icon.

The minimum required information for each site is:

-          Site Name – choose the desired name for your site.

-          Time Zone – enter this value in minutes as offset from GMT.  For example, if the site’s geographic location has an offset of (-5) hours enter -300.

-          DST Start and DST End – select the date (month and day) and the time when the Daylight Savings Time is observed for that particular site

-          Optional – enter the site details: Address, City, ZIP, State, Country, Description.

Note:

In order to be able to create and effectively use more than one site you need to have acquired a license for the Multiple Sites module.

Create and define your locations

From the main control panel Select the Locations icon.

Enter the name of your location and a short description as desired.

From the drop down list select the Site to which this location belongs.

Defining user profiles

In the VisualTime system each user needs to be assigned a User Profile. This allows managing the permissions and the security settings assigned to a particular profile and subsequently all the users having that particular profile will inherit these settings.

Permissions are never granted to the individual user but rather to its profile. If you need to crate a unique user with a very particular set of permissions, you will need to create profile first, then assign that profile to the user.

To access the user profiles screen, In the Configuration panel, select User Profiles.

On the General tab you will need to enter the following information:

Profile Name – type in the name of the profile you want to create.

Can approve activities for the following resource group – select a resource group from the drop down list, All or None. This setting is typically used to allow a service provider to selectively approve activities that have service requests based on the group to which the resource belongs to. You will need to manually create the required resource groups prior to configure this setting.

Request restricted services – This setting will allow the users under the profile to request services which are marked as Restricted.  Not to be confused with the Unavailability of a service on specific dates or specific hours.

Access restricted resources – This setting will allow a user to open activities which are marked as Private.

View reports – This setting will allow a user to access the Advanced Reporting Modile and view reports and dashboards.

Manage participants – This allows a user to add /edit Contacts.

CRM Manager -  A user who doesn't have this permission turned on,  can not access the CRM functions.

Settings Manager - This allows a user to access the following modules under the Management Console: Configuration, Activity types, Email, User Profiles, Resource types, Resource features, Sites, Locations. A user who doesn't have this right turned on  can not access the Configuration panel and functions.

Security Manager - This allows a user to access the Users panel and  add/edit/delete users.

On the Security by site tab of the profile you can define a number of actions a user can perform – mostly around creating activities and scheduling. If you need to have very granular security over your resources although you have only one physical site, creating subdivision of your site and breaking down a site into separate sites will allow you to create specific profiles and allow specific actions for certain of your users.

Browse –Applies to Calendar, Visual Explorer, Sites, Locations, Resources

If the user does not have this permission he/she will not see the site and the subsequent resources and services.

Create activities - Applies to Calendar, Activity creation.

If a user doesn't have this right he/she can view the activities on the calendar but can't launch the activity form via a resource located on a denied site. If the user launches the new activity form via  the toolbar, the selection tree on the activity form will prevent him/her from selecting a site where he/she has no permissions to do so.

View other’s activities – Applies to the activity creation and editing process

A user who doesn't have this right can view/ browse the activities on the calendar but can not launch the activity form if he's not the owner of the existing activity.

Change other's activities – Applies to the activity creation and editing process

A user who doesn't have this right can launch the activity form if he's not the owner of an existing activty but the activity will be read-only.

Manage service requests – Applies to services and service items that have been requested for an activity.

A user who doesn't have this permission can not view the list of requests for that site.

Such a user can launch the activity form for an existing activity but can not set the activity to Approved or Confirmed.

Manage services – Applies to Services, Catalogs

A user who doesn't have this permission can not add/edit services or catalog items.

Manage resources – Applies to resources.

A user who doesn't have this permission can not add resources or edit the properties of an existing resource.

Resource types

The Resource Type property is a mandatory property of each resource.

Having defined the type of resource for each or the resources will allow you to search an filter resources based on that. The resource types can be associated or otherwise called resource categories.

You will need to define at least on resource type in your VisualTime system.

Resource Features

Depending on the type of resource and the complexity of your setup, you may want to define resource features and associate these features to each type of resource you have.

Having resource features is optional and allows you to quickly navigate, filter and search through your resource pool.

Any element that can be assigned to a resource as a property, it can be then defined as a feature and assigned to one or more types of resources. For example, the feature called Air Conditioning can be associated with both rooms and cars, while a feature called Has Hardwood Floors would be typically associated only with resources in the room category.

Activity Types

Having activity types in your VisualTime system is optional but allows you to quickly filter and navigate the calendar while searching for activities of a certain category or type.

Each activity type can be associated with a combination of colors which becomes visible while your users are browsing the calendar. This color coding system allows you to visually determine the category of a certain activity without having to open it.

Resource Groups

For convenience and to allow only certain activities to be confirmed by certain users, you can create resource groups and then assign each resource to a particular group. When the user’s profiles are defined you can specify for each user profile which group of resources they are allowed to confirm activities for.

Email templates

The email templates section allows an administrator to define email formatting as well as conditional email generation when an activity is scheduled or modified.

The Email templates configuration screen is comprised of three main sections, each of them being contained on a separate tab: the Field selection, Formatting and Activity approval and confirmation.

The Field selection area is where you can configure the content of the email messages to be sent to each one of the following actors:

Activity owner – the user who creates the activity.

Main resource – typically the resource administrator for the main resource where the activity is scheduled to take place.

Resources – typically the resource administrators for the additional resources (if any) reserved for the activity.

Attendees – typically any contacts and participants that are invited to the activity.

Providers – if any services are requested for the activity, the service providers of the requested services.

Each one of these five tabs represents a number of distinct email templates which will parsed to generate the email message to be sent to each one the actors involved in the scheduled activity.

When a new activity is scheduled or an existing activity is being modified, the email generation routine monitors the changes that occur in the properties of that activity and based on what’s changed, the appropriate email template is parsed and the email message is generated.

As an application administrator, you have the choice to select the specific sections of the activity that will be evaluated during the process and then you can insert specific fields in the email message based on each particular section of the activity that has been affected the modifications.

The Change sections that can be evaluated to generate an email for each one of the five actors  are listed below:

To build the email template you need to select first the appropriate Change section from the left and then add it to the template on the right side by clicking the > button.

Once a Change section is added to the template it will no longer be visible on the left list of available Change sections and it will become visible on the template. Please note that you may need to scroll down the list to see the newly added section.

To remove one of the Change sections from the template just click the < button or if you want to remove all the change sections click the << button on the screen.

Note: if you remove all the change sections from the template this will clear the contents of the template and the template will be deleted.

For each change section that is included in the template, you need to define the text that will be included in the subject and in the body of the email.

There are five different type of fields that can be added to each change section in the email template. These fields are listed on the left side of the template under the Fields area:

The following field types are available:

The Body Text, Subject Text and Section Title text fields are as their names imply, elements of text that will be inserted in the body and subject fields of the email message. The Section Title text can only be inserted in the body of the message.

The variable fields can be inserted in the email body or in the email subject and are  predefined elements that can be selected from a drop down list and are automatically calculated by the VisualTime system when the emails are generated.

The variable fields can be any of the following:

When an activity is scheduled or modified, the VisualTime system reads the email template and generates an email message based on the elements found in the activity.

The creation of the following activity called “Client meeting” as a new activity will trigger the parsing of the email template and the email generated will look like in the picture below.

The activity scheduling screen.

The scheduled activity as it is displayed in the VisualTime client.

The email template parsed when the activity was first scheduled.

The email message generated based on the above template.

 

The Formatting tab of the Email Templates definition screen allows the VisualTime system administrator to define the email formatting, including fonts, colors backgrounds, etc.

The last section of the Email Templates definition screen allows the administrator to select which one of the five actors – Activity owner / creator, Main resource, Additional resources, Attendees / Participants and Service providers – are to receive an email when an activity has been Approved, Confirmed, reverted to Tentative status or reverted to Approved from Confirmed status.

Settings

The Settings section allows you to control various global settings of the application. Typically, all the configuration settings are stored in the VisualTime system database and loaded at startup by the application server, mail service, web viewer, rich client, etc.

There are different categories of settings each category belonging to a particular module or business function within the application. Some of the settings are read only and should not be modified by direct editing of the database as they may affect the well functioning of the application.

Below is a description of the different categories, settings and their values.

Activity form

This category controls which fields are displayed on the Activity form. These fields are:

Client Code – Each activity can be assigned to a particular client having a particular client code as required by your business practice.

Type ID – Each activity can be assigned a particular type or category. This will allow you distinguish between activities, create custom reports based on activity types and also easily spot certain activities based on the particular color defined for each activity type.

Cost Center - Each activity can be assigned to a particular cost center as required by your business practice.

File ID - Each activity can be assigned to a particular file having a particular number as defined by your business practice.

Requester – The requester of an activity can be a different person than the user scheduling the activity.

Notes – The Notes field allows the user creating the activity to enter additional information related to that activity.

End Time – The end time of the activity is typically calculated automatically based on the start time and duration.

Calendar

The calendar category allows to display or hide the following type of views:

5 days – working week view

Week View

Month View

Quick View

Also,  you can control the Starting day of the week displayed in all the calendars. By default the starting day of the week is Monday.

Day view

Number of columns to be displayed in the Timeline view. By default this is set to 5.

Colors for each of the three activity statuses: Tentative, Approved and Confirmed.

Calendar refresh rate: the number of seconds between automatic refreshes of the calendar. By default this value is set to 60 seconds.

General

Send ICS Emails for time changes

This allows to send emails in ICS format  rather than HTML format. If the users receiving the email have an ICS capable email and calendaring application this will allow them to automatically create an appointment in their calendar upon accepting the invitation.

External resources tab name

This setting controls the label displayed on the tab for external resources. By default this value is set to Contacts.

Allow conflicts

If this setting is ON, the application will allow the creation of activities with a Tentative status. If your business practice requires an administrator to approve the scheduling of each resource, this setting should be ON. This allows several activities having a tentative status to be in conflict with each other, thus creating an activity waiting list for the same resource. Only one activity can be then Approved. An approved activity can not be in conflict with another approved activity.

The day starts at

The hour and minute of the day used to display the start of the day view and timeline view.

The day ends after

This setting controls the hour and minute of the day used to display the end of the day view and timeline view. The value represents the number of minutes between the start and end of the day. Eg, a setting of 1440 represents 24 hours.

Time intervals

This allows an administrator to control the default interval in minutes used to display the timeline view. The possible values are: 5, 10, 15, 30 and 60 minutes. The default is 30 minutes.

Add activity with a Single Click

When this setting is ON, a user can create and activity with a single mouse click. By default this setting is OFF.

Activity text line

In timeline view mode, each activity can have a label which by default is the activity name. It is possible to display the value contained in any field from the Activities table by inserting the “?” character followed by the exact field name from the VisualTime system database. The activity rectangle allows 2 lines of text to be displayed and each line is controlled by the corresponding Activity text line 1 and Activity text line 2 settings.

VisualTime version

This value of this setting is created automatically when the application is first installed.

When the application is upgraded on the server, the upgrade process increments this value accordingly.

This setting is read only and can not be modified by the application administrator.

Microsoft Exchange server address

This is the IP address  or host name of your Microsoft Exchange server or LDAP server.

If the client can not detect the address of the LDAP server automatically, this value will be used instead.

Confirm Drag and Drop operations

This setting allows an administrator to disable or enable any warning or confirmation messages a user receives when moving an activity with the mouse.

Maximum picture size

This setting imposes a limit to the file size of the pictures the users upload for resources, sites, etc. By default this field is set to 350 KB and can not be modified.

Default user name

This setting allows to control the default user name which is pre-populated in the login screen. By default this is set to “guest”.

Default connection URL

The default connection URL will be transmitted in a cookie and set into the user’s browser when the user navigates to the VisualTime system home page.

If the user uses Internet Explorer and allows the cookies to be set, the VisualTime rich client will read the value of the cookie upon launch and will try to connect to this URL.

If a VisualTime server is not found at this address, the rich client will present a dialog box where the connection URL can be manually entered by the user.

Display big pictures

By turning this setting ON, the resource form will allow an authorized user to see the full picture of the resource.

Wrong password attempts threshold

The number of wrong passwords an user can enter before the intruder prevention system is activated.

Files storage folder

The application server can cache pictures and other files in order to prevent excessive load on the database server. The setting represents a path relative to the application server. This path needs to be writeable by the user impersonating the ASP.NET application. By default this is set to C:\Windows\temp.

Help link

Controls the Help link from the main menu of the rich client. By default this is set to http://www.visualtime.com. An administrator can define a custom URL pointing to particular page on your organization’s web site and containing instructions for the users on how to use the application, resource and room scheduling policies, etc.

Disable additional resources open messages

When an activity contains more than one resource, each one of the resources involved in the activity are scheduled together in a single activity. When the users are browsing the schedule and open an activity, a special warning message can be displayed to the users indicating the location of the activity they just opened is not the selected resource but a different one.

When this setting is ON, no messages are displayed to the user.

Blackout period

The minimum interval between the current time and the selected time, after which an activity can no longer be created or modified. The value is expressed in number of minutes. Eg: if the blackout period is set to 120 minutes, a user trying to schedule an activity starting tomorrow at 6 PM can not create or modify this activity after 4 PM tomorrow.

Holidays color

The color used to highlight a holiday date in the various date navigators and date pickers across the application. The value is expressed decimal format. For example, the value for white is 16777215 while the value for black is 0.

Reports generation URL

If the Advanced Reporting module is enabled, this is the URL where the reports are generated from. By default this value is configured automatically when the VisualTime is first installed on the server and point to http://servername/reports.

Reports generation temporary folder

If the Advanced Reporting module is enabled,  this setting controls the working folder where the application server generates reports. By default this is set to  C:\Windows\temp.

Enable only fixed duration activities.

If this setting is ON, the users can not control the duration of the scheduled activities, all activities are being created of equal duration.

Resource preparation duration

If the fixed duration activities are enabled, this setting controls the amount of time automatically added to a scheduled activity for resource preparation before the activity starts. The value is expressed in number of minutes.

Resource shutdown duration

If the fixed duration activities are enabled, this setting controls the amount of time automatically added to a scheduled activity for resource shutdown after the activity ends. The value is expressed in number of minutes.

Amount of time for fixed duration activities

If the fixed duration activities are enabled, this setting controls the duration of the activities, expressed in number of minutes.

Mailer

Mail from

This is the email address that will appear in the From: field of the email messages generated by the VisualTime system.

SMTP Server

The IP address or hostname of the SMTP server used by your organization.

SMTP timeout

The number of seconds after which a timeout will occur in the SMTP communication between the VisualTime SMTP service and the SMTP server.

SMTP user name

If the SMTP server requires authentication, this setting controls the user name the

VisualTime SMTP service will use to communicate with the SMTP server.

SMTP password

If the SMTP server requires a password, this setting controls the password  the

VisualTime SMTP service will use to communicate with the SMTP server.

Log Level

The value controls the verbosity of the logging produced by the VisualTime SMTP service. Used only for debugging purposes.

Scan frequency

The interval in number of seconds, when the VisualTime SMTP service scans the email queue table.

Cleanup interval

The interval in number of hours, when the email queue is automatically purged.

SMTP maximum retries

The maximum number of times the VisualTime SMTP service will try to send a message before discarding it.

Cleanup time

The time and minute of the day when the email queue is automatically purged.

SMTP port

The TCP port number VisualTime SMTP service will use to communicate with the SMTP server.

Use secure connection

If this setting is ON, the VisualTime SMTP service will use secure sockets to communicate with the SMTP server.

Scheduling

Farthest schedulable date

This setting prevents the users to schedule activities beyond this date.

Maximum timeframe

This setting prevents the users to schedule activities beyond the specified number of days counting from the current date.

Allow scheduling on holidays

This allows or prevents the users to schedule activities occurring on holiday dates.

Show resources color

This setting allows the rendering of each resource in its own color. It applies to Day, 5 Days, Week and Month views.

Web Viewer

If the Web Viewer module is enabled, the following settings control the title of each one of the following web pages : Validate account page, Web client default page, Login page, Create new account page.

 

In addition to that, the administrator can configure the values for the following fields:

Management console operations

In the Management console, an administrator can perform the following operations:

User accounts

From the Management console screen, select the Users shortcut on the left.

The default user list is presented as a search results screen. You can customize the appearance of this list by sorting the crows based on each one of the column headers, change the column order, etc.

 

 

The Guest and Administrator accounts are built in accounts and can not be renamed. In addition to that, the Administrator account’s security profile can not be changed or disabled.

 

 

In order to create a new user you ned to enter the following information:

Login, First name, Last Name, Email address, Home site, Location, Service provider, Security profile and also set a password for the user.

 

A user can be prevented from logging in by checking ON the Disabled field. 

A user can be made a Superuser by checking ON the Superuser field. A user having the Superuser property turned ON, can ignore all of the application’s implicit business rules.

Resetting passwords

Each user has the ability to change it’s own password via the Change Password menu link.

In addition to that, an administrator can reset a user’s password by selecting the user from the users list and  opening the user’s record for editing. To reset the password select Reset password option from the Edit user screen.

Active users

If an administrator needs to disconnect a user and force that particular user to log off the Connections administration applet comes in very handy.

 

The following information is reported in the Connections screen:

When the application is licensed per user you may find that the number of connected users is equal to the number of licensed connections and in order to free up some licenses you can forcibly disconnect users.

Note:

If the user is logged in via the Management Console it does not consume a license.

To disconnect a user simply select it’s connection and press Disconnect user. Once this is done, the connection state will appear as Disconnected and the license consumed by that particular will be released. At that point another user will be able to log in.

However if the disconnected user is actively using the application at that time, he or she will transparently regain the connection and re-acquire the license previously released.

In order to prevent a user from gaining access back to the application an administrator needs to select that particular user via Users applet in the Configuration panel and mark it as disabled.

Performing a remote backup

The VisualTime system database is stored in a MS SQL Server database and it can be backed up and restored by the database administrator using the standard MS SQL Server backup and restore utilities. It is recommended that the VisualTime system database is backed up regularly.

In certain situations, like prior to an upgrade or before performing administrative changes to the system, a VisualTime administrator may want to perform an ad-hoc backup of the database.

This can be done via the Managemnt console in the Configuration panel by selecting the Backup icon.

This will launch the backup procedure and copy of the database will be created in the default backup folder of the database server.

Note:

In certain situations, notably if the database administrator has disabled the backup or remote administration functionality of the database engine, the backup procedure will fail. If this is the case, the only way to perform a backup is through the means of the database administrator person.

Changing the license activation key

The license activation key contains the type of licenses and the business modules acquired in encoded form.

When extending, upgrading or when acquiring more licenses, it is necessary to change the license activation key stored in the database. Once this is done, the application needs to be restarted in order for the new license key to come in effect.

Note:

Only one license key can be active at any one time. Adding a new license key will replace the old key. If your organization has acquired additional licenses you will be provided with a new license activation key reflecting the old licenses and the new licenses accumulated under your account.

Managing resources

An administrator must create resources prior to the users to be able to schedule activities, reserve rooms, resources, equipment, etc.

To create resources, a user with sufficient permissions needs to log in user mode in VisualTime and access the Administration panel via the toolbar.

Under the administration panel select Resources which will display the list of resources defined overall in the system.

In this screen you can perform a filtering search for resources by specifying the following criteria:

You can display resources in Quick View  mode or in list mode. In Quick View mode the name and the thumbnail picture of the resource is displayed. In list mode you can sort and group resources by the column headers such as: Resource name, Description, Code, Location or Site.

To add or edit a resource select the Add or Edit button from the top of the screen.

The General tab of the resource editing form has the following fields:

Name – The resource name (mandatory).

Description – A brief description of the resource (optional).

Code – A code for the resource if your business practice requires resource codes (optional).

Hourly rate – If your business generates revenue for the period of time when the resource is reserved or scheduled for an activity you can use this field to assign an hourly rate (optional). Rate 2 and Rate 3 can be used for daily rates, etc. By running a report on the scheduled activity you will be able to effectively use these fields to calculate revenues, costs, etc.

Capacity – The resource capacity can help users to avoid overbooking a resource. For example when scheduling a room which has a capacity limited to 20 people, a user will not be able to add more than 20 attendees to that activity. This field is optional.

Email – The email address of the resource administrator. It’s a mandatory field.

Notes – Any particular notes regarding the resource, it’s capacity, rates, acheduling procedures can be entered here. The notes will be displayed to the user when creating an activity in the activity form (optional).

Primary resource – If a resource can accept additional resource scheduled in the same activity this option must be turned ON when creating the resource. A resource not having the Primary resource property turned ON will not be able to be scheduled as a main resource in an activity.

Joint resource – If a resource has another resource defined as joint resource, scheduling an activity for that resource will automatically book the joint resource as an additional resource. This is useful in situations where certain resources are joined to other resources or embedded within other resources.  For example, a larger conference room can be made of two smaller rooms next to each other. When reserving the larger room for an activity, the smaller rooms are also reserved automatically. However, when reserving one of the smaller rooms the other small room is still available.

Type – The type can be selected from the drop down list. The resource type is mandatory.

Location – The resource needs to be assigned to a particular physical location (mandatory).

Group – The resources may be part of a certain resource group. Only certain user profiles have the ability to manage a specific groups of resources.

Preparation and Shutdown times – The amount of time required to prepare and shutdown the resource for an activity. For example, if the resource is a vacation rental, the preparation time can include the amount of time to clean the property, etc, while the shutdown time can be the amount of time required to verify the premises after the guests have left, etc.

Restricted – If a resource is marked as Restricted, only users whose profile is allowed to schedule restricted resources are able to create activities for these resources. For example, if an organization has VIP rooms which should not be available for scheduling by generic users, this property will allow only certain users to reserve these kind of rooms.

Disabled –This property will prevent the resource from being displayed on the roster.

Picture 1 and 2 – The Picture 1 will be used to display the thumbnail of the picture in Quick View mode as well as in List mode in the VisualTime Web Access module.

The maximum size of the picture is defined in the Settings applet via the management console.

Color – This is the color that will be displayed in the calendars for the particular resource.

Unavailable - This property will prevent the resource from being scheduled.

The Details tab allows configuring the following properties for the resource:

Capabilities – Select each one of the services listed here to allow service requests for that resource.  If a resource does not have any of the services checked ON, when scheduling an activity with that resources as a main resource, no services will be available for request when reserving the resource.

Allow any service – Turning ON this property will allow any service to be available for request , when scheduling an activity with that resource as a main resource.

Features – To facilitate filtering, browsing and resource selection based on certain features, each resource type has a set of predefined features as defined by the VisualTime administrator. Each individual resource must then be configured with the appropriate features which are specific to the resource.

Unavailability  - Each resource can be restricted from participating in activities on certain dates. For example holidays, cleaning and maintenance dates, etc, can be defined as unavailable dates for that resource.

 

Copyright notice

VisualTime is a trademark of Visualtime Corporation.

Microsoft Outlook, Active Directory, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

 

© Visualtime Corporation - 2011

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