Polaris PSA Transition Guide

Polaris PSA is a state of the art Professional Services Automation solution. It’s aimed at Professional Services Organizations (PSOs), and offers advanced project management, resourcing, budgeting, billing and invoicing, and analytics capabilities.

Polaris PSA can be used alone, or in conjunction with other Replicon products. It includes full expense and basic time off functionality.

If you’re already using a Replicon ‘Gen3’ product, you may be able to upgrade to Polaris PSA to take advantage of its new functionality.

This guide is for existing Replicon customers who are considering upgrading to Gen3, to help you decide if Polaris PSA is right for you, and to help you understand the upgrade process.

If you have any questions about Polaris PSA, the upgrade process, or the contents of this guide, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Replicon Support.

What’s New in Polaris PSA

Polaris PSA includes functionality you’re probably familiar with from Gen3, such as time and expense tracking, client management, and project planning and deliver. However, it also offers many new features, including:

SmartBeats

Managers can track the pulse of their projects using SmartBeats. These quick and easy task progress updates supply instant feedback, and give managers real-time data and an early warning if a project is veering off course.

Refer to All about SmartBeats for more information.

Request fulfillment resourcing

Gen3 offered a kind of resource fulfillment, via placeholders. But, Polaris PSA kicks it up a notch, allowing project managers to specify the role, number of resources, group assignment of resources, percent allocation, allocation time span, and comments. Then, resource managers can find suitable resources using SmartMatch, or through manual selection, and shelve unavailable roles as To Be Hired.

Refer to All about Resourcing for more information.

SmartMatch

Resource management can be fun and efficient with our SmartMatch feature, which automatically ranks resources based on how well their skills, availability, and other resource criteria match resource requests.

Refer to Fulfilling resource requests for more information.

SmartBudget

Our SmartBudget tool has one purpose: to help you maximize profits. SmartBudget takes the quesswork out of setting rates by accounting for true costs, then giving you the exact rates that will yield your desired profit margin.

Refer to Maximizing profit with SmartBudget for more information.

Bill plans

In Polaris PSA, you create a bill plan for each project by choosing and customizing one or more plan types – time- or milestone-based, recurring fixed bid, flat-rate, or expense markup. Then, billables that match your precise requirements generate automatically, and can be added to invoices using our slick new invoicing system.

Refer to Adding a bill plan to a project for more information.

Analytics dashboards

View new project, resource, and financial business intelligence dashboards that are integrated into the Polaris PSA interface, so you can quickly understand and act on trends, and gain clear visibility into profits, margins and total hours, on a per project, client, or program basis.

Refer to Gaining business intelligence using your Polaris data for more information.

Governance

Polaris PSA provides governance throughout the entire lifecycle of your project planning, execution, and financials. Standardizing how projects, resources, billing, and other processes are managed across your business keeps efficiency high and metrics consistent.
Refer to Project, Resource & Financial Governance for more information.

Mobile apps

You can use the Polaris PSA mobile app, available for iOS and Android, to manage projects and resources, record and accept SmartBeats, and carry out billing and invoicing. Plus, the Replicon Mobile app can also be used with Polaris PSA, for recording time and expenses, managing users, and approving timesheets and expenses.

Refer to Using the Polaris PSA mobile app for more information about the new app.

Top of page

About the upgrade process

While Polaris PSA offers some similar functionality to our Gen3 Professional Services products (TimeBill and Professional Services Automation), many aspects of these features behave differently in Polaris PSA. Therefore, it’s critical that you understand how Polaris PSA works before you decide to upgrade.

Upgrade requirements

Polaris PSA is a Professional Services Automation product. It replaces certain Replicon new suite products, and is compatible with others. In all cases, your existing data can be upgraded to Polaris PSA.

Refer to Choosing your products for more information on the Gen3 products.

Product

Compatible with Polaris PSA?

Professional Services Automation

TimeBill Plus

TimeBill QuickStart

Polaris PSA features replace its functionality

TimeCost Plus

Project Portfolio Management

ProjectTime

ProjectTime Plus

We’re developing a Polaris PPM product that should offer an upgraded version of features available in these products. Please contact your Customer Success Manager for more information.

Workforce Management

TimeAttend Plus

TimeAttend QuickStart

Can be added to Polaris PSA if you require payroll or scheduling functionality

Just enabling one of these licenses won’t work, your existing instance must be upgraded

TimeOff Plus

TimeOff Enterprise

Can be added to Polaris PSA if you require advanced time off settings (i.e. accruals)

Just enabling one of these licenses won’t work, your existing instance must be upgraded

Expense Plus

Expense QuickStart

Not applicable - Polaris PSA includes equivalent expense functionality, by default

 

Can we upgrade to Polaris PSA from RepliconPSM or TimeBill (legacy Gen3) or a Gen2 product? You can, but the upgrade may require multiple steps. Please talk to your Customer Success Manager or Replicon Support if you’re using a legacy product and wish to upgrade to Polaris PSA.

Deciding whether or not to upgrade

Polaris PSA is different from Replicon Gen3 in a number of ways. Therefore, before you decide to upgrade, we strongly recommend that you:

  • Review this guide closely, paying particular attention to the TimeBill Plus features that aren’t available in Polaris PSA
  • Talk to your Customer Success Manager or Replicon Support about whether you’d be an upgrade candidate, and ask them any questions you have.
  • Try out Polaris PSA to familiarize yourself with the new features and changes, and to confirm it meets your needs and expectations before upgrading.

You can try Polaris out using your company’s data -- talk to your Customer Success Manager or Replicon Support about setting up a trial. We’ll upgrade a backup of your existing Gen3 instance to allow your organization to test the new features, which will allow you to understand how Polaris PSA works before you commit to upgrading.

When you’re ready to move forward with the upgrade, talk to your Customer Success Manager or Replicon Support.

Preparing to upgrade

Replicon will upgrade your instance and set up your system to your specifications. So, once you decide to upgrade, you’ll need to:

  • Make a few decisions about how you want to use Polaris PSA, and about how it should be configured. Review the Setup checklist for new Polaris PSA features section for details.
  • If you have any custom reports or other type of customizations, contact your Customer Success Manager to develop a plan on how to move your customizations to Polaris PSA.
  • Work with Replicon’s Implementation team to finalize your Polaris PSA configuration, and set an upgrade schedule.

During the upgrade

During the upgrade, your Replicon system will be disabled to prevent users from making changes. You may want to notify your users the system will be unavailable.

Unless otherwise mentioned in this document, all of your data and related settings will be upgraded Polaris PSA as-is.

After the upgrade is complete

After upgrading, your users can log in at https://polarislogin.replicon.com. Their User Name and Password will remain the same, and the Company name will remain the same.

If you’re set up to use SSO in Gen3, we’ll help you set up SSO in your Polaris PSA instance after you’ve upgraded.

If you need help using Polaris PSA, we have extensive documentation available for all roles, including administrators, project managers, timesheet users, in our Polaris online help. You can also contact Replicon Support if you need additional help.

Top of page

Setup checklist for new Polaris PSA features

If you’re upgrading to Polaris PSA, our implementation team will work with you on configuring Polaris-specific settings to match your requirements.

Below is a checklist of decisions you’ll need to make about how certain new features in Polaris PSA should be configured.

Projects and Billing

Decide which projects should be categorized as Managed and Unmanaged

All projects in Polaris PSA are categorized as either managed or unmanaged.

Typically, managed projects are ones you need to actively work on and monitor, while unmanaged are projects that you don’t have to actively monitor.

For example, a project with billable time and budgets would likely be managed, whereas internal, non-billable administrative projects would typically be unmanaged.

Managed and unmanaged projects display in separate lists you can toggle between in the Polaris interface. The managed list displays by default.

All upgraded projects will be categorized as Managed, so they're visible by default. You can move projects to Unmanaged later if you choose.

Refer to What are managed vs unmanaged projects? for more information.

Some customers use this feature to distinguish between upgraded projects and projects created newly in Polaris PSA.

Decide which projects will use Polaris bill plans and rate cards

Bill plans is a new concept in Polaris. They allow you to easily set all of the criteria that determine what amounts are billable, and when they are billable, for each project.

Rate cards are where project rates are set for a project in Polaris PSA.

Bill plans and rate cards are required in all projects created in Polaris PSA.

Bill plans and rate cards are not available in upgraded projects, and cannot be added to upgraded projects. Therefore, if you want to use bill plans or rate cards with existing Gen3 projects, our implementation team will create a new project based on each existing project that requires this functionality. You will need to decide which projects require these features, and their bill plan and rate settings.

Refer to Updating basic summary settings for a project and Adding a bill plan to a project for more information  on rate cards and bill plans, respectively.

You can continue to use existing projects without a bill plan or rate card; all other project functionality should work as it did in Gen3 – resources can still enter time, old billing rates will still be available. Plus, you can edit billing rates, and assign billing rates to resources. And, projects can still be invoiced.

Tasks

Decide who owns each task

Task owner is a new concept in Polaris PSA. A task owner acts as a kind of team lead for a task, and they are the only resources who can record SmartBeats. Each task can only be assigned one owner, though as many other resources as are required can be allowed to record time against each task.

Refer to All about SmartBeats for more information on SmartBeats and their benefits.

If you plan to use SmartBeats with existing Replicon projects, you will need to decide who owns each existing task.

Once you’ve decided how you want to configure task owners, our implementation team will create those assignments for you.

Refer to Assigning resources to a task for more information on the task owner role.

Assign end dates to tasks via import, if you want a timeline graph to display for the tasks

In Polaris PSA, hours data displays on a bar graph for each task on each project’s Tasks tab, but only for tasks with end dates. However, upgraded tasks do not show hours worked in a timeline graph, unless the task has an end date.

If you want to see this graph, but end dates are missing, we can help you add end dates to tasks using Polaris’ task import feature.

Refer to Adding a task to a project for details on tasks in Polaris PSA.

Resourcing

Decide what billable status, rates, and skills each role should be assigned

As in Gen3, project roles are required in Polaris PSA for use in resourcing, since they define the type of resource that is required to work on a task.

However, in Polaris PSA, project roles are also used in rate plans for projects, and in SmartBudget plans. They’re also assigned directly to each resource, to assist in matching resources to projects and tasks.

Because of this additional functionality, each role can now be assigned a billable status (billable or non-billable), a billing rate, target utilization (used for SmartBudget), and skills (used for resourcing), in addition to cost rates, which were already available in Gen3.

Therefore, if you’re using Polaris PSA rate plans, SmartBudget, or resourcing, you’ll need ot decide the billable status for each role, along with its default rates (these can be overridden at the project level), and skills. Our implementation team will assist you, and will set up your instance with the configuration you define.

Refer to Setting up roles for more information.

Role rates now determine role-based billing for project team members; the rates defined on the Billing Rates page are not longer used.

Decide what role or roles each resource should be assigned

Roles weren’t assigned directly to resources in Gen3, since they were only used to define placeholders.

To use Polaris PSA for resourcing or SmartBudget, each resource must have a primary role assigned, and can also be assigned secondary roles.

Once you’ve determined which role or roles each resource should be assigned, our implementation team will set up your chosen role assignments in your Polaris instance.

Decide which role should be assigned to each task involved in resourcing

In Polaris PSA, each task is associated with a role, to aid in resourcing.

We’ll help you decide which role should be assigned to each task, and then we’ll set up those assignments for you.

Notifications

Decide which Polaris-specific notifications should be enabled, and to whom they should be assigned

Polaris PSA includes new notifications that inform users about resourcing-related actions they need to take, and what they’ve been allocated to work on.

These notifications will be disabled in your upgraded instance. You’ll need to decide which notifications you’d like to use, and who they should be assigned to. Then, our implementation team will configure these notifications for you.

All existing notifications and their assignments will be configured as they are in your Gen3 instance, when you’re upgraded.

Refer to Setting up resourcing notifications for more information.

All existing notifications and their assignments will be configured as they are in your Gen3 instance, when you’re upgraded.

Top of page

TimeBill Plus features that aren’t available in Polaris PSA

A few features in TimeBill Plus aren’t available in Polaris PSA. Please make note of the missing features listed below. Some we plan to add to our upcoming Polaris PPM cost management product, while others we have no immediate plans to add to the Polaris product line.

Please talk to your Customer Success Manager or Replicon Support if you have any questions or concerns about these features.

Unavailable feature

More information

Multiple client billing and costing (cost allocation and user’s choice)

Please tell your Customer Success Manager or Replicon Support if you require this functionality, so we can let you know when it comes available in Polaris PSA.

Cost type (Capex and Opex) categorization

Cost type is a costing feature, and should be available in Polaris PPM.

If you require the Capex and Opex categories, talk to your Customer Success manager. We may be able to meet your requirements.

Billing and Cost tabs

Billing and cost managers can no longer manage timesheets, expenses, and time off directly (including overriding approvals, deleting items, etc)

Please tell your Customer Success Manager or Replicon Support if you require this functionality.

Gen3 dashboards

You can use our built-in business analytics dashboards instead of the old dashboards.

Top of page

Where TimeBill Plus features are found in Polaris PSA

Refer to the table below for help in finding functionality from Gen3 in the Polaris PSA interface. Obsolete features are listed above.

End users

Field name

Example

My Replicon timesheets, time off bookings, and expenses

Timesheets, time off bookings, and expenses are available to end users in the My Work section

Target Billable Hours graph in timesheets

Target Billable Hours graph is available to end users in the My Work section

Supervisors and approvers

Field name

Example

Team > Approvals

The Approvals page is available to supervisors and project managers from the My Work section

Team > Timesheets
Team > Time Off
Team > Expenses

These pages are available to supervisors, but only if they also have Administrator permissions. They are located at Administration > Team.

Administrators

Field name

Example

Departments, employee types, and timesheet periods

If you’re using our old department and employee types (ones not based on groups), you’ll be automatically upgraded to use our new versions of those group types when you move to Polaris.

Refer to Setting up user groups for more information.

Billing managers

Field name

Example

Billing > Invoice

Invoicing actions are performed in the Financials section of Polaris PSA.

Project managers - Projects

Field name

Example

Skip Project Manager approval option in projects

The option is reframed as Project Manager Approval Required in Polaris PSA. You can view and edit this option by clicking Edit, then clicking the icon for Basic Info.

Program and Program Manager assignment in projects

Program assignment displays in the Summary > Basic Info section for a project, if you click the Edit button

You can’t assign a program manager at the project level in Polaris PSA; whoever manages the program the project is assigned to is the program manager.

Co-managers in projects

You can view and edit this option by clicking Edit, then clicking the icon for Basic Info.

Allow Time Entry against Task Only in projects

The option is reframed as Allow time entry against project in Polaris PSA. You can view and edit this option by clicking Edit, then clicking the icon for the Summary > Time & Expenses section.

Estimated Hours
Estimated Cost

These options are available in the Financials section, for each project.

The Billing Rates tab in projects

For updated projects, billing rates data is available on a project card labeled Billing Rates.

Any projects created in Polaris PSA will not have a Billing Rates card.

We can create new versions of Gen3 projects that are compatible with Polaris PSA’s rate cards and bill plans. Refer to the Setup Checklist above for more information.

Project managers - Tasks

Field name

Example

Task settings

Click the name of the task in Polaris PSA, and a panel showing task details will display. You can edit details by clicking the icon, or the Edit button for the project.

The Allow Time Entry and Time & Expense Entry options for tasks

These options are merged into a single Time & Expense Entry Allowed option in Polaris PSA, available in the task settings panel.

Status

The task open/closed status can be viewed and edited on the task settings panel

Assigned To

The Tasks main page in Polaris PSA shows the task owner. Plus, you can view and assign all resources allowed to enter time against the project on the Resourcing > Timesheet Access tab.

Actual vs Estimated

The task assignment bar shows the actual vs estimated hours worked.

Top of page

Appendix A: TimeBill Plus features currently being added to Polaris PSA

We’re currently working on adding the features listed below. If you need these features immediately upon upgrade, you should postpone upgrading until they are available.

We’ll update this document as these features are launched. Or, you can talk to your Customer Success manager or Replicon Support, and they can let you know when these features are available.

Feature being added

More information

Gen3 project statuses

Polaris PSA has new, configurable project statuses. We’re currently mapping the Gen3 statuses to the new Polaris ones, so statuses will be set with upgrade.

We’ll post which Gen3 and Polaris project statuses correspond, in this document, once this feature is ready.

You can update project statuses as desired, post upgrade, using Polaris’ import tool.

Invoice statuses (issued, draft, overdue)

 

Project-level invoice currency

These should soon be available. In the meantime, you can set the currency when you create an invoice.

Time Workbench

 

Top of page

Appendix B: Differences in Polaris PSA due to unavailable data

Because data required to fully populate certain Polaris PSA items isn’t available in Gen3, those items may look slightly different when upgraded, versus when newly-created in Polaris PSA.

Note these small differences, outlined in the table below.

Feature being added

More information

Upgraded tasks have no SmartBeat graph

The SmartBeat graph displays on the Tasks tab for a project, in the slideout summary panel. It shows work complete and remaining versus date.

This graph will display for any new project you create in Polaris that SmartBeats are recorded against, but is missing in upgraded projects.

Upgraded projects that a resource is allocated to won't display on their My Work list

In Polaris PSA, a resource’s My Work list shows which projects they’ve been allocated to work on.

If an allocation occurred in Gen3, the My Work list doesn’t have the data to populate that allocation, so it won’t display.

Roles aren't assigned to upgraded approved placeholder requests

All resourcing requests are upgraded from Gen3.

However, upgraded approved requests will not show a role when they display on the Resourcing tab in Polaris.

This is because, in Gen3, when a placeholder is replaced by a resource, and that allocation is approved, the request loses reference to the role that was replaced. Therefore, no role is available to associate with the request when it is upgraded to Polaris.

Cost data is missing from upgraded placeholder requests

Due to the differences in how roles work in Polaris PSA, the data required to calculate and display cost data on resource requests isn’t available. Therefore, upgraded submitted resource requests (placeholders in Gen3) have no requested cost, and upgraded approved resource requests have no allocated cost

Top of page