Why should I consider Project Server 2010?

Different business owners inside organizations are asked to take on more projects and initiatives with fewer resources. They are forced to look into cost-efficient ways to increase productivity.

There are different ways of looking at project management effectiveness, the first one, even before selecting the tool is to make sure that project managers are working in a consistent manner. They measure their project successes the same way, they use the same terminology and projects are aligned with overall business goals. This can be accomplished through process improvement initiatives and training. One way to understand where your company stands is to hire a professional to do a PM Maturity Level Assessment.

Now, once that is in place, which platform should be utilized? There are articles that will talk about the technical capabilities of many different tools, but does it make business sense? For Microsoft Project Server 2010 there are also many articles that go into detail about its business value, so what is the ROI?

Let’s start with credentials. This year Microsoft Project Server 2010 was rated really high with both the IDC MarketScape for IT Project and Portfolio Management Vendor Analysis and with Gartner’s MarketScope for Project and Portfolio Management Application reports.  Microsoft has come a long way since Project Server 2003. The tool is finally addressing the needs of project manager practitioners and less sophisticated users due to its easy integration with SharePoint and Microsoft Office Products alike.

The criteria evaluated by Gartner are:

  • Customer Experience
  • Offering Strategy
  • Product/Service
  • Business Model
  • Innovation
  • Market Understanding
  • Market Responsiveness and Track Record

Gartner also regarded Project Server 2010 as cost-competitive and highlighted having SharePoint as a foundation for workflow, document management and collaboration as a game-changing move for Microsoft.

For IDC, the main focus areas taken into consideration included enterprise IT PPM assessment and evaluation of emerging, flexible delivery models for SaaS and on demand. IDC also evaluates it from IT financial management and application life-cycle management.

According to IDC report, users that were interviewed opted for Project Server for reasons ranging from typical project management and time tracking with SharePoint collaboration to interest in Microsoft EPM for its strong portfolio management functionality.

Project Server also means easy access to the Microsoft Project knowledgeable base of users that facilitates ramp-up as well as access to qualified professionals, these professionals already bring a number industry best practices knowledge. This represents significant amount of saving when considering training to your work force.

Another good reason is that many corporations already have licenses for SharePoint, which make it extremely cost efficient when compared to competitors, and even if your company has not yet invested in SharePoint, you can still take advantage of Project Server 2010 on the cloud through providers such as BeMo. It is very easy to setup your own instance of Project Server and manage the number of users on demand.

Perhaps, an even more compelling reason to consider the adoption or migration to the Project Server is the perspective for the next releases. It is probably fair to say that before Project Server 2010, Microsoft had a lot to work on just to catch up with major players in this space. Well, that is no longer the case, Microsoft has caught up. Sure there are opportunities for improvements in areas such as project accounting and capacity planning as well as others. But keep in mind that no other company has evolved the product capability and features as quickly as Microsoft has done with Project Server in the past several years, and there is no reason to believe they will slow down. Which means, that you do get more return out of your investment as the product evolves.

Finally, the reasons why you might want to consider a PPM solution includes:

  • Increase visibility and control over projects
  • Manage the project activities and resource more efficiently
  • Address quickly and reduce the number of non-performing projects
  • Align work with strategic corporate objectives
  • Prioritize work based on financial results
  • Mitigate risk and measure results