RealTime IT News

Microsoft Airs Project 2002 for the Enterprise

Acknowledging the lucrative possibilities its software holds in the enterprise, Microsoft Corp. Tuesday made its move into the project management niche for businesses with the launch of Microsoft Project 2002.

The application, announced and demonstrated at the Networld+Interop 2002 in Las Vegas, marks the latest version of its project management software that was originally offered for individual users some 10 years ago as Microsoft Project 1-4x. As with most of its software, there has been a Project 98 and 2000 refresher.

In keeping with its newer strategy to power its software with products from its .NET strategy, Project 2002 includes a separate .NET Enterprise Server product that allows collaboration functionality, as well as portfolio and resource management capabilities.

Working together under the Project 2002 umbrella are the Microsoft Project Professional, Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft Project Web Access portal applications, which enable portfolio and resource management, real-time reporting, and scenario analysis to keep business executives up to speed on the status of in-house projects. Because such project information is shared through the Project Web Access portal, users are only required to have Project Server Client Access Licenses (CALs) to access information and collaborate across organizations, as opposed to multiple licenses.

Noting that project management tools are becoming more prevalent in the enterprise, Gartner Inc. Research Director Matt Light said this about Project 2002: "As this platform extends to enable enterprise resource profiling and allocation, people can build on that for better collaboration, to improve project prioritization and get a better handle on project risks and costs."

Light told InternetNews.com distinctive features from Project's prior versions are the addition of full-fledged "resource management" features, integration with Sharepoint and Visio as well as flexible packaging that retains MS Project "Standard" as well as the high-end "Professional" option. Light also said he expects the market for project/resource management market to touch upon $2 billion by 2006.

Project 2002 supports XML and SOAP, which lets developers fuse the Microsoft Project Server with other applications and databases, and use it as a platform for building applications geared toward specific customer needs.

Microsoft expects to deliver the final version of the Microsoft Project 2002 product line in June 2002. Retail pricing will be $599 for Microsoft Project Standard 2002; $999 for Microsoft Project Professional 2002; and $1,499 for Microsoft Project Server 2002, which includes five Microsoft Project Server Client Access Licenses. Additional Microsoft Project Server Client Access Licenses will be $179 each.

Microsoft will hold Project 2002 launch events starting next month.