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Microsoft Adds Portfolio to Project

Microsoft has selected one of its business partners to build out its own project-management software.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant plans to acquire, for an undisclosed amount, the software and intellectual property (IP) of portfolio-management vendor UMT, officials said Friday.

While details of the acquisition were not released, Microsoft said it intends to keep some UMT executives and a number of the software's development team. UMT, which has its own consulting arm, will continue to operate as a separate entity, the UMT Consulting Group.

The company intends to use the UMT software to expand Microsoft Office Enterprise Project Management (EPM), an application that manages projects within the enterprise. EPM tracks and rates the status of projects within the company, alerting business managers when they fall behind schedule or fail to meet other business requirements.

The software also keeps tabs on the resources used to keep projects moving, using dashboards to show managers how to best utilize their assets to the project on schedule.

EPM is based on Microsoft's Office Project Professional 2003 and Office Project Server 2003.

UMT's Portfolio Manager, which is certified by Redmond to work with Microsoft Project, keeps tabs on all the projects within the organization under one database.

It is made up of four components: Portfolio Builder, Portfolio Optimizer, Portfolio Planner and Portfolio Dashboard.

The software takes data from the general ledger, time-reporting and project-plans repositories to give its customers insight into the resources and costs involved with their many projects.

Microsoft will use that portfolio manager to keep track of the projects, or series of projects, created with Office Project. Until now, UMT customers have been using a Microsoft Project Server Gateway to link the projects created in the Project Server to the Portfolio Manager.

"With UMT's technology and portfolio framework, we will extend the Office EPM Solution to offer an end-to-end enterprise project and portfolio management solution," Chris Capossela, Microsoft information worker product management group corporate vice president, said in a statement.

"Through the acquisition, we will be able to more quickly deliver on our vision of bringing project and portfolio-management capabilities to all levels of an organization."