Microsoft: Work Management in a Sea Change

More records will be created over the next five years than have been created in total until now, Microsoft said.

SEATTLE—Changes to the work management business will be driven by the move towards standardized applications, transparency and accountability, the changing work force, and the notion of people always being on and connected and suffering from information overload.

So said Mike Angiulo, the general manager for Microsoft Office Project, during his opening keynote at its user conference here Oct. 29.

Underscoring the notion of information overload, Angiulo told the hundreds of attendees that more records will be created over the next five years than have been created in total until now, which was helping drive the trend toward heavily customized environments.

Deployments of Microsoft Office Project have gotten bigger as the project management industry itself expands and grows in importance, he said, noting that Project is also not just a horizontal productivity application, but is now far broader in reach and a true enterprise project management solution.

Project 2007, the current product, has concentrated on a number of investment areas, including: better visibility and insight, which would help align all work with corporate strategic objectives; driving broader adoption; extensibility and programming; and making it enterprise ready with features like the ability to scale up and out, server-side queuing and active cache, Angiulo said.

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Read more here about how Microsofts Office Project is expanding its reach.

Extending and integrating EPM (enterprise project management) has been achieved through the integration with SharePoint Server, which already has 85 million users and is becoming the de facto standard for how people collaborate, he said.

Amjad Farooq, the head of business improvement at British defense and security technology firm QinetiQ, said the company is undergoing change and, as part of that process, is using Microsofts EPM solution to help with that as it could be customized to fit QinetiQs needs.

"That solution has helped bring us a real-time view of resource availability that is transparent and easy, a single place for all project activities, which has resulted in a global optimization of resources, as well as a single source for institutional memory and compliance," Farooq said.

Partners are also a key component of its overall solution and value, and there are currently more than 1,000 partners offering hundreds of solutions on top of Project, Angiulo said. "Two years ago we had 600 partners, so that number is on the way to doubling in a relatively short time," he said.

International confectionary and beverage company, Cadbury Schweppes, is also a user of Microsoft Office Project. The company looked to Microsoft EPM to consolidate its three different EPM systems across the world and have a consistent toolset.

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To read more about how Microsoft bolstered its Project management tools, click here.

"Our goals were to standardize across multiple IT organizations, improve the global visibility of projects throughout the company, create a common global process with an integrated tool for project planning and tracking, and move the right work to the right people by assigning the right resources at the right time and cost," a company spokesperson told attendees.

Angiulo ended his keynote by first telling the audience that the final ship date for Project 2007 SP1 would be announced in a few weeks, and then calling on them to give feedback on both the conference content as well as their product needs.

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