Microsoft Bringing Project App to Enterprise

Microsoft looks to take its next version of Project, due next month, to the enterprise for project and resource management.

Microsoft Corp. announced Tuesday at NetWorld+Interop in Las Vegas that the next version of its Microsoft Project project management application is in final code and will be generally available next month.

With this release, Microsoft Project 2002, the company is looking to take the software to the enterprise for project and resource management, company officials said.

This version, the follow-on to Project 2000, is built on Microsofts .Net platform. While past versions were stand-alone tools for business managers and planners, the new version is designed to extend project management capabilities to company executives and other project team members, both inside and outside the company.

This version is actually a product family, which includes three new products, Project Professional, Project Server and Project Web Access, in addition to Project Standard.

Project Server is the .Net-based platform the other products are served from. Project Web Access is a Web-based portal for taking the application beyond the companys firewall to external users. Project Professional, which is geared to the enterprise, adds support for portfolio and resource management, real-time reporting, and scenario analysis.

Used in conjunction with Project Server and Project Web Access, it supports centralized project collaboration, Web-based access to project information and notifications.

Project Standard is used to manage individual projects. This release features a new help tool called Project Guide and can interface with Project Server to share project information with others in the organization.

Pricing for Project Standard is $599. Project Professional is priced at $999 and Project Server, $1,499, which includes five-user licenses for Project WebAccess. As a stand-alone, Project Web Access is priced at $179.

Project Server also includes Microsoft SharePoint Team Services for collaboration, enabling creation of a central, shared location for organizing, storing and tracking project-related documents and issues, Microsoft officials said.

Microsoft will announce Wednesday at N+I a free integration pack that brings together its Content Management Server and SharePoint Portal Server products, giving customers content management, document management, collaboration and publishing, and search through a portal interface.