Microsoft Bolsters Project Management Tools

The software maker completes its acquisition of project and portfolio management firm UMT and details product integration moves.

Microsoft Corp. has completed its acquisition of the software and intellectual property assets of UMT, a project and portfolio management and consulting firm.

Microsoft first announced the deal with UMT in December, when it said it planned to combine the technology and expertise of UMT with its existing Microsoft Office Enterprise Project Management Solution, currently code-named Microsoft Office Project "12" and which is based on Microsoft Office Project Professional 2003 and Microsoft Office Project Server 2003.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will use his keynote address at the annual Microsoft Office Project Conference in Seattle Thursday to make this announcement, as well as to confirm to the 1,500 business managers, technology professionals and developers in attendance that Microsoft Office Project 12 will draw on those newly acquired technologies.

Ballmer will also announce that key members of the UMT executive team and a number of UMT product development employees will join the Microsoft Office Project team, a Microsoft spokeswoman told eWEEK.

"The consulting arm of UMT will become the UMT Consulting Group and will help provide successful implementations of the Microsoft portfolio management software platform," the spokeswoman said.

In a prepared statement released to eWEEK ahead of the keynote, Ballmer said Microsoft is "excited because acquiring UMT will help us meet customers needs for deep portfolio management capabilities. By combining our software and expertise, well also create a new range of solution development opportunities for customers and partners."

For his part, Gil Makleff, UMTs North American CEO, said the company is looking forward to joining forces with Microsoft and working together toward a shared vision that combines project and portfolio management capabilities.


"Customers will reap the benefits of being able to put tighter reins on their spending, make smarter and more consistent investments, and accurately and efficiently track how projects and initiatives are performing," he said.

Project 12, expected to be released in the second half of this year along with the other software products in Office 12, will deliver new innovations and benefits in the areas of visibility and insight, organizational adoption, enterprise readiness and extensibility, the spokeswoman said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about how Microsoft has decided to open its Office file formats.

In a statement, Microsoft said that Project 12 will give project managers the ability to easily track project changes by having changes visually displayed instantaneously as projects are updated. It will also improve performance such as "local cache," which enables working offline, and then automatically resyncing when back online, all of which are transparent to the user.

It has been built completely on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, and many functions will use the .Net platform 2.0, the statement said.

Microsoft Office Visio "12", the next version of the companys business and technical diagramming program, will make it easier for business and IT professionals to visualize, analyze and communicate complex information, processes and systems and is complementary to the advancements made in Project 12 advancements, the statement said.

Visio 12 will deliver new diagramming and graphics capabilities that make it easier to document, design and redesign processes and systems. The new Data Selector wizard allows easy connection between Visio diagrams and one or more data sources such as Microsoft Office Excel, Office Access, Office SharePoint Portal Server or Microsoft SQL Server.

The new PivotDiagram template in Visio 12 helps people visualize business data in a hierarchical form that shows data groups and totals, trends, issues and exceptions. PivotDiagrams can also be inserted into any Visio diagram to provide metrics and reports that help track the ongoing progress of a process or system, Microsoft said.

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