Microsoft Office Project Expands Its Reach

Attendees at the user conference will see prototypes of code for the next version of Office Project.

SEATTLE—With the release of a new product and a major acquisition under his belt, Mike Angiulo, general manager for Microsoft Office Project, will give the opening keynote at its first user conference in some eighteen months here Oct. 29.

The address will concentrate on the release earlier this year of Office Project 2007 and an update on the acquisition of UMT, Angiulo told eWEEK ahead of his keynote.

"In the past, many people felt that Project wasnt a product for them because it was oriented towards very structured types of projects," he said. "One of the major changes we made in Project 2007 is to be able to handle all work across an organization. So we have professional services firms using the product at scale to track things as simple as a consultant on site with a customer."

An example of the new kind of user for the product is Microsofts own human resources department, which was the first user of the Portfolio Server technology acquired the under the UMT deal.


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

Microsofts HR department is running the server software to track the strategic priorities of its investments across the company, along with candidates for the different kinds of programs and the costs, risks and potential benefits associated with these, he said.

Attendees at the Office Project Conference also will hear Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in his keynote Oct. 30 about the Redmond, Wash., companys vision for the future, product road map and best practices around things such as portfolio management workflow and end-user training.

Attendees will also get to see prototypes of code for the next version of Office Project actually running in a hands-on usability lab, and they will be asked to give feedback on this to make sure that the development team is designing a product people need, he said.


Read more here about how Microsofts mass market play targeted enterprise tools.

The next version of Project will continue the move from a desktop-centric application to Web-based collaboration by enabling the project manager to edit their projects directly in Project Web Access with features such as multiple-level undo and change highlighting, Angiulo said.

Last years UMT acquisition brought with it new technology and analytics, and its code became a shipping Microsoft product after a couple of months, Angiulo said.

In his keynote, Ballmer will talk about his vision for delivering software, including the new software-plus-services model and why the company is well positioned to continue delivering innovative solutions in this space.

Angiulo said its important to customers that Microsoft has an on-premises server along with services in the cloud. Project was already in that world with its current online hosted EPM Connect service, which allowed its more than 1,000 partners to use the service to show off their products.


Microsofts Steve Ballmer has urged partners to embrace software plus services. Click here to read more.

"If they want to show how timesheets can hook up to SAP or how they can do advanced reports on rich data sets, they are able to use this real application and show their customers its power as if it was installed," he said.


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