The product was first launched in 2002 (Microsoft Project Server 2002) the main of the product is to have a centralized location for all the projects to be stored in, then have different types of users role to use this location to manage time, cost and resources involved in these projects.
Since the first release of the product to the market Microsoft have invested in developing the product and adding more members to the EPM solution suite of products, hence Microsoft released Project Server 2003 and 2007 versions which came with even stronger integration the other Microsoft products such as SharePoint. Microsoft also introduced in 2006 a new member to the suite of products an acquired software from a company called UMT, Microsoft called the newly acquired product Microsoft Portfolio Server.
The Microsoft EPM Solution by Microsoft is developed to address some key areas of Project Management and these are:
Consistency of quality project information across the organization
Microsoft EPM can support a standard approach to the initiation and management of small, medium and large projects and programs. The solution enhances the ability to achieve a defined process which each project. Each project in Project Server can have a set of standard attributes resulting from the process, providing consistency and a regular set of information on which reports can be based.
Resource Capacity Management and Planning
Microsoft EPM can be used to model organisational resource capacity by introducing an enterprise resource pool. The centralised resource pool will store resource availability data based on resource calendars and resource assignments, including projects and non-projects task assignments and actual work. This combination is providing a solution to support the management and planning of resource utilisation and capacity.
More efficient and accurate reporting
Microsoft Project Server and Portfolio Server has the ability to produce real time reports using system generated data, providing organizations with more efficient and accurate reporting capabilities, while also reducing the level of required resources currently dedicated to the provisioning of these tasks. This includes automated consolidated reporting of projects, programs and portfolios.
Improved visibility and collaboration among project teams
Providing centralised project workspace sites (based on Microsoft SharePoint technology) to allow visibility of project artefacts (such as projects’ documents, risks, issues, change requests, etc) and report on them, without the need to manually process requests and email these artefacts. Provide a platform which support mechanisms for communications including, team sites, discussion logs, task lists, announcements etc.
Improved time tracking
Providing team members a web interface to capture project tasks updates and a timesheet interface which will provide a more detailed accurate time record for each project. This method improves time-tracking accuracy by focusing team members’ attention on authorised activities and the durations of those tasks.
Better Estimation of Project Delivery
Introduce a solution to provide more accurate estimation of project (optimistic and pessimistic) timeframes. EPM provides project planning and tracking features that will supports accurate methods for predicting project delivery dates. When these features are used within the framework of improved planning and tracking processes, project schedules and budgets will be more reliable and can be used as historical data for future projects.
Both Project Server and Portfolio Server are highly configurable and customizable platform, organizations can configure them in a way that aligns with the their business requirements and expectation, organizations can configure workflows, objects attributes, security model, look and feel and reporting. Both applications comes with API (applications programmable interface) which gives organizations the ability to extend the application and allows it to provide more functionality it also allows organizations to integrate Project Server or Portfolio Server with other tools and application (such as the ERP systems).
Microsoft is planning to release the next version of Project Server (Project Server 2010) on the first of half of 2010, the new version will have more enterprise ready architecture and will have a more.