The conference announcements so far...
I just watched Microsoft executives demonstrate the upcoming Project 2010 product here in Phoenix at the Project Conference 2009.
Here are my first blush comments/observations:
1) The product has matured significantly as a PPM solution. The portfolio management functions are more robust, more graphical and address executive what-if needs quite well. This observation alone makes one wonder whether other PPM vendors will continue to freely integrate Microsoft Project solutions with their own as the degree of functional overlap appears to have increased significantly. The competitive conflict should be most felt by those PPM vendors who serve SMB organizations needing a project or project portfolio management solution. ***UPDATE*** A reader contacted me to clarify this part of the post. He correctly pointed out that other PPM vendors integrate the project tracking aspects of Microsoft Project and not necessarily the full-blown version with the PPM server and its attendant PPM functionality. More precisely, this reader said:
There are two distinct differences which may not be evident within your article, first MSP desktop does not provide things like "portfolio management functions" and second MSP desktop would continue to be a valuable integration piece for other PPM vendors as it is moreover the defacto standard for project managers today.
2) Microsoft has simplified the product line and product naming. Going forward, there will be three products: Project Standard 2010, Project Professional 2010 and Project Server 2010.
3) Drag and drop/cut and paste interoperability between Microsoft Office applications and Project has been enhanced. I was particularly pleased to see much easier connectivity between Excel and Project. Just being able to copy several columns over to Project from Excel and having Project retain the indentation was a big improvement.
4) This announcement is part of a number of Microsoft announcements for 2009 and 2010. These include: Windows 7, Bing, Xbox 360 Project Natal, Windows Azure, Office 2010, Sharepoint Server 2010, upgrades to SQL Server 2008, the Yahoo search deal and more. If all of these go well, Microsoft should experience a good PR and revenue boost in the near term. These initiatives should keep Microsoft channel partners quite busy in the near term as well. The key to success though will be in managing the successful rollout of all of these new/improved products.
5) PSA (professional services automation) functionality has not been discussed yet. Does this mean the Project product line is still a PPM solution only? Probably.
6) There was one brief mention of integration of the Project products to MBS (Microsoft Business Solutions) software products and that involved Dynamics SL.
More to come…..