eProject Updates Project Management Service


Christian Smith, vice president of sales and marketing for Seattle-based eProject, said eProject PPM 6 features Ajax-based capacity-planning functionality.

"The No. 1 capacity-planning tool today is probably [Microsoft] Excel. Most PPM products rely on scheduling engines to do capacity planning. But in the midmarket, 80 percent of projects don't have schedules, or if they do, they're not set until the third phase,” Smith said. “We want to connect an Excel-like experience to not only the project but also to the whole project portfolio."

The service includes a Project Resource Utilization view that shows team member allocations as well as scheduled and actual time spent on a project. Project workgroup calendars are shown with vacation and personal days, and the portfolio management view provides on-screen peaks at a range of projects within and beyond the enterprise. Each view can be customized to a user's role.

In addition, the Capacity Planner feature can run multiple what-if scenarios to determine which projects should proceed and when. Executive dashboards also can aggregate multiple projects and portfolios into one view.

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Plans call for PPM6 to be generally available June 5 as an on-premise and a service offering, according to eProject.

"Resource planning is the big thing. You could do that in [PPM release 5], but now it's front and center," said Dave Blumhorst, president of Effective IT Group, an eProject services partner based in Danville, Calif.

Traditionally, people think of resource planning in a kind of one-off way, Blumhorst said. "I have this project, and here's who and what is available for it,” he explained. “The better way is capacity planning. I have these projects coming in. What kind of resources do I need? Which projects do I approve based on which resources I can get together?"

eProject’s primary competition is Microsoft Project Server, Primavera and the project management capabilities offered by major ERP vendors such as SAP and Oracle.

About one quarter of eProject's current customers use its on-premise iteration, while the rest have gone the software-as-a-service (SaaS) route, Smith said.

About 20 percent of eProject’s business is partner-based, up from 10 percent, according to Smith. "We'd like to see partners interacting in as much as 50 percent of our opportunities, and that interaction surrounds their value-add, their solution sets, training, methodologies and implementation," he said.

Blumhorst said eProjects essentially acts as a reseller for Effective IT Group’s solution sets, which are bundled with eProjects services based on customer demand. "I sell through them, not vice versa, but they let me bring my process expertise to their customers," he said.

Base-level eProject PPM services cost $45 per user per month. Implementation and customization costs are extra. The on-premise server license runs $15,000.

Customers using the SaaS implementation require only a browser. For on-premise use, the server requires Microsoft SQL Server and Windows 2003 running with IIS.