I have been working with Microsoft Project Server since about 2001 when it was called “Project Central”. Over the years I have watched this product continue to mature. I could name of number of things within the current product that I feel could be improved, but that is not the purpose of the article.
In my opinion, the biggest problem that Microsoft has with Project Server is a branding problem, or maybe I should say a naming problem. All of the following names or acronyms are somewhat related and often used interchangeably; Project Server, Project Online, On-Premise, Project Lite, PPM, and EPM. However, these things are all different. The one thing that they do have in common is; with all these different names, it make things very confusing to the general user or consumer. Let’s explain things:
1. Microsoft EPM
EPM stands for Enterprise Project Management. In the past Microsoft branded a product as “Microsoft EPM”. Don’t be confused, this product was actually Microsoft Project Server. But, it is true; Project Server is an Enterprise Project Management solution.
2. Microsoft PPM
PPM stands for Project Portfolio Management. Microsoft says they have a solution called “Microsoft PPM”. But again, don’t be confused; this product is actually Microsoft Project Server. And it is true Project Server is a Project Portfolio Management solution.
What we have learned so far is Microsoft EPM or Microsoft PPM are actually just another name for Microsoft Project Server. Got it! That is simple enough. So now let’s try to sort out Project Server, Project Online or Project On-Premise.
If you are interested in implementing Microsoft Project Server, you have two options; Project Online or Project On-Premise. So, with that said, Project Online and Project On-Premise are just another name for Microsoft Project Server. Simple enough!!
3. Project On-Premise
In a nutshell Project On-Premise is the name or branding that applies to purchasing the Hardware as well as the software to install Microsoft Project Server on your own within your organization.
4. Project Online
Project Online is the name or branding that applies to accessing a cloud based instance of Microsoft Project Server (hosted by Microsoft).
If you believe Microsoft Project Server is right for your organization, but are uncertain whether Project Online or Project On-Premise is the best choice; you might want to work with an expert. There are many pluses and minuses of either approach. Some things to factor in; the size of your organization, your current project management maturity, how you intend to leverage the solution today as well as in the future (including custom reports), and in addition to this, one would need to understand the current capabilities of Project Online versus Project On-Premise. At the time of this article; there are a number of features Microsoft has been able to quickly implement into their Project Online solution, but have yet to incorporate into Project On-Premise.
Here is a quick recap; Microsoft EPM or Microsoft PPM are actually just another name for Microsoft Project Server. Project Online or Project On-Premise are also just another name for Microsoft Project Server, the only difference is whether it is on your hardware or hosted by Microsoft. So that last thing we need to address is Project Lite.
5. Project Lite
Project Lite is a monthly subscription service that is offered as an add-on for Project Online users only. Organizations must have Project Online in order to use Project Lite. Project Lite is suitable for project team members to manage their tasks and timesheets, and collaborate on projects.
Hopefully this article brings some clarity to all these terms. A good general statement to summarize this article is all these terms stem from one product. When searching or referencing this product; use the term Microsoft Project Server as your starting point!
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