With the recent release of Microsoft Project Server 2010 (PS) last May and its rapid adoption by customers, a recurring question I have seen and been asked is how can I integrate Project Server 2010 with application X? Where application X can be a combination of the following:
Import financial information, and WBS
The following Microsoft Project Server data type/entities are typically synched:
And there are more I have seen or heard but basically they revolve around the above application types. So how do I interface PS with these other mission critical applications (also referred to as Line Of Business Integration or LOBI) within my organization? This is obviously a very broad topic and this blog post is by no means exhaustive but let me try to get you started in answering this question.
Well as you can guess IT DEPENDS! The biggest challenge and the most complex part of such integration is clearly defining the scenario, documenting what data will be transferred between the two systems, what’s the “master” and what’s the “slave”, exception handling (if an update is rejected what happens for instance? If a task is deleted what happens? etc.)
The second phase is implementing the bridge and for that as mentioned in this recent post: Microsoft Project Server 2010 Integration with SAP you have two options: either use an existing partner solution that is publically available (search here for instance: http://www.microsoft.com/project/en/us/partners.aspx or BING it) or you can build your own connector and in that case look at the Microsoft Project 2010 Software Development Kit.
Points to consider when integrating PS with LOB (by no mean exhaustive):
What’s the specific use case?
Interface scalability and performance – was on a recent call with a partner who realized their interface to another system did not took too long to process updates…
What PS data entities (Project, Task, Resource, Lookup Table) needs to be updated and transferred? How is the custom data mapping defined?
Interface logging and monitoring - would expect any solution whether its of the shelve or custom made to provide visibility of data updates so that it can be easily monitored and maintained
What are the additional Custom Fields required in PS to enable the transfer?