Christophe Fiessinger's Blog Updates on Microsoft's Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) offerings
Microsoft is pleased to announce the 2007 Microsoft Office Project Conferences to be held from October 28-31, 2007 in Seattle, WA USA and December 3-5, 2007 in Madrid, Spain. http://www.msprojectconference.com/
A recurring need today for customers is how EPM can address compliance standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX). EPM 2007 has strong features that can assist companies meeting such standards. Please note that compliance is typically company specific and one should work with consultant that specialize in such area to figure out what can be used out of the box versus what needs to be customized to meet the requirements.
First I highly recommend reading the following paper published recently: Compliance Features in the 2007 Microsoft Office System
This white paper describes compliance-related features and extensibility opportunities within the 2007 Microsoft Office system that can assist you to meet the demands of regulatory compliance.
Beside all the Office and SharePoint features mentioned in the white paper above that can assist you achieving your compliance requirements, EPM’s can help with the following:
· Budget tracking, helps establish a project budget and it can be controlled using EPM security settings, and it won’t be impacted as actual progress is reported using timesheets.
· Reporting can generate financial reports that will address the financial compliance requirements.
· If the customer uses the Timesheet functionalities, there is an option to audit all changes (Server Settings -> Time and Task Management -> Settings and Defaults -> Auditing)
· Using a combination of the Event Model, the Project Server Interface (PSI), and Windows Workflow Foundation a customer could further customize their EPM deployment to address their specific compliance needs. This feature will require programming skills.
Ever wondered how to produce nice looking reports based on Project Server OLAP data (cubes) using Excel 2007 and Excel Services without using the Office Web Component (OWC).
The document below explains the steps to follow to integrate Project Server 2007 with Excel Services (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server). This document assumes that you already have installed MOSS and Project Server 2007 on the same farm.
Data Analysis Report Using Office Web Component
Data Analysing Report Using Excel Web Access
If you run into issues with your SharePoint farm (including Project Server instances), as a farm administrator you might not have access to the folder where the logs are stored (typically under C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\LOGS).
To work around this access right you can get the person with the proper administrative rights to setup this Log Viewer feature to your farm: SharePoint 2007 Features
The Log Viewer will render in a webpage the logs stored in the ULS files as shown below:
You should probably bookmark this url: Newly published content for Office Project Server 2007 and check it on a regular basis for updated documentation on the EPM 2007 platform.
For instance this month a detail guide on configuring OLAP for EPM 2007 using both SQL 2K0 and 2K5 was published as shown below:
Configure Office Project Server 2007 to use the Cube Building Service This chapter describes how to prepare your Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 deployment to use the Cube Building Service. It provides an overview of how the Cube Building Service works and information about supported deployment options. This chapter also includes requirements for using the Project Server 2007 Cube Building Services with either SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services or SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services, because both are supported with Office Project Server 2007.
This site also displays upcoming documentation for instance:
· Manage the Project Server 2007 Cube Building Service
· Configuring LDAP Membership Provider forms authentication for Office Project Server 2007
If you are having issues using AD synchronization with EPM (user not synched up for instance) you can do the following two actions to troubleshoot the sync. process:
· Using “Active Directory Users and Computers” (dsa.msc) MMC snap-in, find the group to sync and if so, are the users listed under members tab?
· Get detail logs of the EPM to AD sync process and analyze them.
To activate the ULS do the following:
1. Go to your farm Central Administration page, select Central Administration > Operations > Diagnostic Logging
2. In Event Throttling, select Project Server Active Directory Synchronization category
3. Set Least critical event to report to the trace log as Verbose, and press OK
ULS are typically located under: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\LOGS
Steps you will need to follow to display PWA Web Parts in another site within the same SharePoint farm:
1. Chose the Web Part (e.g. TimesheetPart) from the PWA homepage or the web parts gallery (Project Web Access > Site Settings > Galleries > Web Parts) and Export and Save to your preferred desktop location:
2. Edit the Web Part in Notepad. Find the following property PSIURL (or add if it does not exist) and change it accordingly for instance:
<property name="PsiUrl" type="string"> http://server/PWA</property>
3. Save Web Part update
4. From http://server/sites/project - Site Collection EPM > Web Part Gallery > Upload Document, select TimesheetPart modified earlier.
5. Add Web Part to the page you like (Site Action -> Edit Page)
To cross SharePoint server farms, you can use the Page Viewer web part in conjunction with SimpleUI=31
If you encounter the following while adding the Web Part to the page : “Unable to add selected web part(s). My Timesheet: The request failed with HTTP status 401: Unauthorized” check the ULS logs. It’s typically an access right issue so make sure the user has access to the PWA site.
Project Server 2007 Web Parts
After migrating your database from Project Server 2003 to Project Server 2007, or after migrating from one environment to another (Production to Development for instance), a quick and easy way to update the Data Analysis Views is to issue the following T-SQL command in the REPORTING database:
-- Check Analysis Views that needs to be updated
WHERE WVIEW_ASServerName IS NOT NULL
AND WVIEW_FILTER IS NULL
-- Update Analysis Server Name
WHERE WVIEW_ASServerName IS NOT NULL
AND WVIEW_FILTER IS NULL
Test this query on a test environment prior to applying it on a Production system!
As Project Server is gaining visibility as an enterprise application and a key application within companies, it needs to integrate with existing system starting typically with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems such as SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft. A recurring question I thus hear from customers is for instance: How do you integrate Project Server with SAP?
There are several ways to integrate EPM with SAP depending on what integration is needed (CATS, xRPM, R/3 CO/PS…) but typically there three approaches to achieve it:
1. Use a partner solution such as the one mentioned below
Impress for EPM
The Campana & Schott Group
The Project Group
More information about partner solutions for EPM can be found on this site: EPM Connect http://www.epmconnect.com
2. Build your own interface using the EPM 2007 SDK (a combination of PSI calls, custom events handlers and potential workflows)
Microsoft will be releasing later on this year an update for Project Server 2007 to its ERP Connector developed initially for Project Server 2003 (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=7e0eb648-9eef-4d53-88a8-3d7e6b9152e9&displaylang=en).
3. Build your own interface + leverage existing Business Process and Integration (BPI) system such as Microsoft Biztalk: http://www.microsoft.com/biztalk/default.mspx
Due to the potential functional complexity of integrating EPM and SAP I do recommend working with one of the experienced partner mentioned above; the partner will bring industry/customer experience on how to best and efficiently integrate Project Server 2007 and SAP.
I just came accross this great tool VhdResizer that will achieve the following:
VhdResize will resize Microsoft's VHD files and will also convert between Fixed and Dynamic file types. This is a sector by sector copy operation from one size/type to the other and the source file remains unaltered.