Software as a Service and Microsoft Project Server
By: Collin Quiring
Microsoft Project Server isn’t the most complex software or server that Microsoft produces. However, it does require SQL 2000 or SQL 2005, Project Server 2003 or Project Server 2007. Depending on how you set up the server(s) that manage your installation also require customizing the systems and your ability to reach Project Server over Internet Explorer (or other browser). Then, there are backups that must be performed daily and the patches to the operating system that regularly come out. This requires somebody to maintain the hardware and software and be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plus, there are the costs to license the software. And, in some cases, the department that wants the tool isn’t the IT department, so they have no inherent ability to implement this themselves.
So, what is the solution? Software as a Service, or SaaS, is one great solution. None of the technical requirements are reduced – but the risk to the company is transferred to the provider. The provider of SaaS is the one that has to have somebody available at all times for Project Server. They have to be able to maintain the server for you.
Microsoft has even jumped into this arena with their Software Plus Services idea. This is really just SaaS with a different title. While many companies are jumping into SaaS in many areas of their business, not very many are using it for Microsoft Project. There was recently a cover story in ComputerWorld about companies that are successfully using SaaS. (http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=325805)
For many small companies the expenses and resource requirements are too much. For other companies, the maintenance and effort for Microsoft Project Server and SQL Server aren’t high enough on the priority list to be given the attention that they deserve. In both these cases, SaaS provides a great opportunity to allow the business operations of the company to continue working without the worries of Information Technology.
Microsoft Project Server works great in the SaaS model and we have implemented for organizations of all sizes. If you are looking at Microsoft Project Server and aren’t sure about how/when/where to install it or maintain it, I would recommend looking at SaaS.