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Some bad and ugly things about Project Server (EPM)

Enterprise Reporting: Some of the data you want at you finger tips you have sit around and wait for in Project Server and even after the wait the data may not work right. Maybe it is just us but we don't like waiting for information in an enterprise product and that is just what you have to do with a major component of Project Server reporting or what is called the Portfolio Analyzer in Project Server 2003 or Data Analysis in 2007. Second, if we are going to basis our business on a system then we want it to work right and all of the time, without requiring a lot of maintenance.

The Portfolio Analyzer or Data Analysis is the closest thing we might consider a built in reporting tool for Project Server or what you might think about going to first in Project Web Access to meet your reporting needs.

(We don't count the ability to print the grid in Project Web Access or the reports in Microsoft Project as enterprise reporting. Don't get us wrong, printing or exporting the grid is great, just not what we think of as reporting. Nor are we counting the reporting database included with Project Server 2007 - at least not when you have to write your own reports. The reporting database in 2007 is great to have but we have always been able to write our own reports against the data in the database.)

The problem with the data for the Portfolio Analyzer/Data Analysis reports is that it is generated on a schedule and is not real-time. Most people generate this data once a day, some once a week.

In addition, and this may not be your experience, but this SQL reporting service has been the most difficult feature to get up and running and to keep running in both 2003 and 2007.  Probably not a feature you would want to depend on unless you have a warm body in the wing willing and able to fix it when it breaks so you can maintain your reporting schedule. The frailty of this reporting service is reason enough NOT to build your business of such a week tool regardless of what it seems to promise.

Pretty amazing when you think about it given the fact that project management is all about improving project communication, but if you are going to be using this EPM system one of the things you need to vary into you deployment budget is the cost for developing a reporting model. You will need to write a standard set of reports to match your reporting cycle sooner or later and those reports are going to cost you a chunk of time and money to get what you want. 


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