Microsoft has been pushing “the cloud” for quite some time. With the most recent release of Project 2013, they continue to heavily encourage organizations to move to their cloud version, Project Online.
On first release, one of the limitations of Project Online is custom reporting. Because each organization’s project data is stored in the same SQL Server database as other customers, access to that data with standard database reporting tools is not possible. Many of our customers want custom reports that replicate reports currently in use in the organization. Odata and Excel were not well equipped to meet this need.
At the recent Microsoft Project Conference this past February in Anaheim, Microsoft announced a solution to this problem. Their solution is based on SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) and the availability of this solution was announced on March 25, 2014. In Microsoft’s solution OData has been added to SSIS as another datasource so a DBA can create a connection to the Project Online data from within SQL Server and pull the data into SQL using Odata. Once the data is in SQL Server, a report developer is free to create reports as they would in an on-premise solution. Microsoft created a door for getting data into SQL Server. It requires a DBA to leverage this door to create the data structure in SQL Server as well as create and manage the connections.
At Agora, we had already identified this need and built and released our own Project Online Reporting Tool (PORT 365). PORT 365 provides enterprise reporting capabilities to Project Online installations. We think it has several significant advantages to the Microsoft solution. First, it includes a web-based administration module that can schedule what data is moved to a SQL database and when. This reduces the load on Project Online. Second, our solution includes the capture of trending information natively. Trend data is captured based on the frequency defined in the schedule. PORT 365 ships with a reporting database already created. It closely matches the reporting database in Project Server 2010 and 2013, providing experienced report developers with a schema they understand. Lastly, our solution can be deployed to Azure or to an on-premise database environment.
Go to http://www.agorainc.com/Apps-for-Project-Online/PORT-365 for more information on PORT 365.