With so many options it’s no wonder many organizations are confused as to which project management software solution to use to advance their level of project management maturity. Microsoft Project Online and Dynamics Project Operations from Microsoft are both making waves as comprehensive project management solutions. 

MS Project Online provides the web portal, Project Web App. D365 Project Operations is a new part of the Dynamics 365 suite of offerings. This article takes a look at both products in order to provide some assistance in determining which may be the best fit for your organization.

Let’s first take a look at Microsoft Project Online:

MS Project is the “The Choice” of Project and Portfolio managers worldwide. The scheduling engine in the desktop version of Microsoft Project Professional works together with Project Online to give you a highly robust Project and Portfolio management system.

What are some benefits of Project Online?

Plan and Manage Resource Demand

Project Online has robust resource management tools that better help organizations understand capacity and demand of resources, as well as the organizations ability to take on new initiatives.

Visibility

With a centralized view of all project and program work across the organization, management can get the big picture analysis to make informed decisions. Project Center is a one-stop shop to see all projects grouped by the attribute of your choice. Whether it’s program, product, or department, management is able to view projects, resources, and other information in real-time.

Effective Project Planning

Microsoft project online utilizes the desktop tool, Microsoft Project. The Gantt Chart, timeline views, task dependencies and more, project planning, tracking and reporting is simplified with this robust project management solution.

dynamics project operations vs project online collaboration

Real-time Collaboration

Team collaboration is a key factor in project success. The real-time collaboration capabilities of Microsoft Project Online integrate with Microsoft Teams, Skype, and more to provide robust collaboration and communication capabilities. Drive Portfolio Analysis and Selection

The portfolio analysis capabilities of MS Project Online help organizations select portfolios of projects that help achieve strategic objectives. 

MS Project Online Drawbacks

A major drawback with Project Online is the legacy system it is built on. The biggest drawback being the ability to integrate with other systems. Often integration between Project Online and other systems can be complex and costly.

Now Microsoft Dynamics Project Operations

Dynamics 365 Project operations was released in the October 2020 timeframe. It is the latest Project Management tool from Microsoft that is part of the Dynamics 365 suite of products. This is huge for project centric organizations. What it means is all the data contained in the system, resource and project information, is available to all the Dynamics modules.

With MS Project Online organizations would either have to build an integration between Project Online and a financial system to get the data to the appropriate systems. With Dynamics Project Operations there is no need to double enter the data or transfer data from your finance system. All the system is natively available!

So now you know. Dynamics Project Operations is the future of Project Management from Microsoft. Outlook 365 and new feature updates with other Dynamics products are already integrated.

Even better, we have a user interface that is slick and modern, consistent with other Dynamics 365 applications. And for those team members on the go, mobile access is robust and fully functional!

Dynamics Project Operations at a glance:

  • Skills based matching, project governance, better scheduling and resource insights help ensure you have the right people on the right projects.
  •  Win more deals with a better process from lead management to accurate quotes, resource forecasting, sales resourcing, cost estimation, and scope.
  • Easily manage projects with easy-to-use Microsoft Project-like capabilities, including Kanban boards, timeline views and Gantt charts. Project based services and project delivery never had it so good.
  • For faster client billing and expense reimbursement you can submit, approve, process, and reconcile time and expense entries on the go.
  • Manage project management accounting accurately and recognize revenue that is compliant with International Financial Reporting Stand
dynamics project operations vs project online which solution

 Let’s be honest though. With all the great functionality Dynamics 365 Project Operations brings to the table it still may not address the needs of your organization. Project Operations is still being developed and upgraded, and therefore does not have all the capabilities Microsoft Project has to manage large and complex projects. The licenses cost for Dynamics Project Operations is also quite a bit more than MS Project Online, making it cost prohibitive for some.

Consider complex projects with 100s of tasks and the same for resources. Consider you have projects that span many months or years. In these cases Project Operations may not be the tool for your situation. These and other limitations are critical factors in determining whether Project Online or Project Operations are better suited for your organizations project management solution.

Which solution is right for your organization?

Every organization has unique needs. Fortunately Integent is here to help you determine the best course of action. We can ask the right questions and provide in-depth, product demonstrations to help ensure the correct project management solution technology is selected. Consider the following when deciding:

 Is your company already using Dynamics 365 products? If not, then Office 365 Microsoft Project/MS Project Online may be the product for your organization. Especially if integration between project and financial applications is not necessary.

Conversely, if your organization is already using Dynamics 365 products, and, perhaps is currently using Enterprise Resource Planning capabilities of Dynamics, consider Project Operations. Current customers of Dynamics 365 for Sales or other Dynamics modules will benefit from the sales to project completion management of Dynamics Project Operations. Both products can take advantage of the business intelligence capabilities of Power BI for advanced analytics.

Project Operations will bring together lead management, to the win, and all the way through project execution and invoicing. All this functionality is tightly integrated. The benefit of having all this functionality in a single solution cannot be understated.