December 14, 2022
Managing the Environment Lifecycle in Microsoft Project Online
November 16, 2018
The world is changing faster than ever, and companies aiming at success have to adapt just as quickly. Organizations need to adjust internal processes and strategies, including corporate IT infrastructure and environments, to keep up.
Project portfolio management software composes part of the IT infrastructure. Therefore, it should be reorganized adequately and guided by the standard ITSM practices. In this post, we cover the software tools designed by FluentPro that proved to be helpful for the companies managing changes in Microsoft Project Online.
According to our statistics, around 50% of the companies that use Microsoft Project Online have more than one environment (PWA), which makes the proper implementation of the change management process exceptionally important. For this reason, FluentPro has introduced several tools that provide environments’ management, administration, and migration capabilities – G.A. Suite and FluentBooks.
FluentPro G.A. Suite
FluentPro Governance and Administration Suite (G.A. Suite) is a web-based platform designed to assist companies in establishing best management practices for Office 365 Project Online in compliance with the ITSM processes. G.A. Suite for Microsoft Project Online is straightforward to use, which makes it a primary choice for a business of any size and complexity.
G.A. Suite provides all the required capabilities for configuration and data management, as well as governance of Project Online:
1. Identify, deploy, and move configuration changes in Project Online PWAs;
2. Implement Disaster Recovery practices – Backup/restore projects, configurations, and SharePoint content;
3. Implement a Data Archival policy;
4. Replicate PWA environments;
5. Audit and document PWA configurations;
6. Visualize services topology.
Each of these processes requires two steps: choose an action for a specific environment and click “Start.”
To comply with the best ITSM practices, the Governance feature comes as one of the most valuable ones. The platform makes an audit of your PWA environment and provides recommendations for improving its performance and manageability. G.A. Suite also provides relevant insights into whether your PWA environment corresponds to industry best practices.
Then, to make it as transparent and convenient as possible for users to manage their environments, we’ve built a diagram feature in G.A. Suite. It allows users to add environments their company has and visualize the data flow processes on a diagram, allowing all the further actions to be done in just two clicks.
This way, FluentPro solution helps avoid human error and perform data and environment manipulations quickly and securely.
FluentPro FluentBooks for Microsoft Project Online
FluentBooks is a desktop application designed primarily to manage cross-platform migration- and configuration-related tasks and to support advanced administration scenarios.
If your business expectations include a well-maintained Microsoft Project Server or Project Online lifecycle, FluentBooks will enable your organization to align with the best practices of change management. Additionally, FluentBooks automates many operations that generally require a significant amount of manipulations and which are often associated with human errors.
Here are the main FluentBooks features described:
1. Cross-platform migration and upgrades
FluentBooks is specifically tailored to perform complex, migration-related tasks like cross-platform migrations or upgrades, including, as an example, Project Server 2016 to the Cloud.
2. PWA configuration log
Typically, adding all the configuration details to a file takes tremendous time. With FluentBooks, however, it will require just a few minutes and three simple steps: choose the right PWA, select the elements to document (e.g., custom fields, lookup tables, resources, etc.), and generate a PWA configuration document.
3. Configuration Audit
This feature discovers and highlights all the data inconsistencies in your configuration – all the orphan elements and fields that are not being utilized properly. This becomes particularly valuable if your configuration has hundreds of fields and/or has been changed many times.
4. Comparing PWA configurations
With this feature, FluentBooks will download PWA configurations from the two environments that need to be compared and then open up a verification summary window that shows the similarities and differences between them.
5. Bulk edit of custom fields and lookup tables
Even though configurations are initially built based on the best practices, companies and industries change; therefore, lookup tables and custom fields in the configuration should also be regularly adjusted;
6. Bulk update and publishing of projects, resources, and resource rates
With this FluentBooks feature, there’s no need to update each resource or project individually – you can now do a bulk edit. Once projects are updated, you can go ahead and publish them for the changes to take effect and be reflected in the database.
7. Bulk update of SharePoint sites
FluentBooks can update one or multiple SharePoint sites on a specified PWA. This feature is very convenient if you, for example, need to add any new information on one SharePoint site in your PWA.
Using FluentBooks, change managers can significantly cut the amount of time required for change approvals and implementation. When change managers can deploy changes quickly, they can approve more changes. As a result, the change approval rate and the number of major changes made go up.
To summarize, FluentPro G.A. Suite is a solution that all MS Project Online users will benefit from, as it provides governance capabilities, includes backup capabilities, and helps manage PWAs and the data around them quickly and easily.
At the same time, FluentBooks is an advanced and complex tool designed to manage migration-related tasks, cross-platform or within Office 365 tenants tasks, and support advanced administration scenarios.
Ultimately, suppose your organization is a large one with a complex configuration or several configurations, and you make frequent changes to configurations. In that case, it will benefit from employing both tools on different operation levels.
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