Project Manager Today Shares EPM Live Product Review

Steve Cotterell of Project Manager today takes a look at EPM Live, “A SharePoint add-on that turns it into a full-blown portfolio, project and work management tool.”

“Microsoft’s SharePoint is a major player on the corporate collaboration scene. It therefore makes perfect sense that any project oriented organisation that’s invested SharePoint technology would want to take advantage of that investment when considering what project management software they should use. Enter EPM Live, an American company with offices in London and Australia and partners in thirty-five other countries. There are currently three Engines in EPM Live’s portfolio:   Project, Portfolio and Work Engines.”

Project Manager Today provides an unrivalled means of addressing the project & programme management communities in the UK and overseas.   To read the full review click here.

IT Predictions for 2012 – Are You Riding the Trend?

If it isn’t evident yet, it will be… 2012 is going to be one for the books. We didn’t just ring in a New Year, we rang in the new norms for conducting business. PMO’s now more than ever are expected to continually adjust and embrace the new revolutionary model. Gartner is predicting that PPM (Project Portfolio Management) leaders will be forced to respond by embracing a new emerging revolutionary model that requires constantly changing organizational structures, tools and processes.

Last month I listened to “Talking Technology” Gartner’s Monthly Newsletter Audio Magazine.  Host Scott Smith was interviewing Gartner’s Research Managing VP, Daryl Plummer, about his top IT predictions for 2012.  Plummer said he expects CIO’s to play a more strategic role in the business, by predicting what IT trends are coming and how to take advantage of them.

Keeping up with the trends seems simple enough but the ever evolving idea of “trends” has taken on a new twist in 2012.

Plummer went on to talk about the evolution of what I’m going to call the big 3… the cloud, social and mobile. All three of these components will come together in 2012 and this growth of information is expected to form a new business phenomenon.

Plummer defined mobile as the access mechanism, social as the behavioral style or interaction style, and the cloud as the means of delivery. The big three come together to create information, the analytical foundation that will drive your strategic business decisions.  All these components makeup today’s new business phenomenon.

Plummer also raised the issue of the idea of “Big Data”.  “Because of the new evolving norms of doing business through social, mobile and the cloud applications, information is coming at us fast and furious, in structured and unstructured forms. It’s more information coming at us then we have time to analyze,” said Plummer. Gartner predicts that by 2015 more than 85% of Fortune 500 companies will fail to effectively properly exploit big data for a competitive advantage.

So how are companies supposed to adapt?  Executives and Project Managers must embrace the new norm. You can’t fight it, you can’t stop it, you have to be the first to implement them right by choosing a flexible solution to aide in your strategic planning and to help create and monitor processes for selecting the right work for a profitable portfolio. You need to be able to bring all information into one central location so nothing falls through the cracks, and be able to adjust and reinvent your approach from Project Management to Marketing.

Like most of you, we at EPM Live strive to always be on top of the trends, but we have one thing that sets us apart from the rest…our products. EPM Live’s PortfolioEngine takes the pain out of Portfolio Planning. PortfolioEngine is a SharePoint-based, top-down Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Solution that empowers executives to make critical business decisions with confidence. Leveraging EPM Live’s award winning PortfolioEngine capabilities, this tool will put you one step ahead of the competition helping you achieve a competitive advantage by choosing the right projects to drive your business toward its strategic objectives.

Here’s a look at some of PortfolioEngine’s capabilities that will help Project Managers and Executives stay on top of the new business phenomenon.

  • Increased visibility into real-time project investment status, allowing the user to monitor progress in terms of actuals and forecasts on key dimensions such as cost, schedules, benefits and risks.

  • Leverage portfolio analytics tools to make better decisions when selecting projects and work for execution. Gain real-time insight into rich analytics such as color-coded heat maps and portfolio modeling capabilities.

  •  Create resource capacity plans to get a true picture of resource demand across all work. Estimate role-based resource hours to ensure the resource plan can be fulfilled given current resource workload and availability.

  • Design custom workflows to automate business processes across the enterprise. Project workflows may include document reviews, approvals, stage-gating and archiving, among others. Quickly create workflows to take care of routine processes on project sites, such as sending notifications or creating tasks.

Try PortfolioEngine’s FREE 30 day trial and get a feel for how choosing this solution will empower your business to make 2012 the most profitable year yet.

And remember, “You have to figure out how your company is going to deal with cloud, social, mobile and information. These four forces are affecting everything that you do and by understanding where you stand with these items will give you the foundation for evaluating your own future. Without that it will be a rough ride…with it you can actually open the door to new opportunities you may not have even realized exist,” Daryl Plummer, Gartner’s Research Managing VP.

How EPM Live Aligns With the Top 10 Project Management Trends of 2012

I recently stumbled upon an interesting article on PM Hut that identifies and describes the top 10 project management trends of 2012, as determined by ESI International senior executives and subject matter experts.  At EPM Live, we strive to keep our products and services ahead of the curve, and in alignment with industry best practices and standards.  It was with great delight, though without surprise, to see that EPM Live’s products are right in tune with many of the top 10 trends for this year.

As said by ESI International, “custom-made project approaches, innovative project tools and smarter resource management will be essential for driving the greatest business impact.”  Yes, we agree!

1.  Program management will gain momentum, but resources remain in short supply

With EPM Live tools, you can effectively plan resources from initial high-level role based planning down to detailed work item assignments, and ensure that the right resources are appointed.  When resource scarcity is an issue, plan and assign resources accurately to maximize their availability without over-allocating them to too much work.  Maximize resource allocation by ensuring the right resources are assigned to the right work at the right time.  Some of these tools include our Resource Planner and Analyzer, Resource availability reports, what-if-modeling for resource assignments, and more!  Click here to read more about resource management available with EPM Live.  To view PortfolioEngine Resource Management capabilities click here.

2.  Collaboration software solutions will become an essential business tool for project teams

“Collaboration is central to project management and having a site which allows project artifacts to be created, shared, and distributed within a repository that provides Web-based access and critical functions such as automatic distribution and notification, version control, and user authentication, greatly enhances productivity.”

EPM Live offers many ways for project teams to easily collaborate with one another and communicate efficiently.  The EPM Live solutions are built on SharePoint, so we’re able to start with all the well-known collaboration capabilities, and then add EPM Live’s collaborative tools.  Share knowledge and better collaborate with your work teams to increase productivity and efficiency through various modes of communication.  Some of these examples include comments threads on work items, workspaces for teams to focus on project-specific collaboration, easy statusing of work items, flexible alerts and notifications, and much more!  Click here to see many of the collaboration tools available from EPM Live.

3.  Learning transfer will become the new mantra, but with little structured application

4.  Agile blends with waterfall for a new “hybrid” approach

EPM Live offers pre-built templates that allow teams to manage projects using a variety of methodologies.  This includes Agile & Waterfall joined as a hybrid approach, as well as the same solutions independently.

We have a related blog on this topic.  Click here to read more about Waterfall plus Agile as hybrid planning with EPM Live.  To see some of the work template offered with EPM Live’s WorkEngine, click here.

5.  Smarter project investments will require a stronger marriage between project management and business process management (BPM)

“The more impact the project has on reducing internal costs, the higher it will be ranked. The “smart” money will be spent on driving costs out of the business.”

With EPM Live, organizations gain visibility across the portfolio, and can utilize tools to ensure the right projects are selected and managed, in accordance with important business-wide drivers and priority scoring.  Capture and determine the right mix and sequencing of proposed projects and ideas to best achieve the organization’s overall goals. View various reports to evaluate which projects bring the most value to the business.  Click here to read an EPM Live white paper about successful portfolio planning.

6.  Internal certifications in corporations and federal agencies will eclipse the PMP®

7.  More PMO heads will measure effectiveness on business results

“To judge business effectiveness, PMO heads need to determine if their work has had a positive, quantifiable effect on the business in terms of troubled project reduction, lower project manager attrition, and faster time to market. In 2012 the practice of measuring the outputs, not the inputs, of project management will gain traction.”

Reporting is essential to see not only how the business is doing with regards to their active portfolio of projects and work, but also to see how successfully they closed out completed projects, for metrics & future improvement.  EPM Live has many out of box reports available, and the capabilities to modify existing and build new custom reports.  Click here for more info about reporting & business intelligence from EPM Live.

8.  Good project managers will buck unemployment trends

9.  Client-centric project management will outpace the “triple constraint”

“The new definition of project success is that a project can exceed its time and cost estimates so long as the client determines that it is successful by whatever criteria they use. In today’s environment, project value is determined by the “recipient”—or client—not the “provider.””

EPM Live offers flexible & configurable project success criteria and business drivers.  This allows your organization to determine how you will grade your projects and requests, objectively scoring them in accordance with those business drivers.  This can also be done in terms of determining the final success of an active or closed project.  Take those same capabilities of the project selection scoring, and incorporate them as objectively scoring the success of the projects.   Click here for more about the portfolio management capabilities available from EPM Live.

10.  HR professionals will seek assessments to identify high-potential project managers


Note: All quotes are from the PM Hut article.  To view the full article posted by ESI International on the PM Hut site, click here.


Cook County Bureau of Technology Chooses EPM Live's PortfolioEngine Solution

The Cook County Bureau of Technology is responsible for the County’s datacenter, wide-area high-speed network, office technology, and phone and wireless devices. The Bureau also plans, develops and manages software applications, websites and geographic information systems (GIS) to improve workflow processes in County offices and meet County residents’ and businesses’ needs for simple, responsive, transparent and cost-effective government.

 To learn more about Cook County Bureau of Technology click here

Rels Selects EPM Live PortfolioEngine for PPM

Rels helps people realize the American dream of home ownership.

Rels is a total solutions provider in the lending industry, and the nation’s leading provider of credit, valuation, title, and settlement solutions. Rels is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Rels offers national Credit, Valuation, Title and Settlement services, customer care and technical support. Rels’ vendor management company provides a single point of connectivity and delivery.

Rels is very proud of the integrity and professionalism of over 1,000 employees — many of whom bring years of specialized professional training and certification to the lending industry.

Through best practices, customer alignment, and consistently excellent service delivery, Rels helps clients build the volume and quality of their loans by offering a complete package of innovative loan-related services.

 To learn more about Rels click here


2012 Resource Planning – Download a Free White Paper

Employees are the most valuable asset and the biggest expense for most organizations.  Any organization that fails to manage their resources to ensure sufficient capacity is available, and that they are being assigned and managed efficiently, risks losing control of its project and work costs and having its business activities seriously constrained.  The ability to deploy employees effectively against often conflicting projects and other work priorities enables organizations to optimize their return on human resource investments. In order to maximize both task throughput and company morale, resource and project managers need an efficient system to place the appropriate staff on the right teams at the right time.

Over the past year EPM Live has had the opportunity to work with thousands of users to improve their overall effectiveness of delivering projects within their organizations.  Given the current economy and status of many businesses today, there has been an overwhelming need to improve Resource Management planning and processes throughout 2011.  In the spirit of the New Year, here are a few tools to help you with your 2012 resource planning!

Download a Free Resource Management White Paper

Other Resources

European Commission chooses Vision IT and EPM Live's PortfolioEngine

The European Commission chooses PortfolioEngine and EPM Live Partner Vision IT (Belgium) to address key Project and Portfolio Management requirements.

About European Commission





The European Commission is the EU’s executive body and represents the interests of Europe as a whole (as opposed to the interests of individual countries). The term ‘Commission’ refers to both the college of commissioners and the institution itself – which has its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium with offices in Luxembourg. The Commission also has offices known as ‘representations’ in all EU member countries.


About Vision IT Group



Vision IT Group is a European consulting and engineering group specializing in the infrastructures and development of Information Systems, and in software qualification. Founded in 2001 simultaneously in Belgium, in France and in Luxembourg, the group today operates in 9 European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Following the example of major groups, it offers its international clients seamless services across Europe.

EPM Live Welcomes Hanover Insurance Company!

Thanks for choosing PortfolioEngine!



The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. (NYSE: THG), based in Worcester, Mass., is the holding company for a group of insurers that includes The Hanover Insurance Company, also based in Worcester, Citizens Insurance Company of America, headquartered in Howell, Michigan, Chaucer Holdings PLC, based in London, and their affiliates.

The Hanover Insurance Group offers a wide range of property and casualty products and services to businesses, individuals, and families through a select group of independent agents across the U.S., and has been meeting its obligations to its agent partners and their customers for nearly 160 years. The company is ranked among the top 25 property and casualty insurers in the country and maintains excellent ratings from A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. Through Chaucer, the company also underwrites business at Lloyd’s in all major insurance and reinsurance classes, balancing global marine, energy, non-marine and aviation with U.K. motor and nuclear.

Read More about Hanover Insurance


EPM Live Welcomes Vision Chain!

Thanks for choosing PortfolioEngine!

Vision Chain offers a suite of business applications that address specific business needs and support a variety of business processes.  From pricing analysis to promotion assessment to opportunity gap identification to perpetual inventory correction, our applications enable analysts to get to the root of problems quickly and accurately.

Vision Chain Insights applications emphasize simplicity for novice users while providing full flexibility for sophisticated users.  Available via web, Windows, Excel, and email, analysis results can be delivered in the format most appropriate for the end user.

Read More about Vision Chain Solutions

Enhance Microsoft Project Server with EPM Live

I was recently asked by someone, why an organization would deploy EPM Live with Project Server.  By connecting EPM Live to the Project Server platform, organizations take advantage of all the features Microsoft Project Server offers and tie it together nicely with a flexible SharePoint solution that enables them to manage not only their entire project lifecycle but all of their other work as well.  EPM Live combined with Microsoft Project Server’s technology caters to all users, all work and all processes.

Organizations in the initial deployment of Project Server can maximize their return on investment and reduce cost and risk by leveraging our pre-configured SharePoint project templates, Project Server database, SSRS Reports, etc.  For those already using Project Server looking to enhance its capabilities without costly and risky customization,  EPM Live offers many enhancements that I’ve outlined below.

Pick and choose features that would benefit your organization the most, without disruption to your existing processes.  Project Managers continue to use Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Web App. Directly accessible from the Project Web App (PWA) interface.  Teams can share all work assignments, priorities, and critical dates with an effective and easy to use collaboration tool, to increase communication and productivity across their projects.  EPM Live with Project Server enables organizations to work better together and allows Microsoft Project Server to reach a broader audience and meet the needs of the entire project team.

Project Management

  • Leverage multiple scheduling methods to determine which method is right for your project.
  • For iterative planning, use the Agile Planner to schedule tasks, user stories, defects, etc.
  • Microsoft Project schedules and Project Web App schedules are published to a SharePoint task list in the Project Workspace so you can easily leverage SharePoint out of box features on your tasks
  • EPM Live’s App MarketPlace offers powerful, easy-to-use, predefined solution templates that optimize the dynamic features of EPM Live products and accelerate the implementation process.

Work Management

  • View, update and manage all individual work assignments from a single location with the EPM Live My Work web part. Roll up any work you are tracking in your SharePoint Project Workspaces to allow Team members to update status in one view.








  • Easily collaborate with the team using EPM Live Comments feature.  Post a comment on any item in the system to centralize discussions and communicate effectively.








 Resource Management: 

  • Provide resource visibility on All Work such as Issues, Risks, Changes, Actions, in addition to Project Server assignments.  EPM Live’s Resource Planner allows resource managers to view resource workload across all work, view resource availability by time-phase, perform what-if analysis on resource assignment level workload and availability, and view resources by various attributes such as department, skill, and role.







  • Gain valuable insight into resource assignments by accessing EPM Live out-of-box resource reports. Printable Resource Management reports on all work such as Issues, Risks, Changes, Actions, in addition to Project Server assignments
  • Ability to build SharePoint Workflows on Resource Work and Assignments (including Project Server assignments)

Time Management:

  • Report Time on any work item such as Service Requests, Backlog Items, Changes, Issues, Risks, in addition to your Project Server assignments.








  • Report Time using the EPM Live Work Log feature.  Understand the full effort associated with the execution of any work item by quickly logging time within the same status interface that team members use for managing day to day activities.












  • Capture Time for Multiple Time Categories.  Create multiple time categories such as billable or non-billable to manage and account for time that aligns with a specific corporate work structure. Categorize time to extend reporting and report on what matters most to the business.








Portfolio Financial Management:

  • Standardize financial planning by leveraging pre-defined, configurable cost categories such as labor, hardware, software, overheads and contingency to easily plan your project budgets.








  • Leverage unique roll up components to aggregate all project cost data across your portfolio. Built-in cost dashboards provide key performance indicators to drive awareness of cost status.








  • What-if Financial Modeling – Analyze your proposed portfolio against defined financial targets to determine alignment and overall financial impact. Compare defined budgets against proposed projects and make adjustments where needed.  Leverage color-coded heat maps to visualize impacts and make adjustments to reduce overages.








Resource Capacity Planning:

  • Using your Project Server resource pool, estimate role-based resource hours to ensure the resource plan can be fulfilled given current resource workload and availability. For the more sophisticated organizations, our powerful resource workflows allow project management to create resource requests.  Department managers can compare resource availability to identify resource shortages and surpluses and easily match available resources to resource requirements to ensure the right resources are assigned to the right work at the right time.








  • Leverage intuitive color-coded heat maps to view over allocations and modify dates and sequencing to define the most optimal portfolio.









  • Leverage over 20 pre-built SSRS Reporting templates.









  • Easily build dashboards with EPM Live Silverlight Chart Web Parts for graphical chart reporting.








  • Take scheduled snap shots for trend reporting with pre-built trending reports, such as Burn Down and Burn Up reports.








  • Site hierarchy flexibility (Department – Portfolio – Program – Project – Sub Project Workspaces)
  • Publish multiple projects from Project Server into a single Project Workspace (Programs or Portfolios Workspaces)
  • All Data resides in SharePoint Content DB to enable you to easily leverage SharePoint out of box features (Project data, Assignments, Issues, Risks, Bugs, Changes, Actions, etc.)
  • Access to EPM Live web parts for rollups, time management, reporting, ect.

Cross Platform Support:

  • View Project Server data on both PC or MAC computers
  • View Project Server data in Non IE browsers
  • Safari 3.X or higher
  • Firefox 3.X or higher​

Related Webinars/Events:

Case Study – How to Get More Out of Your Project Server Deployment