Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New Project SKUs, what you need to know in a nutshell!

Hi Folks !

Quite a long time since I didn't publish a new post, sorry for that! Hopefully my blog mate backed me up on this, thanks Jérôme!

I'd like to share with you today some fresh information about the new SKUs for the Project cloud subscription plans effective August 15th 2016. This article might be updated since we are still on the way to get it fully clear. It also might contain some inaccuracies that I'll be pleased to correct, see the disclaimer at the end of the page. If you do need clear and official information about this plan, contact your Microsoft representative.

You can always refer to those following links from Microsoft to have the clear picture. I'll not repeat what is said on those articles, but give some insights.

Note that there is no deprecation, this is purely a change to licensing. Let's start with the basics, the 3 new SKUs:

Project Online Essentials: it replaces as is the former Project Lite. Same features, same price, different name. You just get access to Project Online via the web app, so no desktop client (Project Pro).

Project Online Professional: don't mix it with Project Professional which is the desktop client. Actually this desktop client coming with the Online subscriptions will now be named "Project Online Desktop Client" so SKUs are self-explanatory. 
This Project Online Professional SKU is actually more or less equivalent to the former Project Online with Project Pro for O365 SKU, meaning that it includes Project Pro (so Project Online Desktop Client if you follow me), but with restricted functionalities. We can mention the new Dashboard app, the portfolio module, resource engagements (approve/reject/modify) : they all are NOT part of available features for this SKU. Note that you can request resource engagements, which seems obvious for a PM role. This SKU is intended to be assigned to administrators.
Talking about price, this SKU has no equivalent in the former model, so tricky to compare, but let's say that at $30, it is still cheaper that the former PO SKU ($33) which was only web accessible (not desktop client) but more features.

Project Online Premium: this is the full license, all included, full package. It comes at $55, so a $3 economy compared to the former PO with Project for O365.

So who should have what? The easiest: team members with Project Lite just need Project Online Essentials since it is transparent. Then the Project Online Professional would be for project managers. The tricky point is that as soon as your PM have an extended role (demand management, portfolio management, dashboard reporting), they'll be out of this SKU's scope and would require the Premium SKU; as well as for the resource managers. Still, it is cheaper than the former SKU. But talking with the MVP folks, we ended up with the conclusion that we would require intermediate SKUs for team leads and resource managers. Those roles usually don't require Project Pro, but do need advanced features included in the Professional and Premium SKUs.

As for the reporting part, users will need the Premium or Professional SKU to elaborate and share reports/dashboards through PowerBI, but the Premium SKU is required for the Project PowerBI content packs. To access those dashboards, users will need at least the Professional SKU (with the Odata feed access).

As additional information, I can tell you that there is no change for on-premise and perpetual plans. Moreover, as for the former plan, the licensing restrictions are not enforced in the application today. Finally, a very fresh information from Brian Smith (he should soon blog about it), beginning in February 2017, due to architectural changes to features in Project Online which impact older versions of Project, Project Online will require the latest version of Project to connect to Office 365. Thus for example, no more Project 2013 for Project Online.

Last but not least, it seems that there will NOT be a Project Pro for O365 subscription anymore. If you require only MS Project Pro (without Project Online), you need to get it through the perpetual license, you won't be able to get it with the former monthly subscription. As far as I understood, if you have now Project Pro for O365, the plan is : you'll be reassigned to the Project Online Professional SKU, so you'll also get access to the Project Online web interface, even if you are just in a standalone mode. 

I'll ask you guys to take carefully this information, like all the content of this article, since all that I share with you is pretty fresh, so I might still need to dig into it and update it based on the regular information we get from Microsoft.

EDIT 2016-08-25: comment from my blog mate: the Pro SKU gives you the ability to request engagement, but not to modify/approve/reject. We are typically in the model of the Pro SKU for PM and Premium SKU for RM.

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