Microsoft has released the first public beta of its Project 2010 project and programme management tool which it plans to ship in the first half of next year.The offering was launched at the Microsoft Project Conference 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona, and will come in three versions - Standard, Professional and Project Server 2010 - rather than the four sold under the Office Project 2007 moniker.Project Web Access, which provides a web interface to Office Project 2007 functionality, will not be available under 2010 brand."Microsoft Project 2010 is the most significant release of Microsoft Project for over a decade," said Chris Capossela, senior vice president of the vendor's information worker product management group."The fresh, simple and intuitive features of Microsoft Project 2010 will enable teams and organisations of all sizes to select and deliver the right projects on time and on budget."Capossela claimed that the tool will enable customers to cut costs by helping them to take more informed decisions on budgeting and resource allocation issues. The software is integrated with the SharePoint Server collaboration platform and the Exchange messaging server.Project 2010 uses the Fluent user interface currently employed by Microsoft's Office 2007 suite, and includes customisable workflow controls. Demand management functionality has been included to enable users to capture work requests from across the organisation, while new reporting and other business intelligence capabilities have also been added.The tool also offers enhanced collaboration features, web-based project editing functionality and user-controlled scheduling. The latter provides more flexibility when creating project plans, while a new time-line view offers a sequential overview of project schedules.Project 2010 has also been integrated with Outlook 2007 and 2010, and the Project Server Interface has been improved to enable better integration with third-party systems, according to Microsoft. The offering supports 64-bit systems, and ActiveX controls have been removed to boost security.
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