Switching over to a new service can be frustrating and may give you a little anxiety if you don’t do your research. Users can easily be faced with issues along the way during migration, but in order to have a seamless experience, consider some of these things first.

1. What are Microsoft Project Online’s capabilities?

One important thing to understand is that Project Online is a completely separate service that offers full portfolio and project management services online. This service is not to be confused as an online version of Project Professional 2013 that is also a project management solution. Project management features are supported by using the Project desktop application. Project Online also comes with Project Web App and Project for Office 365 if your organization subscribes. Another helpful hint, by adding Project Online to an existing site collection – i.e.- on SharePoint – you can use the permissions and users that are already set up in each site collection. This will also allow you to share enterprise projects to your team.


2. How much data do you want to migrate?

When you’re considering migrating to Project Online or any service for that matter, you need to consider if whether or not all of that historical data is necessary to transfer over to the new environment. If you’re looking to maintain historical data to analyze trends etc., then you might want to transfer that data, however you might also find that storing that data elsewhere might be easier and a way to clean up your configuration. One important thing to consider though is historical timesheet data. If your organization needs access to historical timesheet data, you’ll have to look elsewhere for that feature. Project Online does not support the migration of historical timesheets.

3. Third party components

Before migrating to Project Online, make sure you know how many custom Web or third party components you have if, for instance, you’re migrating from Project Server to Project Online. If you do have these components, they will not migrate over, however third party add-ins may be available in the Microsoft online store that serves the same purpose. Third party components may also be needed to recreate SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). If your organization has reports that are being generated that also need to be migrated over to Project Online, you can also redevelop the SSRS using Open Data Protocol (OData) and Excel. Any existing reports that use direct T-SQL against the reporting database must be recreated using OData.

4. Know your limits

In order to maintain Project Online’s peak performance level, there are limits to how much data you can store. There is a 10GB limit for each Project Online database, however this is separate from the limit from all of the data that is stored in the SharePoint site collection where Project Web App is enabled. There are also limits to how many single-value custom fields of each type, get stored in the reporting schema. While you can create more custom fields than the set limits, only the set number of each type –i.e. 450 text fields, lookup tables-will be included in the OData feed. Although there are data limits, contacting customer support is an option to possibly extend that limit. In addition, if your organization requires you to extract a lot of data, use the SSIS package to copy reporting data into a SQL server database locally or in Microsoft Azure for more reporting flexibility.

5. Custom domain names

If you want to use a custom domain name other than the default one that adds on “.onmicrosoft.com” to the url, you must do this before you add other users to Project Online. Once you’ve added users, you won’t have the ability to change the domain. You can set up a domain name with Office 365.

6. Accessing business intelligence (BI)

If, for example, your organization is migrating from a traditional on-premises Project Server, how you access data will change. Direct access to the Project Server Reporting database is not permissible in Project Online as it normally would be in an on-premises Project Server deployment. OData is used to access the data for Project Online and Excel and Excel Services are then used to display the project data. New Project Professional 2013 BI reports are also provided.

One of the major benefits of migrating to a cloud-based service is the absence of having to deal with deployment, hardware, and software across the whole organization. Project Online has many configuration and customized settings that can impact performance. Contact Aptude to make sure your migration goes smoothly and to ensure that your configurations and settings are going to provide you with optimal performance. Migrating to Project Online will ultimately optimize your organization’s project portfolio and maximize business goals.