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Feature Differences between Project Online and Project Professional (and Project Server)

By: Collin Quiring

We are often asked by clients about whether or not they should implement Project Online in the cloud or Project Server in-house. Clients sometimes have different reasons as to which one they want to use or sometimes they have asked us about specific features. We often go out and find an article created by Microsoft similar to the one below. But, we know that some folks have a hard time searching TechNet so we are copying some of the basics from the article by Microsoft here.

To us, a couple of the significant advantages to using Project Server in-house instead of going with Project Online are:

  • Database Access – you can report directly from the database and you can potentially more easily created stored procedures or other data management that you may need for other system integration or reporting needs
  • SharePoint Central Admin – there are a few features (like administrative backup/restore) that are just not available (yet at least) onlineBoth in-house and online have advantages and disadvantages so a longer discussion about needs is always required. But, those needs inevitably lead to which method has the features that we need to implement a system that works as desired. That is what the rest of this is about.If you are going to go online, there are three basic plans (as of the writing of this article). Those are Project Online Essentials, Project Online Professional and Project Online Premium.

Both in-house and online have advantages and disadvantages so a longer discussion about needs is always required. But, those needs inevitably lead to which method has the features that we need to implement a system that works as desired. That is what the rest of this is about.

If you are going to go online, there are three basic plans (as of the writing of this article). Those are Project Online Essentials, Project Online Professional and Project Online Premium.

Plan Description Target users
Project Online Essentials1
  • Web-based interface for team members
  • Update tasks, issues, and risks
  • Submit timesheets
  • Share documents and collaborate with Skype for Business presence
Team members
Project Online Professional1 All of the Project Online Essentials functionality, plus:

  • Rich user interface through desktop client
  • Anytime/anywhere access through Web interface
  • Project scheduling and costing
  • Resource management
  • Publishing projects to the cloud
  • Includes the most current version of the Project desktop application, instantly streamed to your Windows PC.
  • Each subscription license allows for up to five concurrent installations of the Project desktop application.
Project managers
Project Online Premium1 All of the Project Online Professional functionality, plus:

  • Portfolio selection and optimization
  • Demand management
  • Enterprise resource management
  • Out-of-box portfolio reports
Portfolio and resource managers

If you go with the cloud options that include the desktop product then you just download from your subscription site. You do not need to go out and buy Project Professional for your desktop as a separate application.

So, what features can you do based on what level of Online or Professional that you are using? Here is the chart:

Feature Project Online Essentials Project Online Professional Project Online Premium Project Professional 2016 Project Server 2016
Core functionality (desktop client)          
Add columns No Yes Yes Yes No
Backstage No Yes Yes Yes No
Click-to-Run No Yes Yes Yes No
Contextual right-click menus No Yes Yes Yes No
Custom fields No Yes Yes Yes No
Enhanced copy and paste across Microsoft Office applications No Yes Yes Yes No
Gantt chart, calendar, and task sheet views No Yes Yes Yes No
Microsoft Fluent user interface, the ribbon No Yes Yes Yes No
Multiple-level undo No Yes Yes Yes No
Network diagram view No Yes Yes Yes No
Office Store No Yes2 Yes2 Yes2 No
Online help No Yes Yes Yes No
PDF and XPS output No Yes Yes Yes No
Placeholder text in Project fields No Yes Yes Yes No
Project templates No Yes Yes Yes No
Start experience No Yes Yes Yes No
Text wrap No Yes Yes Yes No
Timeline view   Yes Yes Yes No
Zoom controls No Yes Yes Yes No
Project planning (desktop client) Project Online Essentials Project Online Professional Project Online Premium Project Professional 2016 Project Server 2016
Baseline rollup No Yes Yes Yes No
Budget planning No Yes Yes Yes No
Compare project versions No Yes Yes Yes No
Deadlines No Yes Yes Yes No
Filtering No Yes Yes Yes No
Formulas and graphical indicators No Yes Yes Yes No
Group and sort Project data No Yes Yes Yes No
Reports No Yes Yes Yes No
Team Planner No Yes Yes Yes No
Task management (desktop client) Project Online Essentials Project Online Professional Project Online Premium Project Professional 2016 Project Server 2016
Active and inactive tasks No Yes Yes Yes No
Auto-complete No Yes Yes Yes No
Automatic scheduling No Yes Yes Yes No
Calendar date extended to 2149 No Yes Yes Yes No
Cross-project Critical Path No Yes Yes Yes No
Task inspector No Yes Yes Yes No
Task Path analysis No Yes Yes Yes No
Top-down summary tasks No Yes Yes Yes No
Update progress No Yes Yes Yes No
User-controlled and manual scheduling No Yes Yes Yes No
Project resource management (desktop client) Project Online Essentials Project Online Professional Project Online Premium Project Professional 2016 Project Server 2016
Cost resources No Yes Yes Yes No
Manage nonworking time No Yes Yes Yes No
Resource leveling No Yes Yes Yes No
Resource sheet and usage views No Yes Yes Yes No
Resource substitution No Yes Yes Yes No
Team resources No Yes Yes Yes No
Work, generic, and material resources No Yes Yes Yes No
Project publishing (desktop client) Project Online Essentials Project Online Professional Project Online Premium Project Professional 2016 Project Server 2016
Create a Project site No Yes Yes Yes No
Master projects on SharePoint No Yes Yes Yes No
Presence with Skype for Business No Yes Yes Yes No
Publish Projects to Project Server or Project Online No Yes Yes Yes No
Save a Project MPP file to SharePoint No Yes Yes Yes No
Task List Sync to SharePoint No Yes Yes Yes No
Core services functionality Project Online Essentials Project Online Professional Project Online Premium Project Professional 2016 Project Server 2016
Active Directory integration Yes1 Yes Yes No Yes
Administration, Deployment, and Extensibility Yes23 Yes Yes No Yes
Getting Started Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Issues and risk management (for team members) Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Office 365 Trust Center Yes2 Yes2 Yes2 N/A N/A
PPM Partner ecosystem Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Service reliability Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A
Service updates Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A
Team member collaboration Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Time and task management (for team members) Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Project management Project Online Essentials Project Online Professional Project Online Premium Project Professional 2016 Project Server 2016
Issues and risk management No Yes Yes No Yes
Manage project resources No Yes Yes No Yes
Schedule management No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Time and task management No Yes Yes No Yes
Portfolio management Project Online Essentials Project Online Professional Project Online Premium Project Professional 2016 Project Server 2016
Analyze projects and optimize portfolio No No Yes No Yes
Create and edit projects No Yes Yes No Yes
Financial management No No Yes No Yes
Participate in workflow No Yes Yes No Yes
Portfolio analytics and selection No No Yes No Yes
Program management No No Yes No Yes
Reporting and business intelligence Project Online Essentials Project Online Professional Project Online Premium Project Professional 2016 Project Server 2016
OData feeds No Yes Yes No Yes
Out-of-the-box portfolio dashboards No No Yes No No
Power BI content pack No No Yes No No
Project desktop reporting No Yes Yes Yes No
Resource management Project Online Essentials Project Online Professional Project Online Premium Project Professional 2016 Project Server 2016
Approve/reject/modify incoming resource engagement requests No No Yes No Yes
Manage resource pool No No Yes No Yes
Plan resource capacity No No Yes No Yes
Request resource agreements No Yes Yes Yes Yes
View available resources and build teams No Yes Yes Yes Yes

 

Chart from: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/project-online-service-description.aspx

 

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