It might be a product of my limited SharePoint experience, but when I've taken a look at some of the SharePoint project management solutions out there, I've felt truly overwhelmed. For instance, I wrote a review about a product called pmPoint a few months back. pmPoint provided some amazing reporting capabilities for high-level management, but I felt like the system was too complex to really serve the needs of smaller businesses with simpler needs.

EPM Live fills that gap. While the product is intended for organizations of all sizes, from what I can tell the product is most beneficial to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). I didn't have time to read through the 32-page datasheet, but as far as I can see, where EPM Live shines is through the different views it offers. For instance, if you're a project manager assigning projects out, wouldn't it be nice to be able to quickly switch to a view that shows how many hours of work that individual has in a given week, so you can easily decide how many weeks to spread the project out and where to put it? This feature is reminiscent of Outlook's feature to view co-worker schedules when picking a meeting time. (You can see the feature in action in this video.)

Additionally, EPM Live sorts each employee's work based on whether it is overdue, due this week, or due in the future. Then, assignments can be viewed in a spreadsheet format where quick updates can be made to a variety of assignments. This is an important feature, because it can be quite time consuming (and frustrating) to sift through all of your assignments and slowly check things off. Project management solutions are supposed to increase efficiency, not be an additional barrier to efficiency.

EPM Live has also won a few awards, such as Microsoft's 2009 Partner of the Year award in the Enterprise Project Management category (it also won in 2008). EPM Live was also recognized with Microsoft's "Best Practices Award" in the Southwest District for 2009.

While I don't know enough about the solution to flat out recommend it, EPM Live seems worth putting on the table if your organization is looking for a solution that will increase project management efficiency and accountability in SharePoint without creating a monster of a system to manage. EPM Live is available for purchase at $150 per user or $15 per user per month as a hosted solution. Additional pricing packages are available, so contact the vendor for more information.

To learn more about EPM Live, you can visit the company website or view demo videos of the product.

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