Open source vendor takes on Microsoft Project

But analysts say it faces a tough road.

A new open source player called Projity is advertising its desktop software as a "complete replacement" for Microsoft Office Project, but analysts say it faces a tough road in its bid to win a large chunk of the project management market.

Projity started as a software-as-a-service vendor two years ago with Project-On-Demand, and launched a public beta last month for OpenProj, an open source version for the desktop. After winning SaaS customers such as NASA and Bechtel, Projity says nearly 100,000 people have downloaded its open source software.

Projity CEO Marc O'Brien sees his company as adding another layer to the Microsoft Office competition coming from Google Apps, OpenOffice.org backed by Sun and IBM, and various hosted software vendors.

"All of them are going after the Microsoft Office suite, but they've all got Word, Excel and PowerPoint replacements. Project is part of the Office family, but none of these suites has an alternative to Project," O'Brien says.

O'Brien says Projity can open Microsoft Project files, and goes "mano a mano" with Microsoft in features, even for "obscure things like earned value costing, scheduling constraints, resource escalation rates."

While Projity will eventually develop a paid support model, at least for now support is free in online forums where customers can ask the vendor questions.

While O'Brien claims to see a market devoid of Microsoft Project competitors, enterprise software analyst Dennis Callaghan of the 451 Group says other open source vendors have popped up to offer similar products. An IDC survey found that 16% of companies have deployed open source project and portfolio management, says Matt Lawton, lead analyst for open source business models.

"They're certainly not the first vendor to come up and say 'we're a low-cost alternative to Project, we're going to blow Project out of the water,'" Callaghan says. "This is a tiny company taking on Microsoft. ... The odds are against them."

Projity could develop a successful business model going after portions of the market, particularly small companies with tight budgets and organizations dedicated to using open source software, Callaghan says.

Projity has done a better job bringing its product to market than competitors such as Project.Net, another open source vendor, he says.

Customers examining Projity's software should realize the Web-based version is more sophisticated than OpenProj, because it enables the type of collaboration that is becoming central to project management, Callaghan says.

Project-On-Demand provides better reporting on project performance, including examinations of multiple projects simultaneously, O'Brien says. "We can extract a lot of information because the information resides on the server side," he explains.

Next month, Projity will release another product called Projity Enterprise, which can be installed onto a customer's servers, allowing better sharing. With OpenProj, employees need to e-mail project files back and forth or send screen captures to share information, O'Brien says.

The overall cost of Projtiy enterprise will be similar to that of Project-On-Demand, which costs US$7.99 per user per month for light users, and US$19.99 per month for power users, O'Brien says.

The Microsoft Office Project professional edition retails for US$999.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?