Are you looking to make the leap from a collection of spreadsheets and Outlook tasks to a simple-to-use, flexible project and portfolio management solution in a SharePoint environment? If so, you should consider BrightWork. BrightWork was the first project and portfolio management solution built on Microsoft SharePoint. We recently connected with Eamonn McGuinness, CEO of BrightWork, to discuss the company's salient features, history and market.

Start Now and Evolve When Ready

One of BrightWork's standout features is its quick implementation time. This project management solution provides quick start options for building projects right away. It then evolves with you as you learn more about the software and increase your knowledge of project management. This makes the BrightWork solution suitable for new project planners and team members as well as seasoned project managers who are familiar with formal PM methodologies.

Project and Portfolio Template Management

BrightWork includes a powerful template manager. Preconfigured project templates range from simple Project Lite to Agile and SCRUM templates. Using the template manager, you can select preconfigured project templates and deploy them immediately. You can alter the templates, or create your own. There is a template specifically for IT teams. You can save multiple versions of templates and deploy them across numerous projects at once. For added convenience, BrightWork includes a direct integration with Microsoft Project Professional 2010, so tasks and plans can be synced between the two programs.

Reporting and Insight

BrightWork greatly extends Sharepoint's reporting capabilities. This project management solution includes Gantt Charts, Project Status, Resource Tracking, Work Tracking and Issue Tracking reports, as well as filters and tools for creating customized reports. Dashboard and status views can also be customized to highlight specific information. Reports can be shared with interested parties as Excel documents or XML files, or by using the Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Service.

Time Tested (1995 - Present)

BrightWork has been around for nearly 20 years, and its development team and founders have been working in the industry longer than that. This is not a fly-by-night company. BrightWork first incorporated in 1995 and started out building compatibilities for Lotus Notes, eventually becoming one of its premium partners. In 2000, the company was approached by Microsoft to join the SharePoint 2001 JDP (Joint Development Program), and TeamCentral for Sharepoint was released soon after. The company trademarked BrightWork in 2003 and became a Microsoft Gold Partner in 2005. Since then, it has rolled out numerous releases and has solutions that are compatible with all versions of SharePoint. One of the major advantages of BrightWork's compatibility with SharePoint is that most medium and large organizations already use SharePoint. They are familiar with how to use it and understand the features it lacks in terms of project tracking. BrightWork fills that niche and provides project and portfolio management alongside a time-tested collaboration tool that companies already use.

Interested in developing long-term partnerships, BrightWork provides extensive training and a choice of contract commitments. Training includes role-specific training, self-help tools and deployment consulting. The company also offers flexible deployment options to support any preference, including on-premise, a jump-start package and online month-to-month contracts. All accounts include free access to users outside the corporation who are not paid members.

Who Uses BrightWork?

The companies that use BrightWork are most often mid-size firms that already use a handful of business solutions and desire a project management solution that can complement the systems they use already. BrightWork's Mr. McGuinness says its customers generally fall into two types: divisions of large organizations or small to medium companies with 50-1000 users. BrightWork's customers report that their team members pick up on and use BrightWork almost instantly. These customers notice a significant increase in their project organization, they have better project insight and performance monitoring, and they appreciate the best practices and formal methodologies included with the project templates.

BrightWork is a time-tested project management solution for SharePoint. It has a minimal learning curve and provides valuable insight right from the start. If your company is interested in expanding what SharePoint can do for it, check out BrightWork. You may be surprised at what it can do for you.

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