Organizations that are interested in using Oracle Primavera to help streamline and make their project planning and execution efficient are tasked with the challenge to determine which of Oracle’s products is the most feasible to implement.
Knowing what options are available and understanding the primary differences between Oracle Primavera’s Primavera P6 PPM (also known as Primavera Client and Primavera P6 Professional Project Management) and Primavera EPPM (also known as P6 web or Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management) is critical before deciding on which product to implement company-wide.
Primavera P6 PPM offers a powerful resource to project management teams for project planning and scheduling, resource and cost management, and project reporting.
Primavera EPPM adds a significant and robust layer by adding capabilities for portfolio management, graphic dashboards, and team collaboration.
This article will investigate the major differences between the two applications, as well as compare some similarities.
Architectural Differences and Database Capabilities – Primavera P6 EPPM vs P6 PPM
Firstly, one of the most significant differences between Primavera P6 PPM (Professional) and Primavera EPPM is the differences in the architecture between the two tools.
Primavera P6 PPM, also known as the client version or Primavera P6 Professional, can be used as a stand-alone option, and because it is a Windows client application, it is run directly from an executable file on the user’s computer.
As a stand-alone tool, Primavera P6 PPM is operated from a locally installed database such as Oracle XE or Microsoft SQL Server. The database options are Oracle, SQL, or SQLite.
Primavera EPPM, on the other hand, cannot be used as a stand-alone entity. Rather, it is a web browser-based enterprise-wide entity that serves as a project management system company-wide.
Primavera EPPM’s capabilities are compatible with Primavera P6 PPM, and it contains integrated reporting via Oracle’s P6 Analytics and Business Intelligence Publisher. Other usable features include timesheets. Primavera EPPM Database options include Oracle or SQL.
Primavera EPPM is Java-dependent, and it can get tricky when multiple users have different versions of Java on their workstations. The challenge will be to ensure uniformity among the Primavera EPPM users. Java is known for its pop-ups, which some users would rather not see on their workstations.
Primavera P6 PPM does not lack Java dependency in general, and using an older version of Java may not be an issue to operate the application. Besides, a user can be set up to use Primavera P6 PPM’s stand-alone capability and run from an SQL server rather than the Oracle XE database.
Installation – Primavera P6 EPPM vs P6 PPM
Primavera P6 PPM is considered relatively simple to install, and it does not contain costly add-ons.
However, Primavera P6 PPM installation can also be tedious and time-consuming, as the application is operated through a user’s workstation employing an individual license. If there are dozens of users, for example, the application will have to be installed on each user’s workstation.
Primavera EPPM; however, contains a complex architecture, particularly when it is combined with other programs, such as Oracle BI reporting and Oracle P6 Analytics.
Installation for Primavera EPPM is much quicker since all users can be set up at one time. The process can also be performed remotely, and users are assigned a login.
Licences and Operating Systems – Primavera P6 EPPM vs P6 PPM
One notable difference and disadvantage in Primavera P6 PPM is that it is not as mobile as some other applications.
Primavera P6 PPM requires individual and specific user licenses, and as a result, the application solely exists on and is accessed from the user’s workstation. With Primavera P6 PPM, users can work independently and more efficiently since the application is stand-alone on the user’s workstation, as it does not require a dependency on the web.
Providing a licence for each project participants can become costly. Therefore, best-practice alternatives include distinguishing the power users from users who need a view only access across the company. It is also a common practice for data to be shared with the rest of the team who does not fall in the category of a power user in PDF.
Nowadays, by adopting the P6 PPM solution together with a third party complementary project viewer application such as ScheduleReader, companies can also allow the rest of the project members to have a dynamic view access to the schedule data, as opposed to the use of static PDFs.
On the other hand, Primavera EPPM allows a simpler onboarding process for its users since it is web-based. A provided login is required, and it does not require an installation on a local workstation. Since Primavera EPPM is web-based, the application is mobile, which means that users located anywhere that they have Internet access can access and update the project data via mobile apps.
Primavera EPPM is web-based, so if an Internet connection is lost for any reason, the capability to produce work in the tool is lost. A less than solid Internet connection also means an extremely slow program, making loading screens tedious. The larger the schedules, the slower the loading can become.
Due to Primavera EPPM’s dependency on the web, an Internet browser is required to use the application. The different web entities all have different set-up requirements to successfully operate Primavera EPPM.
Depending on the version of Primavera EPPM and the type of web browser, a user may need to take time to configure the browser settings to accommodate the operation of Primavera EPPM.
Deployment and Preferences of Use – Primavera P6 EPPM vs P6 PPM
It is common Primavera EPPM to be the preferred application for deployments, where an organization requires multiple project stakeholders to access the project portfolio data.
Larger organizations that have project stakeholders who must view the project data may be located in different parts of the world, thus, complicating the project management tool capabilities.
In the case of Primavera EPPM, teams throughout the world can access the project data and dashboards as long as they have Internet access. However, there are some concerns with Primavera EPPM’s speed and loading time on the dashboards as a result of the Internet-based architecture.
Primavera EPPM’s web-based functionality means that if schedules get significantly large in the number of tasks, the application may run slower and it becomes more difficult to manage. Loading times may become too slow to tolerate a fast-paced project management environment.
On the other hand, Primavera P6 PPM tends to be preferred by power users due to its stability, quick reaction time, and its ability to support stand-alone operation on the user’s workstation.
Primavera P6 PPM, works well and in complement with project viewers and other standalone software solutions such as ScheduleReader that can accommodate dispersed project teams with a view access to the schedule, without the need for an internet connection.
Primavera P6 PPM is considered a resilient application that can easily handle several thousand project activities. Although in project management this is not an ideal scenario to structure a project schedule with almost 30,000 activities, for example, the capability is there in Primavera P6 PPM.
Integration – Primavera P6 EPPM vs Primavera P6 PPM
As far as integration goes, Primavera P6 PPM contains a feature called Work Products and Documents (WP & Docs). Users can use the feature to store and track project documentation.
In addition, the desktop based application also works well with other 3rd party utility tools who were specifically built to complement and optimize some parts of working with the P6 PPM solution.
Primavera EPPM can integrate with other systems such as SharePoint, WP & Docs, and Oracle-based JD Edwards and PeopleSoft.
Project Views and Visual Graphic Appeal – Primavera P6 EPPM vs Primavera P6 PPM
Graphic content and graphic capabilities are some of the most noticeable differences between Primavera P6 PPM and Primavera EPPM.
Primavera P6 PPM contains decent graphics; however, users will not be able to use interactive graphics such as the ones built into the web-based version.
Primavera EPPM, on the other hand, contains extraordinary and interactive graphs, pivot tables, charts, and colorful dashboards. Just like Microsoft’s Power BI software, Primavera EPPM contains interactive graphs where a user can go into the finer details of the project data at a much lower level.
Primavera EPPM offers its Dashboard and Portfolio data tabs that present a summary of project data, as well as interactive capabilities.
Add-Ons, Dashboards and Reporting Features – Primavera PPM vs EPPM
Primavera P6 PPM contains some limited built-in reporting in the form of its report wizard, report editor, and the Primavera Visualizer.
- The Primavera report wizard provides step-by-step instructions with the result being a tabulated schedule progress report. These reports can be saved in ASCII text format for Excel spreadsheet output, and the reports can also be previewed and printed, with the option to select as an attachment to an e-mail.
- The Primavera report editor is used to add, edit, and organize report contents to customize a report.
- Lastly, Primavera Visualizer can be used to create specialized charts and Time-Scaled Logic Diagrams (TSLDs) for usage in time-based reporting. It is important to take note that Visualizer can be utilized as a stand-alone entity, and it is compatible with both Primavera P6 PPM and Primavera EPPM.
To make the most out of these limited built-in reporting capabilities, organizations adopt third party tools that help schedulers and project managers in their daily work.
A good example for some of the must-have Primavera P6 PPM companion tools are the ScheduleReader and ScheduleCleaner software. The two products offers abundance of features that help both P6 users and the wider project team to best manage the flow of information, and are even available for purchase as a bundle package at discounted price.
Primavera EPPM contains a variety of add-ons, as well as robust and colorful reporting with BI Publisher, which contains standard built-in reports. Here is a synopsis of Primavera EPPM’s collection of add-on tools and their features:
- P6 Progress Reporter: P6 Progress Reporter is an optional and integrated timesheet entry software, where personnel will use the tool to record working time spent on specific assignments through the electronic timesheets. Managers then use Primavera Progress Reporter to review and approve the timesheets.
- P6 Analytics Reporting: P6 Analytics is an optional, integrated reporting tool that possesses advanced visual features and dashboards.
- P6 Integration API and Primavera Gateway: P6 Integration API is an optional Java-based Application Programming Interface (API) that serves as a conduit to interface with other compatible components and systems. Primavera Gateway is a configurable application that can integrate Primavera P6 EPPM with other products for the utilization of more robust project scope management.
- P6 Team Member Web: P6 Team Member Web offers its users a conduit via a web interface to provide project status on individual tasks. Project team members can also send e-mails using P6 Team Member Web without having an installed e-mail client.
- P6 Mobile/Apps: P6 Mobile is one of Primavera EPPM’s most flexible features. The application allows project team members to provide status on their tasks and even enter timesheet data outside of their designated workstation or laptop. In other words, a mobile team can still work and communicate with other project team members while off-site and away from their computers with the help of their smartphone.
- P6 Team Member E-Mail Status Service: This convenient feature enables project team members to provide status on their tasks by using an HTML or plain text e-mail application.
- BI Publisher Reporting: The BI Publisher is a database server that hosts the reporting library, templates, and views that are required to build detailed and complex reports efficiently. This project data is designed to create interactive reports.
Since Primavera P6 PPM has been in existence for so many years, users are accustomed to the usual features and screens that come with the application. Some Primavera P6 PPM features and screens that users have used for years are absent in Primavera EPPM. This does take users time to get used to, as the web-based version is visually different.
Although Primavera P6 PPM contains a separate WBS view for review and modifications to the project structure, and Primavera EPPM has combined the WBS with the Activities screen, Primavera P6 PPM lacks the dashboards and portfolio pages that are so well accepted in Primavera EPPM. Primavera EPPM also has a separate Risk view that allows users to create custom Probability and Impact Diagrams.
Portfolio Management – Primavera PPM vs EPPM
Unfortunately, Primavera P6 PPM does not support Portfolio Management, which is best described as a compilation of projects. Portfolio Management allows the user to view a summarization of both data and status in a robust, graphical platform.
Primavera EPPM supports Portfolio Management, which is Oracle’s most powerful platform for planning, managing, and calculating project portfolios.
Advanced Features – Collaboration
Collaboration tools and features such as P6 Team Member Web and P6 Team Member E-Mail Status Service is offered for Primavera EPPM, which allows users to update their task status and send e-mail communications remotely. As a result, work can be performed off-site and away from the user’s workstation.
Collaboration in Primavera P6 PPM is absent, however it can be accomplished by combining Primavera P6 PPM with ScheduleReader and its unique progress update feature, which allows project teams on the field to easily send update proposals back to the scheduler in the office, who can then update the schedules in the Primavera P6.
Hence, a seamless communication and collaboration can take place. With ScheduleReader, project teams will have a view access to the schedule and an interface to propose actual field status of assignments. On the other end, schedulers will receive those reports and will always be able to keep the project schedule up-to date.
Advanced Features – What-If Analysis
One of Primavera P6 PPM’s most powerful assets includes the ability to create and analyze ‘what-if’ schedule analyses in the form of reflections. Reflections allow the Primavera P6 user to support multiple scenarios, best, and worst-case situations without having to commit the changes to the original schedule.
Unfortunately, Primavera EPPM does not support ‘what-if’ analysis, otherwise known as reflections in Primavera P6 PPM.
Advanced Features – Schedule Comparison
Primavera P6 PPM contains Schedule Comparison (formerly Claim Digger in older versions of Primavera P6 PPM), where a user can generate a report that compares the revised schedule against the original project schedule. Schedule Comparison, which is run via Primavera Visualizer, can also compare a revised schedule against the baseline schedule.
Unfortunately, Primavera EPPM does not contain Schedule Comparison or Claim Digger.
Other Advanced Features
Primavera P6 PPM does not support Project Templates, which can save users several hours from building projects from scratch. Instead, users will need to create their custom templates from scratch, which can then be copied and modified for future and similar projects. Primavera EPPM supports Project Templates, which simplifies the process for users to create new projects using similar WBS structures and supporting activity details.
Primavera P6 PPM contains the Global Change feature, which allows the user to make changes to activities, resource assignments, and project expenses at one time. A user can view and compare all changes before committing them to the project schedule. Primavera EPPM supports a Global Search & Replace feature, which can replace projects, WBS elements, and project activities.
The PPM version also contains a Top-Down Estimation feature that enables users to apply labor, non-labor, and material resources and units to various activities in a top-down action that uses pre-assigned weights to the tasks. Primavera EPPM does not support the same Top-Down Estimation feature to distribute the costs based on pre-assigned weights. It is possible to enter a bottoms-up action by getting creative in the use of an activity User Defined Field and a WBS Summary. The bottom-up estimate can resource load activities that in turn roll up at the WBS element level.
Timesheet Capability – Primavera P6 PPM vs EPPM
Primavera P6 PPM does not support a timesheet feature.
Primavera EPPM does contain a timesheet capability and an activity status application in the form of Primavera Team Member. With the P6 Mobile/Apps add-on, Primavera EPPM users can manage their timesheets from a mobile device.
Organizational Traits and Preferences – Primavera P6 PPM vs EPPM
Primavera P6 PPM integrates most efficiently in small to medium organizations, and those with a functional organizational structure.
Ideal situations that best accommodate Primavera P6 PPM include the following: a functional organization where personnel is divided and operate based on specific functional areas, an organization where only a select individual or group of people require the use of the Primavera application, and/or a small organization that does not possess a global workforce.
Perhaps only the schedulers/planners require the full capability and usage of the Primavera P6 application, as the project managers and other team members do not need to directly alter the data or view the dashboards and metrics that are provided by members of the project controls team.
In this regards, Primavera P6 PPM works hand in hand with ScheduleReader, where this third party solution provides efficient view-only access to the project plan for all other team members.
Primavera P6 PPM is often preferred in Oil & Gas, construction, engineering, some aerospace and defense organizations.
Primavera EPPM tends to favor larger-scale organizations, due to the expenses involved in individual Primavera P6 licenses.
In situations where the project managers and the other project team members have direct, physical input to the project schedules, Primavera EPPM is a more feasible option.
Primavera EPPM is best accommodated in the following scenarios: in matrix organizations where personnel operate across more than one function or operation, a large organization where several users are required to access the project data, or a large organization where the workforce is physically located globally and in different time zones.
Primavera EPPM is found commonly in matrixed organizations specializing in IT, science, and Research & Development (R&D).
Conclusion – Primavera P6 EPPM vs P6 PPM
Although there is not necessarily a correct or incorrect answer to which Primavera P6 application should be installed in an organization when considering between primavera p6 eppm vs p6 ppm, some of the factors discussed previously may be a determining factor of which software is implemented organization-wide.
Several other factors tend to incline to personal preference and user flexibility. Either way, both products are powerful project management tools. And both geared to help keep organizations on track and fully aware of their projects, while minimizing their costs.
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About the Author
Melanie Calverley is an experienced professional with several years of knowledge and practice in Project Management. She worked as a Program Cost and Schedule Control Analyst on multi-million/multi-billion-dollar projects. Her skills include Project Controls, Strategic Planning, Engineering Planning, Earned Value Management (EVM). She is also proficient in Earned Value Management System (EVMS) implementation, Configuration Management, and writing/editing. She commands full utilization of Primavera P6 software, MS Project, and MS Project Server. Her career background includes industry experience in oil and gas, energy, aerospace/defense, IT, litigation, and media.
Calverley has extensive experience in the planning and scheduling arena since 1999. She also has extensive experience in the aerospace and oil and gas industries combined. Calverley has worked for the large and high-visibility players in the aerospace industry – Boeing and Lockheed Martin, as well as the large companies in the O&G industry, such as Schlumberger, GE Energy, and Chevron. She supported NASA directly and a host of smaller sub-contractors over the years before exploring the O&G and IT industries. Calverley understands the strict, organized flow of the aerospace industry’s horizontal and vertical logic integration, the criticality of resource loading, and the reporting functions that support Earned Value Management (EVM). She has also participated in various audits such as DCMA audits, JSRs, ISRs, and CAM reviews. In 2013, Calverley was responsible for implementing a full EVMS in Primavera for Cameron International’s (now Schlumberger) Process Systems Division across the globe. The system was fully tested and successfully implemented and run in the United States, Brazil, the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Middle East.
Calverley owns her own business, Calverley Consulting, LLC, which has been operational since 2017. Calverley is also a solid writer, editor, and process flow documentation expert. She possesses a full command of the proper English language, and she is also a published book author. Calverley developed and championed multiple process flows and written documentation via policies and procedures for various well-known companies.