Oracle Primavera P6 R17 has been released!
On July 14th, the newest version of Oracle Primavera P6 has been released. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the new features within this release and what these features might mean for our clients. We will also share our initial opinion on this new release.
Primavera version numbers
Before we start, I will explain Oracle’s changed policy for new releases. Starting from 2015 until 2016, Oracle had the ‘tradition’ of releasing two versions a year of Primavera software, one in March and one in October. But every tradition needs to stop at a certain point, doesn’t it?
From 2017 onward, this is what will happen:
- For cloud deployments, there is a monthly release for both P6 EPPM and P6 Professional. The current version is thus referred to as Primavera P6 EPPM 17.7 (because July is the 7th month).
- For on-premises deployments (still 95% of our clients), software is released in July. Monthly the patches will be available. So, for on-premise the version is basically equals the 17.7 P6 cloud version.
In fact, the positive consequence of this policy for on-premises clients might be that cloud clients have already tested most of the new functionality ahead of the July release.
What are the enhancements?
Let us start with the bad news. If we look at P6 Professional (I know, that is the one you are all using), the enhancements are limited. This should of course not come as a big surprise as P6 Professional is regarded as a mature product. However, there is one that many clients have been asking for for a long time.
On the bright side, when you are working on a P6 EPPM database on your company server, there is very useful functionality to check out your project from the company database and continue working offline in a local SQLite database. This local database does not need to be installed upfront, but is installed on-the-fly at check-out. This way users can continue working on site without good internet access and then check back in when they are back in the office. You can see how this work in this video.
For P6 EPPM, there are more enhancements. Before you will judge that these improvements are also minor, I would like to recall what was wrong with Primavera P6 EPPM in the past. First, it was a constant struggle to have the tool working properly because of misaligned Java versions. Second, performance was not so good compared to our familiar client version.
These two points is what Oracle has been addressing over the last couple of years. Here is an overview of the recent improvements that we think matter to our client base:
- Much less Java - Many pages have been converted to HTML5 in recent releases of P6. These pages are now referred to as standard views. The original Java-based pages are still accessible and are referred to as classic view. We are currently in a position that the P6 administrator can opt to disable Java applets for all users. I guess many long-time P6 administrators will be very eager to click that check box.
- Import layouts - To make the transition smooth from classic views to standard views, existing classic (or standard) views can be exported as file and imported back into P6 as a standard view.
- Resource assignment view - P6 EPPM now also includes a resource assignment view on project level (i.e. under the Projects Tab). This page includes the possibility to Check Resource Overallocations easily. Previously this functionality was only available in the Resource module.
- Printing layouts - Print and Print Preview are now also available for standard view layouts. The functionality is called Save to PDF.
- Easier administration - The (somewhat hidden) Administration menu has been redesigned into the Administration Tab and now looks like a full module next to Resources, Projects, etc.
This post is based on our initial testing of Primavera P6 EPPM R17. We are not going to pretend that the discussed improvements are huge. On the bright side, we believe that P6 EPPM has been dealing with its most critical shortcomings such as performance. We don’t expect you all to stop using the Professional Client and go the Web Client, but the tipping point might be less far ahead of us than you would expect.