Oracle is doing their round of webinars after the latest release of Primavera P6, version 16.2. I logged in to get the skinny on what we can expect in terms of new features and functions in Primavera P6 16.2.
Starting from release 15 of Primavera P6, the Oracle Primavera business unit has committed to 2 releases every year. A new major version is released in the spring (xx.1) with the major versions matching the year. A minor release (xx.2) is expected each fall.
As always, when there’s a release to Primavera P6, we can expect updates to both Primavera P6 EPPM and Primavera P6 Professional. In addition, we can expect updates to the other Primavera P6 components like Primavera Gateway, Primavera Analytics, Primavera Unifier and Primavera Prime. I don’t usually cover these other products because there never seemed like much demand, but if you want me to cover these in the future, drop me a comment below. If there’s demand, I’ll cover these. Let’s get back to talking about P6.
What’s new in Primavera P6 16.2
Well, since Primavera P6 16.2 is a minor release, don’t get your hopes up too much. It’s a pretty lean update on new features. I’ll start with Primavera P6 Professional.
New in Primavera P6 16.2 Professional
Did I mention this is a lean release? For this release, I get the sense that there’s a lot of focus from Oracle on performance. Now Primavera P6 Professional performs pretty fine since it was ported to 64-bit. But the focus here was on Primavera P6 Cloud Connect, the connector that allows a Primavera P6 client to connect to a database in the cloud.
Improvements to Primavera P6 Cloud Connect
Here’s a list of the performance improvements to Primavera P6 Cloud Connect:
- Faster Undo
- Improved response time creating Activities and Resource Assignments
- Improvements to Scrolling (this seems important – there’s nothing more frustrating than a slow app)
- Faster response times Opening Global & Project Data – those enterprise elements
- Faster Deletion of Activities
Visualizer Performance Improvements
Oracle has made improvements to P6 Visualizer as well – the bundled add-on that can help display and print P6 graphical data like Gantt Charts & Time-Scaled Logic Diagrams.
Recently Oracle did away with Claim Digger, the built-in schedule comparison tool, and ported that functionality inside Visualizer under the heading “Schedule Comparison”.
In Primavera P6 16.2, you can expect some performance improvements when comparing schedules through Visualizer. While comparing small projects always performed well, larger projects could take some time to get output on-screen. But in 16.2, you expect that to move faster.
On top of that, Oracle claims that Visualizer will load faster as well, the first time you launch it.
Excel Import / Export – Microsoft Drivers No Longer Required
One more seemingly small, but important improvement is that Primavera P6 16.2 no longer requires you to have the Microsoft ACE Drivers installed to perform Excel imports and exports.
A bit of background on this one. If you have Microsoft Office installed, included was something called the Microsoft ACE drive (ACE standing for Access Database Engine). These drivers were introduced in 2007 to help applications move data to and from Excel.
However, there are 2 versions of the ACE drivers – 32-bit and 64-bit, depending on which version of Office you had installed.
If you had a mismatch in the versions of Primavera P6 and Microsoft Office (eg: 64-bit P6 and 32-bit Office), then you couldn’t export data from P6 to Excel. You would have had to install the 64-bit ACE drivers to get the export/import working, and even then there were issues.
I wrote this article a while back, advocating to install only 32-bit Primavera P6 until this confusing issue was fixed.
It looks like it is now fixed. The ACE drivers are no longer required so Excel import/export should work with whatever version of Office you have. *Let me test this first.*
Users can hopefully now install 64-bit Primavera P6 Professional 16.2 without having to worry about problems with importing / exporting to Excel.
Is Java Still Required in Primavera P6 16.2 PPM?
Yes, Java is still required and bundled with the install.
Clarification. The Primavera P6 client that is part of an EPPM installation (used to be called the “Optional” client) is apparently Java free. However, Primavera P6 Professional (or PPM) is still NOT Java free.
Oracle is still making strides to remove Java completely and hopefully will have that done in 2017. Java is holding them back significantly so expect this to happen sometime next year.
What’s New in Primavera P6 16.2 EPPM
There’s significantly more updates to Primavera P6 EPPM 16.2 than we see for P6 PPM (Professional). If you’re using Primavera P6 EPPM, any upgrade is usually a major effort. But if you’re just starting to consider adopting Oracle’s web-based P6 tool, then there are improvements that you will benefit from.
HTML5 Replacing Java – More Progress
Java has become a major headache for Primavera P6 EPPM. It’s holding Oracle back from moving to mobile in a major way. Java is not supported by most mobile devices, which is the major reasons you can’t login to P6 EPPM from your iPad. So Primavera is moving as quick as they can to replace Java applets in Primavera P6 EPPM with HTML5 versions. HTML5 is supported on all devices. We saw some progress here in version 16.1 but it’s slow going.
Here’s what to expect in 16.2.
New HTML 5 Views in 16.2:
- Activity View, EPS View & Assignment View – more enhancements
- Resource Administration View – HTML5 now
- User Administration – HTML5 now
- Enterprise Data view – HTML5 now
- Time Approval view – HTML5 now
- Resource Analysis / Team Usage graphs – HTML5 now
- Issues log view – HTML5 now
- Reports – HTML5 now
As you can see there’s much progress here which is nice to see.
Daily Timescales are Here
Primavera P6 16.2 now has a daily time-scale in ALL Resource Analysis Views. Many users have found it frustrating that EPPM doesn’t have all of the same functionality that Primavera P6 PPM does and daily timescales was one of those important items. It’s here now.
It’s important to note that daily data relies on “Publication Services”, a background service that compiles the data and makes it available for viewing. The downside (I think) here is that Publication Services can be set to run every hour at most. So if you’re making changes and want to see them reflected in the Resource Analysis Views, you may have to force the job to run or wait until it runs.
New EPPM Activity View Features
Here’s a list of new enhancements to the Activity View.
- Additional WBS and Activity detail Panes
- Update Baseline now available
- Import / Export to Excel enhanced
- Link / Dissolve Activities
- Filtering looks more like PPM – rolling dates and nesting
- Ability to Hide Empty Bands – like in PPM
New EPS View Features
Here’s a list of enhancements to the EPS View in Primavera P6 16.2 EPPM:
- Additional EPS & Project detail panes
- Import / Export XML now available
- Copy / Paste Project & EPS – new feature
- PPM-like Filters – rolling dates & nesting
- Hide empty bands
Team Member Filters are better
Now in P6 Team Member, you can:
- Filter on Project ID, Project Name, Resource ID, Resource Name
- Use “contains” and “equals” criteria
- Define up to 100 rows of filter criteria
- Support for Any/All (AND/OR) statements
A few tweaks here as well.
- Support for IOS 10
- Android app – now has a demo mode
- Android app – location mapping capabilities now functional
Oracle continues to make improvements to the Primavera P6 platform of applications. This release, Primavera P6 16.2 shows a focus on performance for PPM Cloud and a continued push for HTML5 for EPPM. It’s not a very sexy update to be honest, but sometimes the work that’s done underneath the hood will lead to significant improvements later on.
I personally, continue to pine for more fixes and updates to Primavera P6 Professional with its large user base. But maybe Oracle will set me right in the future.
BTW, check out Oracle’s webcast slides for release 16.2 here.
What do you think of what’s been fixed in release 16.2?