Converting from Access Microsoft Project Server

I have an Access 2007 database which imports Microsoft Project data via an Excel spreadsheet. There is now a push to use Microsoft Project Server to manage the data and to create reports. Not having any experience with Microsoft Project Server, I have a few questions:
1) Is there the flexibility to create custom reports, as is the case with Access? If so, are they created using Microsoft Project itself or are there other tools within Project Server that are used to customize reports?
2) I have heard that SQL server has some type of connection with Project Server. Is the data in Project Server stored within SQL?
3) What is the best way to get up to speed with Project Server?

thanks.
newbie46Asked:
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dbase118Commented:
newbie,

1.) Project Server does have the capability to produce reports and to some extent customize them but it is not fully customizable in the way that a database application like Access has a full-blown report builder. The Project Server Report Pack does contain many useful reports but if you anticipate doing a lot of work with custom fields you might be limited by the reporting features out of the box.

2.) Yes the Project data can be stored in SQL when you use Project Server. This would allow you to write your own SQL queries and do reporting in a third party application if you needed more customizable ability.

3.) As far as getting up to speed on Project Server, I always preferred a hands on training session to learn something new because you get to see and touch it vice just reading about it in a book. THere are others that can get a reference book and just go to town. I guess it partly depends on your background and how much exposure you have had to it in the past.

If you are looking for a reference book recommendation. I think the following book on Amazon is a good entry level reference.
Microsoft® Office Project Server 2007: The Complete Reference

Hope this helps
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newbie46Author Commented:
dbase 118,
Thanks for the information.
So, you are saying that custom fields can be created in Project Server?
If I store the Project data in SQL, can I use Access to create the reports?
I also learn best with hands-on training. What do you recommend to be able to 'see and touch it'?
Is it just a matter of learning Microsoft Project? Where does the custom field formatting and reporting capabilities lie, within Microsoft Project itself  or within Project Server?

thanks.
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dbase118Commented:

Both local and enterprise custom fields can be created in Project Server. The built in reporting, however uses only Standard fields.

I haven't done it myself but I don't see any reason why you couldn't use Access to pull the SQL data. If you are writing SQL to pull data anyway you might be able to get the reports you need without exporting though. Hopefully someone else can chime in with real-life experience on interfacing Project to Access.

As far as training there are probablly hundreds of options. Just do a web search for Project Server 2007 training and you will get a listing of seminars, training centers, web based instruction or even CBT options. Cost can range from couple hundred dollars for a CBT to a couple thousand for a week long boot camp. Again I think it depends on what your current level of comfort is and what roles you need to learn. If you are going to administer as well as use them more training is probablly required.
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newbie46Author Commented:
dbase118,
This information is very helpful. One last question from above:
Is it just a matter of learning Microsoft Project? Where does the custom field formatting and reporting capabilities lie, within Microsoft Project itself  or within Project Server?

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dbase118Commented:

Certainly knowing MS Project first would be helpful, but there will be additional  learning involved with the Project Server. Custom field formatting and reporting is a part of both pieces. If you are going to use the SQL reporting services and Project Server report pack though you will want to be comfotable with setting up custom fields in Project Server. Particularly if you anticipate using Enterprise custom fields which would be available in all Projects set up on the server.

If you anticipate managing multiple projects with similar fields then establishing your custom fields on the server would prevent you from duplicating effort and recreating them which you would end up doing in the front end application.

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newbie46Author Commented:
Thank you.
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dbase118Commented:
Glad to help. Good luck with it!
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