The Novitas – Enterprise Solutions Framework is a broad adaptation of the Microsoft Solutions Framework. The framework outlines the complete, 360-degree assessment of a client’s environment before attempting to offer a solution. The framework enables us to deliver solutions that fit perfectly into a client’s existing environment and meets expectations 100 percent. The Novitas ESF/model consists of 4 layers namely; Customer Core, Knowledge Layer, Services Layer & Process Layer. Each layer addresses a distinct perspective, and the outputs from each serve as inputs for assessments in the subsequent outer layers, leading to a specific problem definition and solution.
The customer is the most integral and core aspect of the solutions framework. The customer’s perception is central to a satisfactory delivery of a solution. At this level, our efforts are to assess the first definition of the problem space and elicit all inputs from the customer. Sometimes customer’s expectations are clearly outlined while at other times they expect us to consult them for a solution, given that they have an understanding of what they need to achieve and how they will measure success of the initiative.
Our understanding at this level allows to assess the technology background to draw out an enterprise solutions roadmap at a later stage – which may constitute a plan to implement many different solutions over a period of time, sensitive to budget allocations, time to market and other critical success factors. We understand that though we may be part of a one-time solution initiative, our solutions are just part of the IT landscape of the enterprise and there is always a continuum, evolving this landscape, to keep it relevant and meaningful to the business environment of the customer. The efforts involved at this level enable us to have a clear perspective on how our solution initiative will be assessed for success by our customers.
The Knowledge Layer is the application of the BAIT* Model for Enterprise Architecture that is part of the Microsoft Solutions Framework. The Knowledge Model is aimed at understanding the Enterprise Architecture, as it exists and using this understanding to evolve suitable solutions. MSF* considers four perspectives to enterprise architecture: business, application, information or data, and technology. There exists, however, only one architecture for the enterprise. The acronym BAIT* is an easy way to remember the four-in-one concept of enterprise architecture. Business is at the top because it drives the enterprise. Applications and Information are the means to achieve the business goals and objectives of the enterprise. Technology is the engine and platform that supports and instantiates the other perspectives into a solution. The figure below illustrates the relationships between the perspectives.
The Services Layer is where we put together the definition of the solution set for the client’s requirement based on our understanding and inputs received from the assessments. The client will be provided an appropriate solution from the range of offerings we have in our portfolio of Solution Services, Products and Consultancy Services.
The Process Layer describes the broad process of implementing the defined Solution Set. We follow the MSF* Process Framework to achieve this. The MSF* Process model for Application development highlights that, “every software development effort goes through a lifecycle, a process that includes all activities in the development cycle that take place up to initial release”. The main function of a lifecycle model is to establish the order in which a project specifies, implements, tests, and performs its activities. The lifecycle model will streamline your project and help ensure that each step moves you closer toward your goal.
The envisioning phase enables the team and the customer to create a high-level view of the project’s goals and constraints. The main deliverable during this phase is the vision/scope document, which contains an analysis of the business problem, a description of the goals for the product, an outline of the solution concept, profiles of the product’s users, and design goals. The scope of the project will also be determined. The envisioning phase culminates in the vision/scope-approved milestone.
During the planning phase, the team drafts a functional specification, a master project plan, and a master project schedule. The functional specification describes what will be built and includes content such as product design goals, requirements, features, and dependencies. The master project plan describes how the product will be built, and the master project schedule describes when and in what order it will be built. The planning phase culminates in the project plan approved milestone. This represents an approval to build the product.
During the developing phase, the team focuses on building and testing the product. This phase involves a series of internal releases of the product, developed in parallel and in segments, to measure the progress of the product and to ensure the pieces of the product are synchronized. The testing process is not limited to the stabilizing phase, but is an integral part of the developing phase. The quality team will perform coverage testing, which is aimed at testing the features and code of the product, and usage testing, which is aimed at testing the product in its expected user environment. The developing phase culminates in the scope complete milestone, at which point all features of the product will be in place, the product is ready for formal stabilization, the team members and key stakeholders have agreed on what features to include, and materials to support user performance are provided.
The stabilizing phase begins with beta tests of the product and ends when the customer accepts the product as complete. Testing during this phase emphasizes usage and real-world testing. The team focuses on resolving and triaging bugs and getting the product to the point where it is ready to ship. The stabilizing phase culminates in the release milestone. When the team reaches the release milestone, the product is transferred to operations management and support (or in the case of products, to the distribution channel), and the team focuses on the process again, preparing for the next release.
For a more comprehensive understanding of the Microsoft Solutions Framework and associated Models, you can download the Microsoft Whitepaper here: Download (MS Doc – 2.1 MB)