Proof that the Macaw Solutions Factory is the best solution available

The Factory is not a product developed by one type of company for use by other types of companies. In fact, Macaw’s consultants are eating our own dog food, all the time. Macaw itself is the primary customer of the Factory, which ensures that we constantly build the Factory features that are actually needed right now, and that we implement those features in a way that delivers maximum value, without frills.

Our Factory Improvement forum and the team of Factory Champions with members from all solution centers ensure we ‘get it right’ real fast. By making Factory usage a free choice for Macaw employees on each project, we ensure that it will only be used in the real world when they think it is the best solution. Th fact that the Macaw Solutions Factory has been used extensively for several years now, in all of Macaw’s solution centers and for almost all of Macaw’s projects speaks for itself.

The types of solutions built with the Factory range from small one or two-person projects such as a simple presence web site or BI solution, to large, long-running programs built by multiple teams, such as a SOA.

The Factory features that proved to be the most valuable across all types of IT solutions are:

  • The standardized logical and implementation structure provided by the MAST architecture standard
  • The fully automated deployment across DTAP environments
  • The fully automated installation of virtual development machines

SOA, Enterprise Application and Integration Solutions

The Macaw Enterprise Application and Integration Solutions center uses the Factory to realize some of the largest and most complex solutions that Macaw has delivered yet.

Some of the customers where EAIS realized solutions with the Factory are de Goudse and VVAA.

When building SOA solutions, additional Factory features that proved to be the most valuable are:

  • Scalability to large projects and teams; the MAST architecture standard provides excellent support for efficient partitioning and integration of work across and within large teams.
  • Support for BizTalk Server
  • Support for the latest powerful tools and frameworks such as TFS 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5
  • Environment-specific configuration that integrates with fully automated deployment across DTAP environments.

EAIS developed the Object to Object Entity Mapper tool, which provides increased productivity when building web services through code generation.

Portal and Intranet Solutions

The Macaw Information Worker Solutions center uses the Factory to realize collaboration solutions based on SharePoint. The Factory proved to be very effective both in small projects such as basic intranet portals as well as large, complex portals with heavy custom application integration and a very large number of users.

Some of the customers where IWS realized solutions with the Factory are Endemol, Havenbedrijf Rotterdam and Bouwend Nederland.

Additional Factory features that proved to be valuable for these types of solutions are:

  • The excellent scalability to ‘light’ teams and projects provided by the MAST architecture standard and the Factory IDE
  • Powerful SharePoint templates that demonstrate how to realize the potential of SharePoint features
  • The PowerShell based templating engine
  • The automation of SharePoint-specific development tasks through the Factory Guide

IWS developed the SharePoint Site Management Tool, which enhances SharePoint release management by enabling deploying changes to existing sites in a production environment.

Business Intelligence Solutions

The Macaw Business Solutions center uses the Factory to realize BI solutions based on SQL Server Analysis Services, Integration Services and Reporting Services.

Some of the customers where MBS realized solutions with the Factory are Innovam, Koning Willem I College and CRH.

MBS leveraged the potential for reuse and productizing of solutions that the Factory offers to create the Management Information Portal product. The MIP product has been implemented successfully at several customers in the education market segment.

Rich Internet Solutions

The Macaw Rich Internet Solutions center uses the Factory to realize presence and commerce web sites based on SharePoint Web Content Management.

Some of the customers where RIS realized solutions with the Factory are FGH Bank, Friesland College, Vidomes and Evides.

Additional Factory features that proved to be most valuable for these solution types are:

  • Factory support for developing SharePoint WCM Solutions
  • The guidance in the WCM Reference Implementation
  • The Macaw SharePoint Publishing Template Exporter for exporting sites to templates after designing the site in SharePoint itself

RIS developed the SharePoint Publishing Template Exporter and additional Factory tooling to realize a comprehensive, end-to-end vision on developing and maintaining rich web sites with a compelling visual design, based on SharePoint.

Maintaining Solutions

The Macaw Application Services solution center uses the Factory to maintain the great variety of solutions that were built by all the other solutions centers. Here in particular the value of implementation consistency across all these different solutions through the MAST standard and the automation provided by the Factory proved to be of great value.

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Some of the customers where MAS maintains solutions with the Factory are KPMG and Hogeschool Utrecht.

The cost of maintaining solutions built with the Factory proved to be much lower than for solutions with nonstandard, arbitrary varying implementation structures. MAS even found it is profitable to refactor existing solutions that were not built using the Factory into Factory solutions.

MAS also provides process engineers and Factory Champion services to customers who license the Factory for use by non-Macaw personnel.

Non-Macaw developers using the Factory

Factory usage comes for free with Macaw consultants when you hire them to realize an IT solution. However, the Factory has also been sold under license to customers who want to improve efficiency and quality of their internal development. In-house or 3rd party developers are boosted significantly by the packaged, automated knowledge and best practices of Macaw’s top IT talents.

Factory training, support, development and customization

The KD department is at the heart of Factory development. In cooperation with field experts from all solution centers the core Factory team realizes and guides development of new Factory features.

In addition to this, KD provides training for Factory users and Factory Champions. KD also provides second-line support on Factory maintenance and Factory customizations.