A Solutions Architect gathers information on a business need to identify a solution, or solutions, which may involve process or IT architecture changes. The Architect will develop a business case if required, and gain approval to move ahead. After clarifying and prioritizing the requirements, he or she will document the detailed design to be used by the development team. This design will include the recommended technologies to be used – hardware, software, communications or business models. An understanding of the subject company is essential.
Solutions Architect is a senior position, but those succeeding in this job frequently advance to more executive positions such as IT Architect, Enterprise Architect, Director of Information Systems, Chief Information Officer (CIO) or VP of Technology.
Job Description: What Does a Solutions Architect Do?
First, a Solutions Architect must clearly define the business issues to be addressed and the objectives of the requested solution. This information guides them in gathering requirements and drafting the initial solution. The resulting proposal must then be fleshed out with specific hardware, software and business process changes, which are compatible with existing infrastructure and business operations. This level of design will provide an initial cost estimate and timeline as well as an impact statement. At this point, they must then validate interoperability, security and scalability of the system architecture.
They will then ‘shop’ this solution to the different stakeholders – management, the end users and the operational personnel to refine the details and gain buy-in. As the solution moves forward, they will continue to be available to manage any requested changes or issues in its deployment.
A Solutions Architect may lead the enterprise development team, may work independently within the company or as a consultant. Continuous learning is required to keep skills fresh for the constant advances in the technology.
Solutions Architect Job Responsibilities and Duties
A Solutions Architect converts business requirements into a detailed blueprint for the desired solution, which can be used to deploy. They are required to:
- Understand business operations, infrastructure, software, processes and strategy.
- Identify potential corrective actions and improvements to current operations.
- Identify technology trends and their application and benefit to the business.
- Assist in developing business cases and ROI to prioritize initiatives.
- Design and document selected technical solutions including technologies and specifications.
- Confirm compatibility and manage impact to business of all new equipment and changes.
- Champion prioritized solutions and changes.
- Include Quality Assurance and Testing requirements in the design.
- Develop tentative budget and high level timeline.
- Provide advice on any design changes.
- Collaborate with other personnel, IT staff and departments who will be involved with the deployment or operations of the end solution.