Why Are Solution Architects Needed
Creating software products is hard work. As technology advances, it becomes easier to implement these products. But the processes of correct organization and management of these products become more complicated. According to a survey by the Project Management Institute, just 62% of all projects reach their original goals, and about half are on a budget and within deadlines. A project’s failure is often due to a lack of proper management. So the role of the IT solution architecture is integral to making this all happen. Thus, the role of the solution architect was born. Who is this, and why is he needed in the team, let’s look at this article.
Solution Architect – who is he?
A solution architect is a person who organizes the activities of creating software and integrating it with other systems so that its technical implementation meets the overall goals of a company or project.
Operations involving an enterprise solution architect are complex and require a generalized view of the situation. This expert draws diagrams and specifications, explains how a device or program works from an engineering perspective based on its requirements and limitations, selects the appropriate technology stack, and performs other workflow responsibilities to ensure that stakeholders receive the information they need. Thus, these savvy employees need to understand how the business works as well as how to solve various problems with the dexterous use of technology.
What does a solution architect do in a company?
The task of a solution architect is to create a comprehensive software solution architecture and provide strategic direction throughout the development process. The specialist in this position must be sure that development decisions fit into the overall picture of the product from technical, business, user, and other points of view.
The solution architect communicates with all teams involved in the development process to fully understand the operation of each component of the product and service. An IT Solutions Architect needs all this knowledge to deliver a quality end product to end users successfully.
Role and responsibilities of a Solution Architect
It is quite possible to say that a solution architect is like an architect in a construction company. Both there and there, the full vision of the project is necessary. Understanding the master plan and in-depth knowledge of available technologies. After all, the product of the work of an IT solution architect is a set of technological solutions and a strategy for their implementation.
After developing a strategic technical vision for a product, the solution architect evaluates the budget and presents it to stakeholders. Once everything is agreed upon, they oversee the development process and keep stakeholders informed of the progress.
The responsibilities of a solution architect include the following:
- Process environment analysis
- Analysis of the specifics of the enterprise
- Analysis and documentation of requirements
- Set up collaboration scopes
- Create a solution prototype
- Participation in the choice of technology
- Solution development control
- Project management support
What do you need to know to become a Solution Architect?
The primary skills that a solution architect should have are mainly related to good analytical skills. Also, good to have:
To provide technical advice to management and engineering teams, a solution architect must have a technical background and at least eight years of experience in one or more areas of IT. It’s good if you have experience engineering and software architecture design business analysis and project management.
Good soft skills
A solution architect needs to have the ability to communicate well with team members. This role includes negotiating with stakeholders, understanding the needs of all parties, managing risk, and delivering the product; a lack of communication skills can become a bottleneck. Therefore, an experienced solution architect must be able to listen, advise, empathize and explain.
Great analytical skills
To provide a turnkey solution, you must understand how different business parts work together. The solution architect must have a good understanding of the overall business strategy and customize the search for solutions so that the company achieves its strategic goals. But the architect must also understand the technical specifics. As a result, solution architects are constantly engaged in analytical work and move between different business layers.
Project and resource management skills
Decision architects must be able to decide which solutions are beneficial and which are not helpful in a given situation. They must be results-oriented and understand how to achieve them by the given timeframes and resources.
In addition, solution architects must have a long-term perspective and the ability to scale and adapt to possible changes in the future. Thus, being the ones who know the end goal, they direct the development process accordingly.
How to become a Solution Architect?
To gain knowledge of a solution architect, you must pass the appropriate certification. Certificates are designed to test skills and experience. They evaluate their knowledge, abilities, and experience. Thus, the presence of one or more credentials proves the expert’s possession of specific skills.
Most certification platforms offer study courses, study materials, and practice tests in addition to the exam itself. Other resources may also be helpful for preparation and practice, such as Udemy or Coursera. However, the exam can be taken without prior preparation – all that is required is a deep knowledge of architectural concepts and principles and extensive practical experience in the industry.
When does a company need a Solution Architect?
Most often, small and medium-sized businesses do not consider the practice of solution architecture justified for themselves. Solving problems with the solution architecture is delegated and distributed among other roles in the development team. And it’s a viable option for small projects with predictable results. However, suppose you have a complex enterprise architecture that introduces multiple software products into a functioning ecosystem. In that case, you need to completely overhaul legacy software or make a set of strategic technology decisions; the relevance of a dedicated specialist is obvious.
It is often optional for processes to have a solution architect for each project. Technology consulting organizations can introduce the solution architecture into the corporate structure if integrating new software systems is not systematic. If you are implementing a single technical module that has proven to work in similar contexts, you don’t need a solution architect. As software development projects become more complex and involve more processes and risks, it is better to consider solution architecture consulting services.
The solution architect is responsible for creating and implementing IT system architectures that meet established business requirements. Their role starts with gathering requirements, understanding specifications, evaluating existing systems, and working closely with stakeholders to deliver the right solution.
In general, the role of a solution architect is to explain the business requirements to the development team and guide them into creating a product that can effectively solve real business problems. The position is very responsible and requires extensive IT skills and knowledge. As companies rely more and more on software and new technologies, the role of the solution architect will continue to gain momentum.