What the Solution Architect’s Roles and Responsibilities Are, and How to Know When You Need One

Karina Khatskevich

Karina Khatskevich

Content writer at Andersen

Architecture
Nov 8, 2022
6 minutes to read
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It’s never easy to make changes in your digital structure. Developing software and integrating it into existing systems requires in-depth knowledge of the technology and of the business goals and constraints. According to a survey by a Project Management Institute, of all projects, a mere 62% manage to hit their original targets, while only about half of them stay within budget and don’t exceed the required timelines. Therefore, organizations need experts who convey the product vision to the technical specialists. In this piece, Andersen explains when to engage an enterprise solution architect, what their place in an elaborate corporate structure is, what the roles and responsibilities of a solution architect are, and how particularly they can ensure the success of your digital initiatives.

Solution architect roles in brief

The solution architect role description includes organizing a series of actions for software creation and integration with other systems so that its technical implementation corresponds with the firm’s overall goals.

The above definition is linked with construction as the operations that an enterprise solution architect takes part in are rather complex and require a generalized view of the situation. This expert draws up diagrams and specifications, makes it clear how the device or program is arranged from the engineering point of view based on its requirements and limitations, selects a suitable technology stack, and performs other duties to direct the workflow so that stakeholders receive the very outcomes they are expecting. In summary, these savvy employees must have an equally good understanding of how an enterprise runs and how to address various issues by adroitly leveraging technologies.

Enterprise architect vs solution architect and how they are different from the technical architect

When companies hire an expert, the job title will vary depending on the scope of tasks:

An enterprise architect This specialist evaluates the technology ecosystem in its entirety and makes certain that the resulting program will seamlessly blend into the picture. This is done with consideration of the overall development line and priorities. An extensive part of the job is informing the executives about the importance of the tech advances made, as well as conveying the management’s long-range plans to the developers.

A solution architect This specialist thinks through the implementation of the selected solution or feasibility of a certain change in the tech ecosystem. At the same time, all the steps must support the executives’ objectives. Depending on the solution architect’s technical skills and area of expertise, there are several types of professionals, e.g. those who deal with networks, security, data, DevOps flows, or infrastructure.

A technical architect This specialist has nothing to do with the business side of the solution, e.g. calculating the project budget and participating in meetings with stakeholders. Their focus is on how to best implement a particular solution from the tech angle, i.e. arranging the optimal combination of programming languages, frameworks, APIs, and so on. These experts usually get to work after receiving guidance and instructions from a solution architect, and they closely consult with the engineers.

Solution architect role and responsibilities!

What is a solution architect’s role, and what tasks do they perform to streamline companies’ processes?

In short, this specialist comes into play after a business analyst finishes prioritizing features and eliciting limitations. Their core task is to create exhaustive documentation, e.g. well-elaborated specifications and thorough diagrams. This then forms the basis for the work of the developers. Solution architect’s role and their place in a team can be illustrated as follows.

The role of a solution architect

As a rule, the solution architect’s roles and responsibilities are as follows:

  • Examining and evaluating the interaction and interoperability of the company’s systems;
  • Planning for the integration of newly created solutions into the existing ecosystem;
  • Translating the suggestions of stakeholders and BAs into technical language by elaborating the vision of the project;
  • Determining the best-matching stack for a specific project based on its functionality and limiting factors, e.g. timeframes and resources;
  • Guiding the development team and consulting with them on how to best establish the processes to meet the organizational and product demands in the most efficient way;
  • Updating stakeholders on the product’s details and progress, etc.

The above solution architect’s responsibilities list can be supplemented with further duties depending on your objectives, team composition, and other factors.

Solution architect's skills

As we’ve listed a solution architect’s responsibilities, it would now be profitable to outline the essential skills required for a solution architect. This checklist will aid you in conducting interviews effectively.

As a rule, these top-level specialists have already achieved outstanding results in development, team leading, or project management. They must possess in-depth expertise and long-term experience on both the technology and non-technology side of projects.

A solution architect’s skills should include the following technical abilities:

  • Superior comprehension of the current tech stacks, the organization’s infrastructure, and business logic to resolve issues in an effectual and rewarding manner;
  • Proficiency in Unified Modeling Language and other visualization techniques to envision software work, module interactions, etc.;
  • Hands-on experience with industry-specific projects; this isn’t imperative, yet it might turn out to be extremely helpful in some cases;
  • Strong management abilities for resource and project milestone planning;
  • Insight into business analysis principles and documentation to translate BA concepts into engineering formats.

A solution architect’s key skills with regards to their personal traits are:

  • Solid command of negotiation tactics to convey intricate tech logic to stakeholders and work in conjunction with BAs, PMs, etc.;
  • Leader’s mindset to coordinate the production and take on responsibility;
  • Strong analytical qualities to break down the full picture into smaller parts;
  • Collaborative and constructive attitude when working with others.

Solution architect’s certification

The candidate’s in-depth mastery of cloud computing and solution architect’s certification requires special mention. The predominant providers grant experts the possibility to officially confirm their top-notch expertise, e.g. by obtaining AWS solution architect certification, Azure solution architect certification, etc. Such proficiency recognition necessitates a practical mastery of cloud engineering tools, principles, and systems. In addition, examinees must know how to plan, design, and manage the infrastructure and provide for its security and scalability. It’s worth mentioning that these official confirmations expire, and thus, the exams must be retaken every few years or so.

When does your company need this assistance?

Now, after having presented an exhaustive overview of the solution architect’s roles and competences, let’s consider the individual situations when an enterprise can’t manage without one:

  • You’re striving to seamlessly embed newly-bu