Solution Architect role definitions

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Other papers discuss the SA role as described in architecture frameworks.

This paper presents SA role definitions drawn from job adverts – top and tailed with generalisations.

Preface: How does Solution Architecture relate to EA?

The table below represents reasonable consensus.


Enterprise Architect

Solution Architect

·         title often used by enterprises for the manager or member of a central EA function.

·         is strategic: addresses cross-organisational concerns and goals

·         treats a whole enterprise as a system, the highest, widest, longest term kind of architecture

·         responsible for optimisation (often by integration or standardisation) of the enterprise system estate

·         responsible for the quality and completeness of strategic road maps

·         maintains enterprise architecture collateral in enough detail to enable impact analysis

·         must understand the enterprise system estate

·         must engage with senior executives and their strategies.

·         is responsible for enterprise integrity and quality

·         guides solution architects on cross-organisational standardisation and integration opportunities.

·         may commission and govern solution architects working on discrete system developments.

·         acts as a governor to ensure solution architects comply with any relevant overarching EA.

·         title often used by systems integrators in the bid phase, and sometimes the delivery phase.

·         relatively tactical: addresses specific problems and requirements

·         focuses on selected business processes and applications.

·         shapes and describes a solution, usually at a project level

·         responsible for the quality and completeness of a solution outline or high-level design.

·         describes architecture at a level sufficient for detailed design and building to proceed

·         must understand all facets of design well enough to form a coherent solution architecture

·         must partnership with and coordinate lead business analysts, software architects and others

·         is responsible for delivery quality: focuses on critical success factors, especially non-functional qualities.

·         must identify and mitigate all manner of technical risks, with delivery time and cost in mind.

·         governs solution delivery at a project level

·         may or may not be asked to be heedful of any relevant overarching EA.

Solution Architect 1 – job advert

A Solution Architect ideally with some Financial Services experience is needed for [a] leading Enterprise and IT Architecture consultancy.

As the Solution Architect you will work with client Architects and business teams to ensure that solutions are effective and deliver against their clients overall business strategy.

Typical projects will range from 6- 12 months and the willingness to travel as part of the role is essential


In your current and previous roles as a Solution Architect you will have proven experience in fulfilling a wide range of solution level architecture activities across a variety of industries.

Ideally you will also have experience of broader retail technologies; eCommerce, Store Systems and Merchandising.

A strong commercial and business focus is also essential for this role.


Key Skills / Experience

·         5 years + experience as a Solution Architect

·         TOGAF/Zachman/MODAF/IAF or similar frameworks

·         Full ownership and creation of Solution Architectures on large scale projects

·         Supplier/Stakeholder Management

·         Consultancy experience (preferable)

·         Excellent interpersonal skills

·         Ability to deal with high pressure situations

·         Innovative / Problem solving skills.

Solution Architect 2 – job advert

Our University has around 20,000 students and 5,000 staff based across 14 sites.
The University is currently going through a period of ambitious change and redevelopment, in line with the 2015-2022 strategy.

IT Services is growing to meet the ambitions of the University.

As a result, this is an exciting time to join an expanding team that is tasked with delivering a wide range of high-profile strategic projects.

The role
As an ambitious and talented Solution Architect you will validate and produce a variety of end-to-end Solutions that align and integrate with the Universities technical landscape and IT strategy to add value to this transforming organisation.

You will work closely with the Head of Architecture to help mature and develop the architecture practice including implementing best practice, standards, documentation and relevant frameworks.
You will assist project managers and business analysts in the design and planning of projects providing expert advice to help identify the most appropriate solutions available.

As an enthusiastic problem solver with a passion for technology you will be a key influencer on the technology chosen to be implemented into the University in the future.

Your profile

Proven experience of providing solution architecture, across multiple platforms within an enterprise technical environment is essential

Experience of building architecture strategy and best practise is highly desirable

A knowledge and appreciation of architecture standards such as TOGAF would be advantageous

Demonstrable experience of understanding and interpreting business processes with the ability to create ‘fit for purpose’ technology solutions

A broad knowledge of technology is required ideally with experience of virtualised environments

A demonstrable track record of influencing and negotiating with key stakeholders at various levels across organisational boundaries

Ability to problem solve and have a keen interest in emerging technology and trends



It is essential that you are able to communicate ideas clearly and persuasively, and can present compelling arguments both written and oral

You will have experience in building good relationships at all levels across stakeholder groups and partner organisations

You will be able to work effectively in cross-functional teams with both business and technical stakeholders

Solution Architect 3 – a report from the field

“I'm currently working as a Solution Architect on a large project that has

·         an Enterprise Architecture roadmap - within

·         the framework of a Design Authority.

My experience over the last year suggests that Solution Architects do need to engage with the Data and Application domains; not [in] detail, but at an appropriate level...

I am currently working in the Business Architecture domain [so] need to understand how

·         business processes and business services influence

·         the Logical Data Model and the Process/Data Usage of that model.

To a lesser extent, I also need to understand

·         how the same business processes and business services map to

·         the coarse grained software services defined in the Application Model.

Feedback between Architects charged with defining Business, Data, and Application architecture is essential.. at the coarse-grained level.”

Solution Architect 4 – job advert  (seems over ambitious to me)

CLIENT has a number of opportunities for senior creative problem-solvers, to play a decisive role in a wide variety of exciting projects.

As a Solution Architect you will take ownership for the solution elements of major opportunities and delivery programmes and manage the solution design process for initial concepts through to end of life.

Key Responsibilities

·         Shaping and driving solution thinking for complex bids and delivery engagements

·         Shaping solution blueprints and/or designs – for example through the tailored application of architecture frameworks (eg Zachmann, TOGAF, MODAF) and other design articulations (including the UML).

·         Overseeing the implementation of the design in collaboration with other design team members such as Technical Architects, System and Software Designers, Data Architects, Security Architects, Functional and Information Architects

·         Ensuring the design meets key functional and non-functional requirements and allows for operational and through life scenarios required for the solution to be satisfied

·         Working with client technical authorities or architecture functions to ensure that they have a clear understanding of architecture and design proposals at an appropriate level, and that environmental and other standards/constraints within the client domain have been dealt with appropriately

·         Working with quality and test management functions to ensure that the approaches and test strategies followed are appropriate for the solution

·         Working with Delivery Assurance functions to agree how the quality and progress of a given solution delivery should be tracked, and become an expert resource to support interventions on projects where solution quality or progress has become an issue

·         Retaining overall ownership of solution through delivery and transition into operation and/or subsequent refinement, or modification

·         Leading estimation efforts to develop an understanding of potential solution costs and delivery timescales including appropriate Service regimes for solutions in production operation

·         Establishing policy and strategy for the selection of systems architecture components, and co-ordinates design activities, promoting the discipline to ensure consistency.



·         Support Sales with client opportunities by validating solutions

·         Lead consultative engagements including workshops with clients on technical and business goals and challenges

·         Use your business analyst skills to document comprehensive client user stories, requirements and technical overviews of solutions

·         Define a detailed solution based on client's business needs and current environment including its limitations

·         Great presentations skills to client stakeholders from both technical and business backgrounds

·         Ability to keep a balance between scaled solutions without over engineering

·         Understanding of the technical abilities and constraints of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform

·         Develop proofs-of-concept to validate solution feasibility which would require some hands on activity.

·         Understand enterprise database design and create ERD diagrams that complement the data schema's required by the proposed solution.


Other Requirements

·         Team player, collaborative, eager to learn and mentor

·         Work effectively across multiple concurrent client engagements

·         Identify project issues / risks and present alternatives to alleviate or resolve

·         Support Sales and pre-sales teams in opportunities by validating solutions and estimates

·         Estimate the effort required to implement the proposed solution

·         Create detailed handover documents for the technology architects and specialists (both onshore and offshore) to complete the implementation of the solution

·         Travel to partner & client locations for onsite discovery and solutions presentations.

·         As the primary technical resource during the implementation phases, you will be responsible for actively driving and managing the technology evaluation and implementation stages once a sale is complete, working as the key technical advisor and product advocate for our products. You must be able to articulate technology and product positioning to both business and technical users.

·         The role encompasses a post-sales product and user on-boarding element and may involve some pre-sales engagement with the Sales Engineering team.

·         The Solutions Architect will be responsible for implementing our services and acting as a consultant during the integration process.

·         In addition, the solutions architect must be able to identify any technical issues of assigned accounts to ensure complete customer satisfaction through all stages of the on-boarding processes.

·         The successful candidate must be able to establish and maintain strong relationships throughout the post-sales cycle and will work closely with the Sales Engineering Team as well as the Technical Support Teams and Helpdesks.



·         Responsible for development and delivery of technical presentations to customers and internal associates.

·         May be required to respond to functional and technical elements of RFIs/RFPs.

·         Gather customer requirements for Product Management and Support teams

·         Consult with customer technical teams to gather technical requirements during implementation and integration phases.

·         Project manage the Services implementations from initial on-boarding to hand over to Community Specialist and Support Teams – this includes hand on support of client technical teams during on-premise installations.

·         Assist in product testing and research.

·         Provide reporting on implementation activities, customer initiatives, and product requirements.

·         Contribute technical documentation and content as needed for services and products.


Desired Skills and Experience

We are looking for a Solution Architect to:

·         Take ownership of the technical sections of sales proposals, create innovative solutions within budgetary constraints and work with our Technology Partners, Technical Directors and Client Services teams to sell the technical vision

·         Be the technical design authority on client engagements, demonstrating a deep understanding of the client’s own platforms in addition to those we design.

·         Define technology roadmaps that deliver on our clients’ requirements

·         Develop achievable technical project plans, working with appropriate members of the development and testing functions

·         Complete accurate and thorough high-level technical designs and facilitate effective handover to the development team prior to the implementation phase of a project

·         Ensure quality assurance concerns are actively managed throughout the project lifecycle

·         Work through complicated challenges with development teams, collaborating to find a solution to the problem

·         Demonstrate strong presentation and written communication skills, with the ability to communicate technical concepts to non-technical colleagues and clients

·         Contribute to our cross-agency Technical Architecture and technology community with thought leadership.


We are looking for a Solution Architect with:

·         A thorough, analytical technical approach from project inception to delivery

·         Client-facing consultancy skills

·         Current knowledge of web technologies, and modern enterprise architectures, preferably with a strong Java bias

·         An innovative approach to technical design, inspired by and constantly updated by the best work out there

·         Current knowledge of enterprise-level products in the content management, e-commerce, search, campaign management and data/personalisation spaces Knowledge of a vendor ecosystem (e.g. Adobe, Oracle, SDL) is particularly useful in this regard

·         A solid understanding and experience of the vendor recommendation/selection process

·         A strong grasp of technical delivery processes, the SDLC and a pragmatic approach to Agile

·         Experience of delivering platforms to a range of infrastructures, including cloud

·         Experience of integrating operational systems (including legacy systems) into web tier platforms

·         Strong knowledge of security and performance concerns

·         A passion for the tools and processes used to deliver quality

·         Technical leadership skills, including the ability to address delivery issues and manage performance issues

·         An enthusiastic, solution-oriented approach, and the ability and desire to inspire others

·         Mentoring skills to develop other team members.

(IT) Solution Architect 5 – job advert

IT Solution Architect Operating as part of the Europe Solution Architecture team.

The position will work with IT application development teams as well as enterprise architects and IT strategy teams to assure the delivery of IT applications that meet customer needs and compliance within architecture standards.

The position will support a number of portfolios with a specific focus on Vehicle Order Processing as well as advanced Vehicle Sales Data Warehousing and Reporting solutions.


Responsibilities will include:

·         Develop architecture proposals for current solutions

·         Analyse, review and recommend technical designs to provide comprehensive capabilities in a global multi-vendor environment and assist in the preparation of Technical Solution Architecture documents.

·         Understand and apply knowledge of Technical Standards and Technology Management Process including Open Source Software process.

·         Participate in Enterprise Architecture Assurance reviews including both preparing and presenting the reviews and on other occasions acting as an independent reviewer.

·         Assist identification of Service Orientated opportunities,

·         Assist with identification and trouble-shooting of architectural issues with applications.


Desired Skills and Experience

·         Extensive commercial IT development experience across the full life-cycle, especially in design and development phases, and with experience of analysis and support

·         In-depth experience of integration of components to deliver Order Processing, Order to Delivery and Sales Reporting solutions, including enterprise data warehouses in a globally distributed team environment utilizing operational data-marts (Sales), in-memory columnar analytics for real-time operational needs and predictive analytics for medium and long term strategic sales decisions.

·         Strong Solution Architecture experience including development of technical architecture documents

·         Working knowledge of J2EE development including use of associated tooling e.g. Rational

·         Strong written and verbal communication skills plus virtual collaboration skills for working within a global virtual team

·         Experience in writing technical specifications for external partners (e.g. ISVs)

·         Understanding of Object-Oriented software concepts

·         Understanding of Service-Oriented software concepts

·         Understanding Enterprise Architecture concepts (e.g. TOGAF and Zachman)

·         Knowledge of non-Java object-oriented development platforms e.g. .Net Awareness of `Agileż development methods

·         Extensive commercial IT development experience across the full life-cycle, especially in design and development phases, and with experience of analysis and support

·         In-depth experience of integration of components to deliver Order Processing, Order to Delivery and Sales Reporting solutions, including enterprise data warehouses in a globally distributed team environment utilizing operational data-marts (Sales), in-memory columnar analytics for real-time operational needs and predictive analytics for medium and long term strategic sales decisions.

·         Strong Solution Architecture experience including development of technical architecture documents

·         Working knowledge of J2EE development including use of associated tooling e.g. Rational

·         Strong written and verbal communication skills plus virtual collaboration skills for working within a global virtual team

·         Experience in writing technical specifications for external partners (e.g. ISVs)

Solution Architect – a generalised job advert

Focusing on the general qualities and skimming over any specific technology requirements.


Ensure a programme/project meets business/IT aims and supports business functions.

Identify and reduce technical risks and complexity in a programme/project.

Ensure a system meets its NFRs, is performant, scalable, secure, flexible, etc.

Support project managers with scoping, estimation, resourcing and integration.

Support Enterprise Architects and help to realise EA road maps.

Ensure the initial phase of any software development project is completed properly.


Initiation: Studies strategic business, IT and EA context.  Develops (or reviews) solution vision.

Architecting: In the strategic context, develops a solution outline for a programme or project.

·         Takes a business scenario-driven approach to define data, application and infrastructure components.

·         Addresses non-functional requirements and mitigates technical risks.

·         Balances stakeholder needs with the higher level goals, principles and standards.

Planning: Can assist in supplier selection. Prepares a migration path to inform planning. Supports programme and project planning.

Governance: Provides technical leadership for a programme or project.

Joins up, coaches and supports designers and subject matter experts.

Provides quality assurance and architecture governance.


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