- designs the high level solution to a business problem where the solution requires multiple applications or infrastructure technologies, people, process and other aspects to be considered holistically to achieve the right solution.
- works with programme / project management to drive the solution.
- acts as translator between technical disciplines and business stakeholders.
- requires broad and deep understanding of IT technologies and methods but, is an agent of change rather than a traditional IT operations or development role.
The Solution Architect is a varied role requiring a broad skill set including design, analysis, organisation, management, soft skills and extensive technical knowledge.
The role and definition varies between industries, organisations and architectural schools and often runs to many pages of explanation. I hope you find the above to be helpful in shedding some light on the role.
In contrast to my own explanation, I have included a few other definitions of the role:
In the following TOGAF definition, I have also included Segment Architect, the two are closely linked and in many organisations would be a single role…
‘The Segment Architect has the responsibility for architectural design and documentation of specific business problems or organizations. A Segment Architect re-uses the output from all other architects, joining detailed technical solutions to the overall architectural landscape. The focus of the Segment Architect is on enterprise-level business solutions in a given domain, such as finance, human resources, sales, etc.
The Solution Architect has the responsibility for architectural design and documentation at a system or subsystem level, such as management or security. A Solution Architect may shield the Enterprise/Segment Architect from the unnecessary details of the systems, products, and/or technologies. The focus of the Solution Architect is on system technology solutions; for example, a component of a solution such as enterprise data warehousing.’ http://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf9-doc/arch/chap52.html
‘The Solution Architect has mastered the fundamental skills in architecture and has been a practicing architect within delivery based organization. The solution architect is responsible for delivery on one or more projects within the scope of the business case for the solution. Their primary role is to optimize the value of a solution to an organization through delivery and reduce owner risk in its delivery while ensuring the solution meets all compliance and regulatory which impact the system.’ https://www.iasaglobal.org/itabok-1/engagement-model/role-descriptions/
‘focuses on converting requirements into the architecture and design that ultimately constitute the blueprint for the solution. In that process, the solution architect usually relies on design patterns from their previous engagements, published reference architectures, and on guidance from enterprise architecture. In their efforts, solution architects balance architectural concerns of the projects with the concerns of the enterprise.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solution_architect
‘SAs combine guidance from different enterprise architecture viewpoints (business, information and technical), as well as from the enterprise solution architecture (ESA).’ http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/solution-architecture
Thanks and regards,