Solutions And Architecture

This article provides a ground level understanding of the profiles of a solutioner and an architect.

Solutions And Architecture 
 

Overview

After spending more than two decades in the technology field, I have experienced a trend in the expectations of employers from their employees. In the late 1990s, there was a scarcity of talent with information technology skills like developers, database admins, systems and network admins. The case of opportunities to sell the services in the market was similar.

During those days, having a corporate email address to communicate with different vendors or clients, was considered as a good credential for the enterprise. But as time passed, demand for the IT services including software development, systems management, and communication services saw a steep rise. This modernization of IT resulted into a clear mandate to have skilled resources to maintain the systems up to a basic level of understanding, while the enterprise software and systems management were still with OEMs because of the complex nature of required skills and scarcity of the talent pool.

Starting in 2000, when small to medium enterprises started leveraging information technology to support the business processes, a shift was observed from using the standard offering from OEMs to install, configure, customize and manage the enterprise-specific systems. This shift resulted in the boost of technical training companies, availability and demand for skilled resources for various vendor-specific systems and software.

But around 2010, the systems became more and more complex and large enterprises wanted to shed away the practices to believe the recommendation from a particular OEM for their next procurement. There was a need of a consultant who could provide an unbiased solution to the given problem and that is when a new skill came into existence; Solutioner.

A typical solutioner profile required the following skills:

  • SME skills in 1 or 2 key technologies
  • Quick to assess the new products and map the same with the requirement
  • Follow a solution-centric approach
  • Understanding of costs, risks, assumptions, dependencies
  • Ability to calculate return on investment (ROI) and provide different ‘buy’ options to clients/management

Solutions And Architecture 

These SME turned solutioners were being leveraged for pre-sales activities, client presentations, procurement committees and as a go-to person to address business problems.

For the next few years, enterprises reaped several initial benefits of having such solutioners on-board, but later these point solutions became the matter of worry as these solutions lacked the overall ecosystem homogeneity.

Because a typical solution was created around a specific problem, the resulting change in the existing IT landscape usually was never aligned with the existing ecosystem. For example, to deal with a particular CRM specific issue, a new module was considered having a database running on the Windows platform, while the company policy stated the use of Linux as a standard operating system for all enterprise servers.

Solutions And Architecture 

This gap was later filled with the introduction of much advanced SME to the enterprise or IT consulting companies, who could think of the complete ecosystem before designing or proposing any solution. This new skill was named as the solutions architect for the skill requirement demanded the study of complete IT landscape and its mapping to business so that a compatible solution could be proposed.

Today, there are different solutions architect profiles exist, which I will explain in next articles:

  • Data Centre Architect
  • Networks Architect
  • Data Architect
  • Software Architect
  • Security Architect

and any more…..

These architects own the complete solution for the given domain and provide end-to-end a seamless and most favorable solution to the given problem statement.

TIP
If you are interested in becoming a solutions architect in your domain of expertise please search the job descriptions on different job sites to get more insight into the additional skills required.

Till the moment I come back with the next article on architecture, please provide feedback and keep sharing this article among your network.

Happy Learning.