What is a solution architect? Get to know these problem-solving enthusiasts.

By Chris Schwartz -

man sitting at table and talking to coworkers

 

Solution architects (SAs) play a major role in solving today’s most-complex modern business challenges. In the last few years, the rise in demand for SAs has exploded, fueled by a growing number of transformation projects and, more recently, business continuity and optimization projects. They are now a familiar figure in many organizations, providing a technical mind with a broad skill set to help organizations identify the best path forward with technology.

According to Gartner, SAs combine guidance from different architecture viewpoints — including business, information and technical — to find solutions. You can think of a SA like a translator who quickly interprets certain information and turns that into a technical solution.

SAs devote their lives to understanding your business challenges and needs, but how much you know about them? Isn’t it time we all got to know the people behind the tech, and see them in a different light without the documentation and whiteboard pens?

 

Hear directly from solution architects

In our latest CloudSpotting podcast episode, “A day in the life of a solution architect,” we sit down with SAs from Rackspace Technology EMEA. Listen in to discover what it means to be a SA, what makes them tick and what attracts them to extremely complex business challenges.

CloudSpotting hosts Alex Galbraith and Sai Iyer, who are both UK-based SAs themselves, are joined by SAs Simon Roberts (UK), Sashka Ninchovska (Netherlands) and Markus Schmid (Germany). Tune in to learn:

  • What exactly is a SA
  • What motivates a SA and makes them seek out chaos
  • The challenges of being a SA, such as partial information, restricted budgets and conflicting requirements
  • What value they add in the chain of turning an idea into a finished solution
  • The value of peer reviewing and drawing from the village well of knowledge
  • How to get into this field of work and what a career path might look like

 

Solution architects are problem solvers

Sai explains the different hats of the role during a project, “You need to be not just an architect, but a [subject-matter expert] and a technology leader of sorts, as you need to lead the solution implementation with multiple architects.”

Simon explains that the consultative element can sometimes feel odd if you don’t know some of the specifics, but you need to apply logic. “Part of it is applying logic, and if you are thrown something where you don’t know the particular product or service you need to know how to manage that, which can feel like tapdancing when you don’t know what the tune is. You also need to show humility and let customers know when you have exhausted all the information you have, and you need to gather more information.”

 

How to succeed as a solution architect

Alex gives his perspective of what he thinks helps you succeed in this role. “You can have all the technical nous in the world, but the best architects are those people you want to emulate because of how they work, run meetings and ask questions. You pick up these skills through shadowing people and those human connections.”

Simon delves deeper to explain what drives SAs and attracts them to extremely complex business challenges. “The dopamine hit of getting the solution right is something that you want to go back and experience again, and you seek out larger, more complex and higher value problems to solve. That’s why we do it.”

 

Get to know our solution architectsListen here