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Solution Architect

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Job ID: 10769 Category: Professional

Job Description

  • The solutions architect is accountable for proactively and holistically leading activities for creating deliverables that guide the developing direction for managing a portfolio of solutions in response to disruptive forces, and driving achieving targeted business outcomes.
  • Solutions include systems (including applications, technologies, processes and information), shared infrastructure services and shared application services.
  • Solutions architects provide the necessary leadership, analysis and design tasks related to the development of an enterprise's solutions architecture.
  • This individual creates deliverables that help develop a direction for managing the organization's portfolio of "to be" and "as is" solutions — including systems (meaning not just applications, but also processes and information), shared infrastructure services, and shared application services and components to better match targeted business outcome objectives.
  • Solutions architecture is sometimes used interchangeably with applications and infrastructure architecture. However, both of the aforementioned typically fall under the purview of the solutions architect.
  • Application architecture is a subset of solutions architecture.
  • It's the discipline that guides application design and defines application architecture paradigms, such as service-oriented architecture (SOA), principles that influence design decisions and patterns that provide proven design solutions.
  • Solutions architects leverage and use technology solutions to enable the organization's future-state business capabilities that, in turn, drive the organization's targeted outcomes.
  • They facilitate and orchestrate the delivery of targeted business outcomes.

Scope of Activities

  • Understand business drivers and business capabilities (future and current state), and determine corresponding enterprise system designs and change requirements to drive the organization's targeted business outcomes.
  • Design and lead the implementation of a solutions architecture across a group of specific business applications or technologies based on enterprise business strategy, business capabilities and business requirements.
  • Manage and develop the architecture for a broader scope of projects, working closely with application technology leads that manage and design solutions for a single project or initiative.
  • Provide consulting support to application technical leads within projects to ensure the project is aligned with the overall domain and application architecture.
  • Monitor the current-state solution portfolio to identify deficiencies through aging of the technologies used by the application, or misalignment with business requirements.
  • Understand technology trends and the practical application of existing, new, and emerging technologies to enable new and evolving business and operating models.
  • Understand, advocate and augment the principles of information technology strategies.
  • Analyze the business-IT environment (run, grow and transform the business) to detect critical deficiencies, and recommend solutions for improvement (systems of record, differentiation and innovation).
  • Analyze the technology industry, competitors and market trends, and determine their potential impact on the enterprise.
  • Define the principles, guidelines, standards and solution patterns to ensure solution decisions are aligned with the enterprise's future-state architecture vision.
  • Design and direct the governance activities associated with ensuring solutions architecture assurance and compliance.
  • Develop a roadmap for the evolution of the enterprise application portfolio from future to current state (as defined by the solutions architecture).
  • Facilitate the evaluation and selection of software product standards and services, as well as the design of standard and custom software configurations.
  • Consult with application and infrastructure development projects to fit systems or infrastructure to architecture, and identify when it is necessary to modify projects to accommodate the solutions architecture.
  • Identify the organizational impact (for example, on skills, processes, structures or culture) and financial impact of the solutions architecture.
  • Document all solution architecture design and analysis work.
  • Work closely with the program management office (PMO) or project management office to ensure the execution of plans corresponds with what is being promised.        

 

Credentials and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree in computer science, system analysis or a related study, or equivalent experience
  • Minimum of five years of experience in at least two IT solution development disciplines, including technical architecture, network management, application development, middleware, database management or operations
  • Exposure to multiple, diverse technologies and processing environments
  • Good understanding of strategic and new and emerging technology trends, and the practical application of existing, new and emerging technologies to new and evolving business and operating models
  • Understanding of agile methods and processes, and capability of supporting agile project teams by providing advice and guidance on opportunities, impact and risks, taking account of technical and architectural debt
  • Must have an understanding of Enterprise Integration Patterns and Platforms

Skills

  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, including teamwork, facilitation and negotiation
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Excellent analytical and technical skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent planning and organizational skills
  • Knowledge of all components of an enterprise technical architecture
  • Knowledge of financial models and budgeting
  • Excellent understanding of application development methodologies and infrastructure and network architecture
  • Ability to work with developers in an in-and-out outsourced environment

Competencies

  • Organizationally savvy, with a good understanding of the enterprise's political climate and how to navigate, influence and persuade political waters
  • Ability to communicate, influence and persuade peers
  • Ability to understand the long-term ("big picture") and short-term perspectives of situations
  • Ability to translate future-state business capabilities and requirements into solution architecture requirements
  • Ability to propose and estimate the financial impact of solution architecture alternatives
  • Ability to apply multiple technical solutions to business problems
  • Ability to quickly comprehend the functions and capabilities of new technologies
  • Proven ability to work well with others

Characteristics

  • A respected leader
  • Technology neutral: remains unbiased toward any specific technology or vendor choice, and is more interested in results than personal preferences
  • Displays intellectual curiosity and integrity
  • Motivated and driven by achieving long-term business outcomes
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