Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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