Solutions architect

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Description

The role of the solutions architect is the person who organizes the development effort of a systems solution. The solutions architect is responsible for the development of the overall vision that underlies the projected solution and transforms that vision through execution into the solution. The solution architect becomes involved with a project at the time of inception and is involved in the functional analysis of developing the initial requirements. They then remain involved throughout the balance of the project.

The solutions architect is an expert in many categories. They must have hands-on experience in multiple industries and across several disciplines. They must have a mastery of various hardware platforms including mainframes, distributed platforms, desktops, and mobile devices. Akin to that they must also possess skill and understanding of a variety of Operating Systems including mainframe systems. A broad and deep understanding of Databases is also essential with knowledge of Relational Databases.

Solutions architects decide which technologies to use. They work very closely with developers to ensure proper implementation. They are the link between the needs of the organisation and the developers.

A solutions architect does not work in isolation. They will work as part of a team of architects who look at enterprise architecture, technical architecture and security architecture. All architects work closely with key stakeholders from the business to ensure that the needs of the business are being met by the architecture teams.

A solutions architect exhibits capabilities in line with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA)[1] and the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.[2]

Within the SFIA profile, the solutions architect has level 5 capabilities, i.e. ensures and advises on the skills outlined below.

Autonomy

Works under broad direction. Work is often self-initiated. Is fully responsible for meeting allocated technical and/or project/supervisory objectives. Establishes milestones and has a significant role in the assignment of tasks and/or responsibilities.

Influence

Influences organisation, customers, suppliers, partners and peers on the contribution of own specialism. Builds appropriate and effective business relationships. Makes decisions which impact the success of assigned work, i.e. results, deadlines and budget. Has significant influence over the allocation and management of resources appropriate to given assignments.

Complexity

Performs an extensive range and variety of complex technical and/or professional work activities. Undertakes work which requires the application of fundamental principles in a wide and often unpredictable range of contexts. Understands the relationship between own specialism and wider customer/organisational requirements.

Business Skills

Advises on the available standards, methods, tools and applications relevant to own specialism and can make appropriate choices from alternatives. Analyses, designs, plans, executes and evaluates work to time, cost and quality targets. Assesses and evaluates risk. Communicates effectively, both formally and informally. Demonstrates leadership. Facilitates collaboration between stakeholders who have diverse objectives. Takes all requirements into account when making proposals. Takes initiative to keep skills up to date. Mentors colleagues. Maintains an awareness of developments in the industry. Analyses requirements and advises on scope and options for continuous operational improvement. Demonstrates creativity, innovation and ethical thinking in applying solutions for the benefit of the customer/stakeholder.

 

  SFIA Skill

SFIA Skill Code

SFIA Skill Level of Responsibility

SFIA Skills Level Descriptor

Solution architecture

ARCH

5

Uses appropriate tools, including logical models of components and interfaces, to contribute to the development of systems architectures in specific business or functional areas. Produces detailed component specifications and translates these into detailed designs for implementation using selected products. Within a business change programme, assists in the preparation of technical plans and cooperates with business assurance and project staff to ensure that appropriate technical resources are made available. Provides advice on technical aspects of system development and integration (including requests for changes, deviations from specifications, etc.) and ensures that relevant technical strategies, policies, standards and practices (including security) are applied correctly.

Consultancy

CNSL

5

Takes responsibility for understanding client requirements, collecting data, delivering analysis and problem resolution. Identifies, evaluates and recommends options, implementing if required. Collaborates with, and facilitates stakeholder groups, as part of formal or informal consultancy agreements. Seeks to fully address client needs, enhancing the capabilities and effectiveness of client personnel, by ensuring that proposed solutions are properly understood and appropriately exploited.

Technical specialism

TECH

5

Maintains an in-depth knowledge of specific specialisms, and provides expert advice regarding their application. Can supervise specialist consultancy. The specialism can be any aspect of information or communication technology, technique, method, product or application area.

Emerging technology monitoring

EMRG

5

Monitors the market to gain knowledge and understanding of currently emerging technologies. Identifies new and emerging hardware and software technologies and products based on own area of expertise, assesses their relevance and potential value to the organisation, contributes to briefings of staff and management.

 

Queensland Government roles align with the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.

The success profile is a sector wide, one-government approach to the leadership behaviours expected of all public sector employees to support high performing workplaces.  The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 13 leadership competencies required against four role types: 

  • Individual contributor (manages self)
  • Team leader (manages individuals)
  • Program manager (manages multiple teams/projects)
  • Executive (manages program managers)

When developing a Role Description, identify the role type and then focus on the most important attributes and create a balance between SFIA skills and leadership skills. 

Entry points

Possession of a bachelor’s level degree is a must to work as a solutions architect. A detailed understanding of information technology and how the business works is essential to work in this role

 

  1. The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) provides a common language that integrates with an organisation’s way of working, to improve capability and resource planning, resource deployment and performance management.  This role profile quotes extensively from the SFIA, under licence from the SFIA Foundation.  Information about the SFIA can be found at http://www.sfia-online.org/en
  2. The Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile plays a key role in translating the government’s ‘talent management requirements’ into clear behavioural terms, while at the same time delivering organisational change and growth.  The success profile is being utilised to align sector-wide talent management strategies, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, leadership development, capability development, performance management, career management and succession planning.

http://www.psc.qld.gov.au/includes/assets/PSC_Workforce_Capability_Success_Profile.pdf

The supporting Companion Guide can be found at

            http://www.psc.qld.gov.au/includes/assets/Companion_guide_QPS_Workforce_Capability_Success_Profile.pdf