What is Solution Architecture, and Do I Need It?
Ever wondered why IT projects fail? Unfortunately, it's the nature of the beast - because of the rapidly changing and challenging technology environment, companies need to transform their processes and systems to meet new and emerging business requirements. This digital transformation demands businesses find specific expertise, and a set of practices to align the needs and requirements of the company through technology solutions.
Solution architecture is one of the most crucial practices needed before any tech solution is implemented within your company.
In this article, we’ll discuss what solution architecture is, the responsibilities of a solution architect, and why you might need solution architecture for your business.
What is Solution Architecture?
Solution architecture is the complex process of defining, creating, and managing the solution engineering in connection with the specific problems your business is facing. Its goal is to bridge the gap between business problems and technology solutions.
With Solution Architecture, existing business issues and challenges are solved by finding the best tech solution among all possible solutions. It also defines the features, phases, and solution requirements of the project. Furthermore, Solution Architecture helps project stakeholders visualise the whole process by describing the structure, characteristics, and behaviour of the software.
When your business has well-built solution architecture, it will help your team develop a product on time and budget, while addressing the problem it was designed to solve.
There are a few main processes covered by solution architecture, and they include the following:
Reconciling restrictions with project goals
Every project has its limitations and they may derive from budget, risks, scope, technology, quality, resources, time, and many more. For example, your product might heavily rely on a specific technology, or your company does not have enough allocated budget. These limitations are reasonable and every company has them.
With Solution Architecture, these limitations or restrictions are identified and studied. A Solution Architect with technological and managerial expertise should be able to understand these constraints, compare them, and make the best decision as to how they can reconcile these constraints with their project goals.
Choosing the project technology stack
One of the most vital parts of creating solution architecture is choosing the technologies needed for product development. The tech stack selected will heavily influence the technical architecture strategy so identifying which platform, programming language, or tool is required for your specific project is crucial. With solution architecture, the most suitable tech will be chosen for a particular project using high-level technology observation, testing, and assessment.
Ensuring that the solutions match with the corporate environment
More often than not, companies already have their operating systems, integration requirements, and information context. The role of solution architecture is to help ensure that the tech solution and the new system provided for the company works seamlessly with the existing corporate environment. To do this, the solution architect should understand how the processes, application architectures, and operating systems of the business model work together. When this is done correctly, they will be able to create and design a data-driven solution that best fits their environment.
Meeting the stakeholder’s requirements
During a software product development cycle, one of the most critical challenges is meeting the requirements of a stakeholder. For the most part, products have a few stakeholders that are both technical and non-technical specialists. Solution architecture aims to make sure that their requirements are studied and taken into consideration throughout the whole process of software product development.
Following solution architecture best practice ensures that stakeholders will be regularly informed about the progress of the product development process. They will also be updated on the costs and budgeting. Solution architects translate the technical aspects and details of the project into a language that non-technical stakeholders and the management can understand.
The Responsibilities of a Solution Architect
The definition and processes of Solution Architecture, as discussed above, has already given you an overview of the many responsibilities of a Solution Architect. But we will delve deeper into the other roles a Solution Architect plays in the software product development process.
Solution architects are the people leading the practice and they introduce a comprehensive technical vision for a particular solution. Their job focuses on solution-level decisions and they analyse the impact of these decisions on the encompassing goals and requirements of a company.
Other responsibilities of Solution Architects include:
- Analysis and documentation of the technology environment, enterprise specifics, and requirements
- Designing and setting the collaboration framework
- Managing the solution development
- Creating a solution prototype
- Supporting project management
It is important to note that although these responsibilities require a leadership role from Solution Architects, their role is to support the project management activities to make sure that everything stays aligned with the solution goals.
Does your business need Solution Architecture?
Solution Architecture is usually introduced into businesses when there is no systematic process of integrating new software systems. When your software development projects grow more complicated, as they would in this fast-paced tech industry, you might want to consider solution architecture consulting services.
If you are running a digital transformation project, you’ll need the expertise of a solution architect because it requires you to reconsider what and how you want to deliver value to your customer. You may not be sure about the solution that best fits in your enterprise ecosystem and solution architects can link technology and business perspectives, to help you find a solution for your underlying issues.
Furthermore, when you have many teams involved in the project, and you need effective communication between your teams and the stakeholders, Solution Architecture is the way to go. A solution architect will bridge the gap between technical and non-technical specialists to alleviate the risks of product misalignment with the requirements. They will ensure that the solution fits its defined purpose.
While Solution Architecture can be managed in-house, it is best to leave this crucial task to companies with years of experience in the field. April9 designs solutions that are tailor-fit for companies using defined processes and best practices. Our solution architects have technical expertise paired with backgrounds in consulting where they’ve held long-term engagements for enterprise-level companies. If you want solutions that add value to your business, reduce costs, and accelerate time-to-market, schedule your free appointment with April9 today.