Prime Insight
Prime Insight

Enterprise Architecture Vs Solutions Architecture

Posting date: 25 July 2019
Lillian Ng our consultant managing the role
Author: Lillian Ng

What's Your Ideal Role In These Growing Technological Disciplines?

Enterprise architects and solutions architects are roles that might appeal to job seekers who have strong technical and analytical skills. Entry-level requirements for each role are similar – employers will expect a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Both roles are concerned with creating and executing improvements to an organisation’s technology framework. However, each specialises in different aspects.

In this article, we explain the key differences between enterprise architecture and solutions architecture.

The Big Picture V's The Detail

Perhaps the easiest way to describe the difference between enterprise architecture jobs (link to jobs page) and solutions architecture jobs (link to jobs page) is to consider them as big-picture thinking and detail thinking. A little like town planning and development – town planners consider the vision of the framework of a town, while developers must adhere to that vision and the building codes and regulations set by the town planners. In other words:

  • Enterprise architects work with a strategic focus
  • Solutions architects work with a detailed planning focus

However, there are overlaps between the roles. Enterprise architects must allow solutions architects to inform their focus, while solutions architects must consult with enterprise architects and, in the higher level of their job, take an enterprise approach.

The Role Of An Enterprise Architect

The focus of an enterprise architect is to consider the strategy that drives the organisation and to consider what is required to deliver vision and intent. The enterprise architect will consider the organisation’s component parts, the links between them and the external environment.

While the detail for an enterprise architect is limited in scope (the role is more akin to overview) they will be good delegators and have a detailed technical understanding which enables them to assign work to specialists.

An enterprise architect will ensure that an organisation’s applications and technologies are suitable and provide the consistency and integrity required through each application lifecycle. With overview of the enterprise framework, the enterprise architect will also identify opportunities to amalgamate the work of different solutions architects – for instance, where one application can be used across unlinked work silos.

In short, the enterprise architect is responsible for ensuring that design becomes reality, and this includes identifying resources required such as people and systems.

The Role Of A Solutions Architect

Just as the enterprise architect is responsible for ensuring consistency and integrity of the entire framework, a solutions architect is responsible for consistency and integrity of each individual solution.

A solutions architect will coordinate activities, engage with the concept, and take that concept to realisation. They will focus on detail of each solution, and must build solutions that comply with not only the business vision as laid out by the enterprise architect, but also the IT governance of the organisation.

The solutions architect may be required to mentor and train junior employees, collaborate with developers, and manage application development teams. They are likely to have an agile and adaptable approach to work, be good communicators, and sport great attention to detail.

Introducing Technical Architects

While it is very likely that solutions architects may have responsibility for several projects at the same time, it would be folly for an organisation to expect the architect to do the detailed work required in such a situation. Therefore, it is usual for a solutions architect to manage a team of technical architects. Their work is limited to a single application or implementation. This reduces the risks associated with application development.

The higher the perceived risk of a project, the more likely it is that a solutions architect will be assigned to it. Instances when this may occur include:

  • Constant change environments
  • Projects that use untested technology
  • Project in which multiple technologies are deployed simultaneously
  • Projects in which work is outsourced to external providers

What Is Your Future?

Connect with Lillian Ng

If you have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related discipline, we would like to hear from you. With rapid advances in technology, organisations are increasing their efforts to boost their technological capabilities. There is a high demand for enterprise architects, solutions architects and technical architects across all industry sectors.

For a confidential discussion about your next career move, contact the Technical Team at Prime Insight .

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