Solution architects versus enterprise architects

While all IT architects create, implement, and maintain some type of IT architecture, there is little consensus about the names of IT architects. Some of the often used names are:

  • Enterprise architect
  • Solution architect
  • Information architect
  • Software architect
  • Infrastructure architect
  • Security architect
  • Project architect
  • Systems architect
  • Application architect

Since not everyone knows exactly what these people do and what their exact expertise is, I propose to use only two names: Enterprise Architect and Solution Architect. A clear distinction can be made between the roles of a solution architect and that of an enterprise architect.

Solution architects create IT solutions, usually as member of a project team. A solution architect is finished when the project is finished. Solution architects are the technical conscience and authority of a project, are responsible for the architectural decisions in the project and work closely with the project manager. Where the project manager manages the process of a project, the solution architect manages the technical solution the project builds, based on requirements.

Enterprise architects continuously align the overall IT landscape of an organization with the business activities the organization performs. Enterprise architects enable transformations of the overall IT landscape (including the IT infrastructure) over the years in a structured manner. An enterprise architect is therefore never finished (as opposed to the solution architect in a project, who is finished when the project is finished). Enterprise architects typically work in close corporation with the CIO and the business units, where they try to align the needs of the business with the current and future IT landscape. Enterprise architects build bridges and act as advisors to the business and to the IT department.

In short: Solution architects are the people that design, implement and deploy new (infrastructure) solutions in projects. Enterprise architects set the boundaries the solution architect has to stay within, based on business needs.


This entry was posted on Friday 15 February 2013

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Sjaak Laan


Recommended links

Ruth Malan
Gaudi site
Esther Barthel's site on virtualization
Eltjo Poort's site on architecture


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The postings on this site are my opinions and do not necessarily represent CGI’s strategies, views or opinions.

 

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