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Solution Designer vs Solution Architect?

What’s the Difference between a Solution Designer and a Solution Architect?
Both terms are used interchangeably, but there are fundamental differences between a solution architect and a designer.

Solution designer and solution architect are two roles that are often misconstrued as each other. Many believe that a solution architect is simply a senior-level solution designer who has acquired extensive experience to get the promotion. While there is some truth to the stereotype, the fact is that solution architecture is fundamentally different from solution designing.

All architecture is design, but not all design is architecture

Let’s dig deep into both positions’ job roles and responsibilities to identify the differences and how they fit into an IT organization.

Role of a Solution Architect

Solution architecture involves designing, specifying, and managing IT solutions to overcome particular business challenges. A solution architect is tasked with the role of leading the entire technical vision for each solution. This is a complicated process that includes a multitude of sub-processes to bridge the gap between business issues and IT solutions.

A solution architect comprehensively assesses an organization’s business requirements as well as bottlenecks and identifies how IT can find viable solutions by leveraging infrastructure, software, and hardware. Aligning IT strategy with company goals is vital, and a solution architect provides professional assistance in determining, developing, and enhancing technical solutions that facilitate business goals. 

Solution architecture surrounds business, security, system, technology architecture, information, and applications.

  • Identifying the most financially and technically viable solutions to overcome business challenges and meet business objectives
  • Explaining the behaviour, characteristics, structure and other aspects of the solutions to stakeholders
  • Creating specifications according to which the IT solution is managed and delivered by the team
  • Recognizing domains where technology can aid the goals and needs of the business
  • Collaborating with different teams to develop IT plan-of-action and to upgrade ongoing IT applications
  • Creating and relocating software and services across the organization
  • Operating with teams handling product and delivery to promote modular products and solutions
  • Consulting and communicating with the clients and internal team members to develop suitable strategies
  • Conducting brainstorming discussions to promote potential solutions for company needs or challenges
  • Pinpointing room for improvements in the procedure and assembling and recording testing criteria

Role of a Solution Designer

Relying on the strategy proposed by the solution architect, a solution designer develops the essential blocks of the final solution. This means that a solution designer has to build modularity and versatility into designs so they can meet the business requirements. The integrity of the overall solution depends on the solution designer, so they must be aware of existing infrastructure, organizational systems strategy, and deployed IT standards.

Solution designer often focuses on creating a solution that is optimized, modular, technically feasible, and as reusable as possible. They take top-tier business demands and render them into economic, technological, functional, and workable design parameters and work with the findings completely into post-go-live.

  • Providing professional guidance in terms of effective deployment of solutions and architectures to achieve business goals while ensuring compliance with the overall enterprise architecture
  • Designing and developing end-to-end solutions and providing recommendations
  • Collaborating with stakeholders, solution architects, solution designers, and enterprise architects to ensure successful and timely delivery of projects
  • Joining forces with Service Architects for the timely and successful delivery of program outflow and independent projects
  • Providing effective risk management and identifying issues related to solution design
  • Collaborating with administrative and senior stakeholders to establish strong relationships and ensuring they understand business, technology requirements, and proposed solutions
  • Keeping an eye on all phases of the technical requirements and supply to IT impact evaluation to understand the effect of changes to requirements across all chapters
  • Ensure business / technical requirements’ accurate portrayal in solutions through association with suppliers, users, and technology groups

Solution Architect vs Solution Designer

  Solution ArchitectSolution Designer
Defines and designs the high-level architecture that outlines the vision of the solution to a specific problemDesigns and develops core building blocks of the high-level architecture and implements them accordingly
Analyzes technology environment and enterprise specificsDevelops end-to-end solutions and collaborates with all the stakeholders
Develops end-to-end solutions and collaborates with all the stakeholdersDefines a collaboration network and creates a solution prototype
Ensures timely and successful delivery of different projectsEnsures timely and successful delivery of different projects
Provides project management support during the development phaseComplies with architectural regulations and standards
Participates in technology selection and solution development controlContributes to the effective risk management of IT solutions

How They Fit In an IT Organization?

Solution architects are tasked with building and implementing IT systems architectures that align with the demands and goals of the business. Their role is to identify the requirements, understand the specifications, evaluate that the systems are in place, and work closely with the team to provide effective solutions. The solution architect explains the company requirements to the development team and leads them to create a product that can resolve real issues for the organizations.

It is a job position bearing high responsibility which requires a diverse range of IT skills and expertise. In addition, with organizations increasingly opting for digitalization, the solution architect’s role will continue to become more and more crucial.

On the other hand, a solution designer guides the effective use of solutions and architectures to achieve outcomes that comply with organizational requirements and the entire enterprise architecture. They build end-to-end solution architecture design and proposals and collaborate with the delivery and engineering team and architects to ensure the successful delivery of a project.

Apart from that, a solution designer unites the enterprise architect to ensure that solution architectures are in sync with the organization’s standards and technology strategy. Moreover, they contribute to effective risk management by identifying issues related to solution designs in an organization while constantly updating the enterprise architecture archive.

Both the solution designer and architect are responsible for focusing on developing a sophisticated solution that is enhanced, modularized, and highly functional. They work hand in hand to successfully design and create the latest technology solutions in sync with its organizational needs and fill in the communication gap between technical and non-technical professionals involved in the project.

Final Word

While there is some overlapping between the roles of a solution architect and a solution designer, they are fundamentally different in terms of the scope and extent of their responsibilities. A solution architect is responsible for designing and implementing complete high-level solutions that address a particular organizational issue. On the other hand, a solution designer develops and deploys building blocks for that unified architecture.

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