Solutions Architecture – building a systems future …
We do Solutions Architecture from two levels or scopes. At the enterprise level we set the overall context for a solution, define what must be common across the enterprise and create patterns and standards for how that should be applied at the project level. At the project or “solution” level we act as the bridge between the enterprise strata and the business-specific requirements, to ensure a perfect solution that conforms to the enterprise architecture.
At both levels we discover and define what things need to be the same to achieve goals, efficiency and effectiveness, what things need to be different to achieve competitive, geographical and other requirements and how the similarities and differences fit together in context.
Solutions Architecture approach
Regardless of which level we work on Solutions Architecture at we have a common set of activities that add value for our clients, including:
1. Enquire. We are usually engaged to solve specific problems so we need to get to the core of the problem and define requirements within the context of the wider enterprise.
2. Integrate. We act as a bridge between a given project or solution and how that project fits into the broader business context, involving international, national and industry standards and best practices.
3. Analyse. This involves answering three questions:
- What are the key elements of the problem or solution?
- What are the relationships between them?
- How do they combine together to provide value higher up?
4. Conceptualise. That is to create a conceptual vision of the solution, typically in the form of a conceptual architecture diagram, a drawing that shows the major users/channels of the system, the other systems it has to interact with, and the major logical functions and data that it must perform or use.
5. Abstract. We communicate the key details to a variety of audiences and communities, suppressing irrelevant detail and presenting different levels of abstraction, often referred to as conceptual, logical and physical.
6. Visualise. Another of our key Solutions Architecture skills and functions is to create visual architectural models and drawings at each level of abstraction.
7. Formalise. Pictures are excellent for communicating understanding; however, we also need unambiguously to communicate the details of the solution, normally using and architectural specification that might be a document or, more often these days, a complete and precise formal model, expressed in industry-standard notation.
8. Communicate. The most important thing we do is to act as communicators. After we establish and formalise a solution we communicate that solution as well as its importance and value to stakeholders throughout the organisation.
9. Enable. A well-designed, formalised and communicated solutions architecture also needs buy-in from the business so we provide solutions that make it easy to enable the target audience to use the architecture.
10. Assist. Finally, one of the primary tasks we do is actively to assist projects in using the solutions architecture.
Is this what you or the solutions architects at your organisation do? Are you missing or skipping some important steps? Are you spending time on the right activities that bring value to your organisation? Call us on 01386 421747 or fill in our convenient contact form for a free consultation.