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Enterprise Architect vs Solution Architect – What the difference?

The Difference Between Software Architects

There are some IT architect types and tasks. 

There are different types of IT architects:

  • Enterprise architects;
  • Solution architects;
  • Infrastructure architects;
  • Data architects.

“What to do?” – is the question answered by the Enterprise Architect.

He solves strategic problems: 

  • Analyzes the main requirements; 
  • Data flow analysis; 
  • And writes the “it constitution” of the project; develops architectural standards and requirements.

“How?” answers the Solution Architect.

He chooses:

  • Frameworks; 
  • Formulates alternative IT solutions within budget; 
  • Identifies risks; 
  • Resolves disputes among developers. 

He also needs to be able to analyze performance, security tests. This specialist should have a clear idea of the practical implementation of it and has to able to convey it to the team.

These solutions need a high degree of responsibility of the executor. If something is designing , it will be thorny to correct. You will have to change a lot.

“Implementation” has done by the developer.


These roles are very connected, and often companies need a specialist: 

  • Enterprise Architect + Solution Architect; 
  • Developer + Solution Architect; 
  • Enterprise Architect + Solution Architect + Developer.

The larger the company, the more often these roles are separated into independent ones in small startups; it’s usually three in one.

Infrastructure Architects

Deal with server hardware: 

  • Application servers; 
  • Support servers; 
  • Enterprise-level corporate networks; 
  • Dbms, security architecture (authorization, authentication), operating systems, enterprise storage systems, cloud services, etc.

Sometimes some of the roles of an infrastructure architect have assigned as independent units:

Security architect – deals with two types of security issues. The first type is hardware-level access closures, data link encryption – the lower level. The second is application-level security for applications that run on top of the equipment, such as mail or corporate applications – the top level.

Network Architect – handles the setup and maintenance of the data infrastructure itself.

Cloud systems architect – shapes the cloud infrastructure, including network, servers, operating systems, and data storage.

Data Architects

The business needs to analyze large amounts of data (Data Lake) and get the information. They need (to generate reports, make statistics, calculate KPIs).

What Data Architects are responsible for:

  • How to organize regular data collection from many source systems;
  • To arrange it into a data lake;
  • What data to put in the corporate warehouse and determine the placement model.

He has to understand what we need data for and how to get the data we need.

System Architect is more of a role than a specific position. They are in demand, and no IT-based business could function without their participation.

These people analyze the challenges the business poses to IT. They determine the right actions and how best to achieve the goals. They choose the tools best suited to a particular situation, devise the architecture of the future computing complex as a whole, and sometimes each module in it. And most, the system architects see the strategy for implementing the infrastructure, and all parts of the chosen solution fit into this general framework.

What kind of architects in IT

There is the most common and understandable definition of a solution architect. He is a specialist who understands how a defined application system: web service, social network, ERP-system, and others. He designed and should work. He keeps development teams within the requirements specification and helps create solutions focusing on the business problem, not functional requirements for executable code. Any application has to run on something, and the data it operates on has to be stored long and lossless. The solution architect can only plan what resources have required and how the downed service should rise. So who will make it a reality?

It is where the “system architect” comes in. He is the guru in creating the IT infrastructure, including:

  • Databases; 
  • Hardware; 
  • Networks; 
  • Various storage systems, and server platforms. 

His main task is to prepare the infrastructure for the requirements dictated by the applications. The responsibility of the systems architect may include many systems: which in one way or another belong to the infrastructure layer, providing the necessary performance, reliability, and availability. 

But this does not change the essence – the systems architect comes up with what the IT infrastructure as a whole will look like and what it should be able to do.

The synthesis of system and solution architects should give the company the very impetus for development. In reality, there is an abyss between them. Solution architects do not know how the infrastructure works, and systems architects are often not interested in delving into the workings of the software. That’s why an “enterprise architect” – a superman who can connect the two segments of the architecture – appears above them. It is not some separate biological species but rather a new evolutionary form of system and solution architect development. It usually connects the two shores over that very abyss.

The Difference Between Software Architects

The concept of IT architecture covers many aspects of the production of software products, ranging from the definition of the objectives of automation and ending with the disposal of obsolete at some point software; it is customary to divide it into several parts:

Enterprise Information Architecture or EIA is a set of techniques and tools that describe an enterprise information model. It includes:

  • Databases and data warehouses;
  • Information flows (both within the organization and connections with the outside world).

Enterprise Solution Architecture or ESA is an application architecture that includes anything software products and interfaces between them. It divides into two areas:

  • Application systems development area;
  • Application systems portfolio.

Enterprise Technical Architecture or ETA is a set of software and hardware tools, methods, and standards that ensure the effective functioning of applications. Describes a complete representation of the enterprise infrastructure, including:

  • Enterprise infrastructure information;
  • System software (dbms, integration systems);
  • Hardware and software standards;
  • Security tools (software and hardware);
  • Infrastructure management systems.

The architecture of the subject of automation itself adds:

Enterprise Business Architecture, EVA is the purposeful construction of an enterprise’s organizational structure linked to its mission, strategy, and business goals. During the construction of business architecture, the necessary business processes, information, and material flow, organizational and staff structure defines.

To work with each of the above sections requires its group of stakeholders with different qualifications and preferences and goals. Thus, the many stages of project management generate artifacts describing aspects of architecture in various styles and genres. Besides, they have created more often than not with heterogeneous tools, using a variety of notations, techniques, representations.

Each section of architecture corresponds to at least one group of stakeholders who have their mean on representations and methods of describing architecture.

Solution architect roles and responsibilities

The solution architect is the indispensable specialist when creating or auditing complex IT solutions. His tasks are:

  • To lay the foundation for the project;
  • Provide flexibility;
  • Reduce risks.

He does ensure the business with fast development and independence in choosing contractors in the future.

Architects have especially needed in large IT companies, which lead many projects. They choose for each the optimal technological stack, taking into account the long-term development prospects, pros, and cons of each option.

Design and implementation of architectural supervision of IT solution implementation:

  • Analysis of implementation requirements;
  • Designing implementation options based on analysis of alternatives;
  • Planning and justifying the transition to the target architecture;
  • Engineering the integration of the IT solution into the IT landscape;
  • Selection and alignment of the technology stack to put in place the IT solution;
  • Monitoring architecture compliance during the implementation of the IT solution;
  • Documenting solutions in architecture description format;
  • Organizing an optimal development process;
  • Take part in acceptance tests of the IT solution.

The solution architect is very like a senior developer.

Why can’t the senior developer do the job? 

Developers are 100% focused on development, and if they often switch to other things – describing communication schemes, making decisions about technology choices, and so on – it’s inefficient.

The role of solution architect implies a lot of communication, which requires having high soft skills. Senior-developer is not always good at this.

You need some experience and knowledge of systems to make quality decisions. Again, a senior developer may not always know what is outside his application.

Enterprise architect roles and responsibilities

The enterprise architect vs. the solution architect, has a different set of responsibilities. He develops systems interaction design and operation on a global level. Solves strategic problems: 

  • Does core requirements analysis; 
  • Data flow analysis; 
  • Develops architectural standards and requirements; 
  • He has needed especially for large-scale projects.

He is the key figure on the project and handles everything. It depends on him:

  • Metadata structure;
  • System functionality;
  • Fault tolerance of the system;
  • Usability of the system;
  • System performance;
  • Ease of maintenance.

The main tasks of Enterprise architect are:

  • Clarification of requirements for the automation of business processes;
  • Definition of the metadata structure in general and each metadata object in particular;
  • Definition of links between metadata objects;
  • Filling the system with new scenarios.

To achieve fault tolerance, usability, speed, ease of maintenance, the architect performs the following:

  • Explaining the problem statement and scenarios to team members;
  • Design review discussion;
  • Code review;
  • Organization of internal testing. Verification of test protocol;
  • Inclusion of the improvement in the release.

Shouldn’t an Enterprise architect do?

Often on projects, careless managers dump the following tasks on the enterprise architect:

To plan development timelines. Yes, the architect determines what, how, and in what sequence to do, but until the architecture and scenarios there is no description, it is impossible to guess the development timeline. In general, planning is the task of the project director. Enterprise architect acts only as an expert, but not as a planner.

The control of development timelines. Some managers think that it is the task of the architect to call all the developers and consultants every day. It, again, is the role of the project director. The Enterprise architect has no time to do this!

Enterprise architects should not convince team members, even those above him, of the correctness of his decision. All team members have different levels of knowledge and experience. The Enterprise architect is the most competent and the most experienced. He has the whole picture of the project in his head and knows what connects to what and how. Deviation from his plan threatens to ruin the architecture.

Technical architect roles and responsibilities

The technical architect handles the functionality of the system, for the scripting of the subsystems. Usually, he is not a programmer. He knows very well how to solve various tasks using standard functionality.

The competencies of such a specialist include:

  • Knowledge of all the subsystems of the software;
  • Knowledge of the scripting of the objects;
  • Knowledge of the existing software settings;
  • Skills in working with large volumes of data, ways to fix common errors;
  • Skills in collecting and organizing information from the user.

We Compared Software Architect vs Solution Architect

A software Architect is an experienced programmer who designs software, creates its architecture, defining its internal system and appearance. Usually, such a specialist starts his professional career as a system administrator or programmer. gaining experience and knowledge, he masters the entire development process in detail. With a comprehensive understanding of software and business processes, the architect occupies an essential role.

He must be able to:

  • Design software and information systems;
  • Create databases;
  • Form software architecture and algorithms of operation;
  • Create a strategy, implementation methods, select the appropriate tools and instruments for execution;
  • Plan and manage the project;
  • Coordinate the work of the team, provide technical specifications and support;
  • Communicate with the customer, analyze the requirements for components and draw up a technical project with a financial justification;
  • Assess the capabilities and prospects of the project;
  • Supervise the phases of the work, conduct inspections, and testing;
  • Identify errors, correct them, and test the finished project;
  • Maintain technical, reporting, and other documentation.

Solution Architect analyzes the customer’s business goals related to the new product. Focuses on the requirements that will affect the architecture, the software part of the solution, and its components. Then designs the solution and thinks about its design. The architect determines what ingredients the product will consist of, whether it is necessary to develop its elements from scratch. Or whether it is more appropriate to use ready-made parts “out-of-the-box.” 

He also takes:

  • Part in presales; 
  • Consults with customers;
  • Audits the architecture of the existing solution – assesses how effective it is for the tasks at hand. 

Whether it can be optimized, and if so, how.

Do You Confuse the Meanings: Enterprise Architect vs Software Engineer?

Software Engineers create something. They do things . Besides to their regular work, they have the best home projects. To the outside world, they look like people for whom writing code is natural.

Architects have concerned with making sure that the code is robust and has a solid design. They spend hours and sometimes days discussing the right way to solve some problem.

They seem to be complete opposites of each other. Software Engineers in one group, looking at programmers in another group, often think this way. They use different paths to solve the same problems. 

Software Engineers often think that architects are too rigid and conservative. After all, they follow the rules only for the sake of following the rules, without thinking about any practical benefits. And architects, in turn, believe that builders are sloppy and too eager to get results without thinking about the possibilities for long-term maintenance of projects.

This contradiction often leads to confrontation between representatives of different groups. Almost always, the disputants do not understand the perspectives that their differences from each other offer.

While architects delight in thinking , they often find it thorny to put their ideas into practice. They encounter problems they do not expect. Or it happens that implementing what they came up with proves too tricky, and they lose motivation. Software Engineers enjoy working in an environment where they can see the goal. They have inspired by the way a project turns into something tangible.

How Much IT Professionals Earn in the USA?

  • Solution architects earn $102,678 a year;
  • Data architects earn $102,091 per year;
  • Real-world packaged software creators earn $104,754 per year;
  • Software development managers earn $109,350 a year;
  • Application development managers earn $112,045;
  • Enterprise architects earn $112,560 ;
  • A software manager in the IT field earns about $98,883 a year;
  • Systems architects earn $97,873 a year.

Solution Architecture vs System Architecture

Solution architecture is an intermediate component between business processes and technology solutions. It includes finding technical solutions for different tasks, describing software structure and behavior, and defining functions and steps for each type of solution.

The system architecture is a model of the information system described in terms understandable to the business. It reflects the essence of the system. Its purpose and basic principles of the device; what will not change under any circumstances. Otherwise, it will be another system. 

So, the system architecture has based on what does not change or changes very:

  • Features of legislation; 
  • Geographic location; 
  • Key business ideas. 

The system architecture captures those aspects of the future system that are important to the business and affect the technical architecture of the system: 

  • Performance; 
  • Scalability. 

In doing so, the implementer takes into account the capabilities and limitations of the IT material. And he finds the best solution for how to put in place business requirements in the system.

The system architecture is not an illustration but a model. It should reflect the current state of the system. If the system is a terrain, then the system architecture is its map. A map only makes sense if it corresponds to the land it describes. As a map helps you navigate the terrain and navigate in the right direction, a system architecture allows a business to make critical decisions about system development.

One More Comparison to Take Into Account:  Solution Architecture vs System Architecture

System architecture defines a set of technological and technical solutions to provide information support for the company. Enterprise Solution Architecture is an application architecture that includes a set of software products and interfaces between them.

In brief, there are all kinds of IT architects.

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