Solutions architecture involves several specialties that are combined to successfully deliver a technology-based solution. From network administration, to SQL administration, to core developers, to overall technical leadership… all are essential components of solutions architecture. Whether it is an upgrade from in versions for say your in-house Microsoft Exchange Server email platform to a migration of a very old classic ASP-based intranet to Microsoft SharePoint Server, all projects need a good solutions architecture and that starts with people. People that have the skillset to drive the project in these key areas are an invaluable part of the team.

key resources

Network Administrator (NET Admin)
The network administrator is often provided by the client and already has insight and experience with the client’s current network. The NET Admin would be in charge of ensuring the hardware’s performance and connectivity that will be the lifeline of your technology solution, assuring secure and safe interaction with end-users. When it comes to managing certain network software, such as your LDAP (or in Microsoft’s world Active Directory) or Internet Security software or even Windows Server, it is your NET Admin that would be the point of contact for that type of software. The NET Admins are usually engaged throughout the duration of the project, starting with the Discovery phase.

SQL Administrator (SQL Admin)
The SQL administrator is responsible for the installation (if needed), configuration, connectivity, maintenance, and backup/recovery of any and all databases that may be needed in other for your technology solution to meet its systems defined Service Level Agreements as specified in the SLA documentation. They are responsible for various parts of the documentation deliverables, such as the DBD, part of the SLA, and the DR Plan. The SQL Admins are also usually engaged throughout the duration of the project, starting with the Definition phase.

.NET Developer
The core development of any and all custom code is primarily done at the hands of a skilled, trained .NET Developer which depending your project might need to have a special focus such as SharePoint or Dynamics or SQL. SharePoint, Dynamics, or SQL Developers are computer programmers that have specialized in their respective technologies for 5+ years. You will want a developer involved in your project if you require customized elements in your deployment that go beyond the capabilities of out-of-the-box packaged software. If that is the case, developers are engaged at the Design phase of the project and stay until the end of User Acceptance Testing Signoffs. They are responsible for delivering all essential information on the solutions design to the SA so they can add that to the SD document.

Solutions Architect or Technical Lead (SA)
The Solutions Architect, sometimes called the Technical Lead, is the mastermind of the entire project. They are the thinkers, the planners, the foreseers, sometimes the psychics of your solution delivery. No project should ever be without one. They are as essential as air is to breathing. They must be technically savvy but also posses the ability to engage end-users in layman’s terms. The SA is responsible for the delivery of almost all technical documentation, unless otherwise specified, so they also must have sharp document writing ability. All other team members will seek the assistance, input, and more importantly approval of the SA. The SA’s are engaged into a project from as early as the “pre-sales” phase and are an essential part of the SOW document that the project managers put together.

key deliverables

  • [PRE-SALES] Statement of Work (SOW)
  • [DISCOVERY] Project Plan
  • [DISCOVERY] Project Internal Communications Plan
  • [DISCOVERY] Time Projections
  • [DISCOVERY] External Team Engagement
  • [DEFINITION] Service Level Agreements (SLA)
  • [DEFINITION] Software Requirements Specifications (SRS)
  • [DEFINITION] Hardware Requirements Specifications (HRS)
  • [DESIGN] Solutions Design Document (SD)
  • [DESIGN] Database Structure Design (DBD)
  • [DESIGN] Disaster Recovery Plan (DR Plan)
  • [DESIGN] IA/VD Design Approval and Signoff
  • [DESIGN] Solutions Design Approval and Signoff
  • [DEVELOPMENT] Development Technical Management
  • [DEVELOPMENT] Software Development Life Cycle Based on UCD Methodologies
  • [DEVELOPMENT] Development Technical Review
  • [DEVELOPMENT] Disaster Recovery Testing Review
  • [DEVELOPMENT] User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
  • [DEPLOYMENT] Development Technical Signoff
  • [DEPLOYMENT] Disaster Recovery Testing Signoff
  • [DEPLOYMENT] User Acceptance Testing Signoff (UAT)
  • [DELIVERY] Peer to Peer Knowledge Transfer
  • [DELIVERY] Project Final Signoff