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The Solutions Architect: Your SaaS Application’s Secret Weapon

You’ve probably heard by now that DevOps is your SaaS application’s silver bullet: the answer to pesky development and launch problems, and an octane boost making continuous integration much more attainable.

But, it’s impossible to seize these benefits if you don’t have the right team in place. And, that team starts with the Solutions Architect.

Skilled Solutions Architects bridge strategy and technical execution, designing systems that achieve product goals practically and effectively.

In this article, you’ll learn about the Solutions Architect’s roles and responsibilities, and find out the best way to take advantage of his skill set.

The Architect’s Accountabilities

A skilled Solutions Architect wears several important hats in your organization.

As your cloud architect, your Solutions Architect is tasked with designing the right cloud environment for your business. It’s imperative for him to use his considerable knowledge to create a highly scalable, cost-conscious architecture that leverages industry-leading tools and services.

As your system administrator, your Solutions Architect is relied on to integrate cloud-supported operating systems and applications. For instance, if you truly want to leverage your AWS cloud “infrastructure as code” , you will likely want an Architect with experience in Linux, DB administration, Java, PHP and Ruby On Rails – for starters.

And as your primary communicator, the Solutions Architect is responsible for pairing product strategy with technical execution. Although his tech chops “get the job done,” he must be equally proficient at unpacking his solutions for organization leaders and stakeholders.

Hallmarks Of A Great Solutions Architect

Once you have a strong grasp of the Solution Architect’s core accountabilities, start looking for the truly talented ones – the “unicorns” – and find out how they might benefit your enterprise.

An excellent Solutions Architect:

  • Speeds Up Deployment. A good Solutions Architect helps you deliver code, big or small, frequently and consistently. He looks at your entire deployment process – from development to production – and tries to poke holes, identifying weak links and making plans to plug them.
  • Ensures Resiliency. As the Solutions Architect strives for consistent release and true continuous integration, he also builds a high-availability, fully redundant environment that’s capable of withstanding major outages or contingencies.
  • Taps Metrics. Success isn’t measured in “it works” or “it doesn’t work.” A skilled Solutions Architect cultivates and communicates key performance metrics, showing you where your application’s performance, scalability or resiliency falls short – by using the numbers.
  • Improves Operations. At a higher level, an experienced Solutions Architect should bring multiple best practices and operational disciplines to the table. After all, the world’s best strategy and tools fall short when culture and execution fail to align.

Putting The “A” In Team

Excellent Solutions Architects are team leaders, too. Great results aren’t produced in a vacuum. To fully automate a complex application, Solutions Architects must team up with savvy DevOps engineers who are capable of bringing their design – and your vision – to life.

If you plan on tapping the power of DevOps in your organization, consider bringing both a Solutions Architect and at least one DevOps engineer into the mix. The Architect achieves better results when he focuses on strategy and urgent issues, leaving day-to-day execution to a capable engineer (or Gary the Intern if you feel like rolling the dice).

Finding The Right Fit

Technical mastermind. Systems guru. Strategist and team leader. If you’re looking to take your SaaS application to the next level, you need a Solutions Architect in your corner, and soon.

But, depending on your size and resources, hiring Solutions Architects and DevOps engineers probably carries a high price tag and moderate risk. Alternatively, working with an experienced provider of Managed DevOps services might be the right choice for your business.

Learn even more ways to deliver your application rapidly and reliably.

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