Solutions architects are a crucial role for BrightGen and our customers. That’s why we decided to write up a blog series, talking to our own solutions architects about their roles and responsibilities. We start with Jon Maynard, who kicked us off with the basics – starting with what is a solutions architect? And how do you become one?
What is a Solutions Architect?
It’s a mixture of delivery and pre-sales. We consider design solutions estimates with the sales team at the start. Customers tell us what they want, and as solutions architects, we ask them why or to what end. We try to get to the bottom of what the customer really wants to achieve. Then we support the sales team to put together solutions. Once a project is up and running, we follow through to ensure success on the design, giving guidance and direction to the delivery team throughout. That part of the job is really interesting.
How do you become a Solutions Architect?
In my experience it’s not always obvious, as there tend to be two clear career tracks, either technical (leading from Developer to Technical Architects) or functional (leading from BA to Project Managers). However, a Solution Architect is someone who sits in between and doesn’t want to specialise in just one out of those two. So I think it’s having that balance of both technical and functional skills that opens up that middle ground where the Solution Architects sit.
What’s the best thing about your role?
My favourite aspect is talking to the customers and understanding what they want to do. Hearing your suggestions or experience of problems resonate with the customer is really rewarding. You get to hear how you’ve helped them bridge a gap, or exactly how a solution can help them. You get to see that moment when it suddenly clicks in people’s minds.
What has been your most challenging project?
I couldn’t pick out one and the next project always brings something new. Typically large scale projects/programmes where Salesforce is just one component of the end-to-end solution definitely have their challenges. And I’ve been working on a few of those recently. These need to be scalable and support different processes and functionality which reach out from the Salesforce platform adding lots of dimensions to the complexity matrix. Sometimes it’s like trying to build the track as you’re running the train – also a fun part of the job.
What’s different about being a Solutions Architect within the Salesforce ecosystem?
I’ve been working with Salesforce for eight years. In my experience, Salesforce has more information to help you online. Other products when I worked on them didn’t have shareable information as readily available. Salesforce has a wealth of knowledge sources and communities and if you google something, you could trawl through resources all day. My recommendation: find the right information you trust and make the best use of it.
If you want to join BrightGen as a Solutions Architect, or if you’re interested in any other technical roles at BrightGen, get in touch today.