Continuing on from our last blog post with Jon Maynard, we asked Saptarshi Ghosh about his experience as a Solutions Architect.
Who would your perfect candidate be for a Solutions Architect?
The key to the solutions architect role is to have balance. Someone too technical is not suitable for the role, as they would go into too much detail.
What’s more important is having a functional understanding, mapping that out into technical blocks within Salesforce. They should have understanding of something achievable – be able to ask, is it achievable through code or not, for example? That is critical to getting estimating right.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned in your role?
You have to be up-to-speed with all the latest technology – that is how you design solutions. A year back a task might have taken five steps, but now it takes one click with Salesforce. If you’re not aware of that, you can’t recommend the best solution.
How do you keep up-to-date with the latest features of Salesforce?
Mostly trailheads and release notes [listen to our CTO Keir Bowden’s latest release notes summary], blogs and LinkedIn groups. Even if you have read the release notes, there may be a use case someone else has spent their time on, so it’s worth looking further. Salesforce releases new products every year so it’s important to stay on top of it.
At BrightGen we work a mix of industries. The same Salesforce product can operate in a different way in a different industry. For example, the sales process in media vs transport is very different. It’s important to understand that, and the user journeys and scenarios that could potentially happen. You can’t know all of them but you also find out from customers too. Use your existing knowledge and fit that to work for a certain scenario. That’s interesting to me – solving the functional problems without going into too much technical detail.
Have you ever had to turn around a customer who didn’t agree with your solution?
Usually customers are interested in their immediate problem, meaning they’re not thinking of the bigger roadmap or longer-term. As a solution architect or implementation partner, our job is to drive them in the right direction. That can be difficult – meaning you have to spend a bit of time up front.
There’s a balance though – spending too much time on project design isn’t best either – especially for smaller customers. We advised one customer on something which was more scalable but they couldn’t do as it involved a third party – so they had to build part of it. You have to make a conscious decision. The solution might not be fully usable but it should be reusable in the future.
What is working with sales teams like as a Solutions Architect?
The pre-sales process is busy and demanding, but that’s part of the fun. You have to manage your time well. When you’re working across multiple verticals, you need to rely on your knowledge of the product and how it can be used. If you’re working on something new, mould what you have for other areas.
Has the pandemic changed your role?
I started working for BrightGen a month before the first pandemic lockdown in March 2020. I have since been very busy and worked across so many sectors.
The biggest change to my role is that I’m no longer able to connect on a daily basis with our customers. We can’t run whiteboard sessions any more, instead getting information from written up notes and documents. Doing workshops in a room, bouncing ideas off colleagues and customers, is easier than writing long emails. However, the advantages to working from home are big on the personal front, as I spend more time with my family now. You can also be more flexible when working from home. Meeting deadlines is easier when you’re not commuting to work – you can choose when to end your day without having to worry about missing a train.
You can contact Saptarshi Ghosh directly on LinkedIn if you have any questions about his blog.
If you’d like to talk about careers at BrightGen, take a look at our open opportunities. We’d love to hear from you!