What is Solutions Architecture?
Choosing the right solution is difficult. There are a million different questions that go into it, from cost, to functionality, to interconnectivity, to ease of use and so much more. As a solutions architect, I work with you to figure out each part and to put it all together for you.
You need to pay 15 suppliers variable amounts on a monthly basis. Due to how your accounts are structured, you have to export your monthly sales figures and email them, to which you receive an invoice. It is a process that is both time consuming and prone to making mistakes. To solve this, we would design a workflow that exports all the figures, perform the correct calculations, and automatically emails all the suppliers.
You own a gluten-free bakery with six employees.
You obviously need a POS (point of sale) system so your customers can easily pay with either credit cards or cash. (Unless you have made the decision to be a cash-free store.) You may want to be able to create some customer reward program, that would work seamlessly for your customers who need a cupcake fix every few days. You may also want to create a simple way for people to create and pay for specialty or large orders from their home, without needing to speak to someone who is trying to help out a customer, or make sure that the flans don’t burn.
(Maybe you also be able to ship your deliciousness to celiacs out of town?) Additionally, you may want to be able to track your recipes, your almond flour and coconut flour purchases and usages, track the effect of emails to customers and social postings and special offers have on sales. You may want to then plan and schedule different promotions at different times, in order to maximize your profits and sales.
You are not at the bakery every day, so you want this to work seamlessly that even your most novice employee could use, as long as they have very simple steps to follow. You want a basically foolproof system. The good news is that there are a bunch of very good solutions that solve part of this story excellently. Figuring out the right combination of programs and setting them up and getting them to communicate is what I do.
No one understands your business better than you. You want someone who will ask you questions, have enough knowledge to find the best softwares that make sense for you. What’s the worst that can happen? Sometimes you find a software that seems to check all the boxes: It was designed for your industry and seems to have been built with you in mind. You set it up and start using it and three months down the road you realize that you need to do add some functionality. But because it is a small company with a single developer, they don’t feel like it’s important enough to add that functionality. So you have to either choose not to do whatever the thing you needed to do, or you need to use different softwares that don’t communicate and do double work. And miss things.