Becoming a Solution Architect

Being a SAP BW Solution Architect involves:

  • Interest in the topic. Passion is required for the long term;
  • Truly appreciating the distinction between How-To and Why-To;
  • Accept you are always the student and learning;
  • A fundamental understanding of the pieces;
  • Knowing what you do not know;
  • A framework to discover what you do not know;
  • Experience and Practice; which creates more Experience;
  • Enjoy the journey of becoming an Expert.

A Solution Architect only truly succeeds when they’re passionate about the topic. As nice as the title and the prestige sounds of being a Solution Architect is, do you actually care about it; the topic, the content? Do you find yourself thinking about it at odd hours and times? Is it the content or is it the challenge that the content presents? Either way, is it something that has at least got your interest? Whilst interest is not passion, it’s definitely a great hint that this is an area you could spend more time in.

User

This raises the question “At what point in time do you hang your hat and call yourself a Solution Architect?”. Is it something that you should call yourself or something that is bestowed upon you over time, just naturally by being, by doing? In a way, anybody that provides a solution could be considered a Solution Architect, but I do not believe it is that simple. The definition of being a Solution Architect should include the distinction and understanding of ‘How-To’ and ‘Why-To’. Being a Solution Architect should include a fundamental understanding of the pieces involved and also the ability to identify what you do not know. This includes a good, solid understanding of why those pieces are what they are and do what they do.

“being a Solution Architect must involve your
acceptance that you are always a student”

Know that you are, and always will be, learning. Being a Solution Architect must involve your acceptance that you don’t always know the answers, but you do have a solid framework that you work with to create solutions, to get results. I do not believe you are a Solution Architect until these things are aligned within you; as a way of life, of being, of doing.

What is the first step towards becoming a Solution Architect? Definitely the first step is to enjoy the journey of becoming an expert. The process of digging deep includes the understanding of ‘How-To’, ‘Why-To’, and the four aspects of the pieces. As time goes by you will get more comfortable with that knowledge. You will then look to expand further out to other pieces, and if you guide that journey over to neighbouring pieces (not random pieces) then you will truly get a better more fundamental understanding. This is literally the process of digging deep and becoming the expert in that topic. Then in time as you solidify your confidence, understanding and the framework to approach what you do not know; that is where you will then realise one day “Hmm, I’m now a Solution Architect”. The important thing is that this realisation is like an after-thought. You were already in the process of ‘Being a Solution Architect’ without the actual goal of achieving some sort of career pinnacle. Just through the sheer process of being and doing, you became.

As you go through the process of learning and producing solutions for everyday problems:

  • Can I improve the framework?
  • Have I identified the next gap to practice?
  • In my understanding, have I separated the how from the why?
  • Am I building my Library? This includes ideas, techniques and unanswered questions.