What is a solutions architect?

The federal CIO Council expects to release a white paper within the next week to define the position of solutions architect.

Agencies are getting a handle on their project management capabilities and enterprise architecture leadership resources, but the area of solutions architects is largely unknown. The white paper is intended to provide basic information.

The Office of Management and Budget started the concept when it created the Federal Enterprise Architecture last year, but few agencies, including OMB, could define what a solutions architect is.

The white paper proposes four new competency areas: chief enterprise architect, general enterprise architect, chief solutions architect and consulting solutions architect.

It further outlines the basic differences between enterprise and solutions architects:

* An enterprise architect focuses mainly on business issues and technology standardization at an agency or enterprise level.

* A solutions architect looks at the same issues, but on a smaller scale, usually within a single project or system.

This sets up a structure where solutions architects support focused efforts within the larger enterprise architecture, often turning to the enterprise architect to help interpret the overarching architecture.

The CIO Council will be asking for comments from all levels of government and industry, including state and local government, said Ira Hobbs, co-chairman of the Workforce and Human Capital for IT Committee. He was speaking today in Washington, D.C., at the E-Gov 2003 conference, sponsored by FCW Media Group.

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