This article originally appeared in The Enterprisers Project.
As a liaison between developers and executives, a solution delivery architect must have strong communication skills and be able to listen and translate requests into digestible solutions. Michael Del Castillo, Solution Delivery Architect for OpsRamp, talks about the role and what it takes to get the job.
What is a solution delivery architect?
MDC: As a solution delivery architect, I work with customers to understand their current IT operations management business challenges and develop solutions that will allow them to realize their IT transformation initiatives.
This is a unique role as it combines the skills of a technical developer with the insights of a business executive. Often in recommending a solution that requires organizational change, one has to focus on the technical feasibility of the solution, an organization's ability to adopt a new strategy, and the return on investment of the transformational effort.
My primary responsibility is to be a liaison between the developers, operations team and the execs to help them set a strategy that allows for the business to meet its modernization goals while ensuring that the business runs smoothly.
What skills are needed?
MDC: Solution delivery architects need strong communication skills, confidence, and a vast knowledge of industry background.
The ability to communicate with your customer at their preferred technical level is what differentiates a great architect from a good architect.
Communication is more than speaking. It’s about listening, understanding and then translating what you hear into solutions that are digestible by all parties. Confidence and industry background play a large part in this as well; the more experience you have in a particular field allows you to speak more confidently about a solution that you’re proposing. You don’t need to be an expert but it helps to have a broad background across industry to build analogies to which your customer can relate.
How can you stand out in an interview?
MDC: Be vulnerable and share your weaknesses, then share what you’re doing to overcome those weaknesses. Challenging yourself to do things that make you uncomfortable will allow you to overcome fears and develop a stronger personal brand.
For instance, if you’re not good at public speaking, challenge yourself to speak to a small audience and build your way up to a larger audience over time. Employers want employees who are versatile and willing to take on any challenge – even ones that make them a bit uncomfortable.
Can you provide a sample interview question?
MDC: Sure. “Can you describe a situation where you were asked to provide a unique solution for a customer, and describe your method for determining that solution?”
Answer: I was recently asked to develop a solution for an account that had a very unique business model and had been traditionally known as a difficult account. Despite hearing that they might be difficult, I was happy to push myself and take on the new challenge. To make sure that I fully understood their challenge, I asked to spend a few days with them and participate in any way I could to receive a firsthand perspective of their business. Through my onsite experience, I was able to truly understand the challenge, build a strong relationship with the customer, and gather relevant experience to offer a credible solution that conveyed my knowledge of their business.
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