Enterprise Architect vs Solution Architect

What is the actual difference between Enterprise Architect and Solution Architect? This question is often asked. To help the understanding of the audience I often use the following analogy:

The Enterprise Architect is like a town planner. Solution Architect is designing the buildings in that town.

Thus Solution Architecture starts inside the boundaries defined by enterprise architecture.

With my TOGAF hat on, I would say: Top level Architecture continuum of an organization is defined by Enteprise Architecture. Principles and Artefacts and Reusable Blocks.

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When is an IT Architecture obsolete ?

Ok, perhaps not in a such a drastic way. Here, I am describing an use-case that approves of simple and effective solution that usually renders the resident architectural ceremony obsolete.

Some organizations do suffer from architectural ceremony. Usually arising in a situation when the methodology and process are not tailored for the organization.  Not tailored by kind of business and not tailored by size (complexity) of the business. In which case “priests of the architectural ceremony” are required to translate the not so obvious value of the solutions, to /from the rest of the organization.

Here we have an real life example of a “best” solution, that might be slowed down considerably or even discarded by high priests of the architectural ceremony.

Today, I came over this solution, to solve a requirement for an document/image storage and retrieval. With pretty hefty size requirements at that. By “came over” I mean, after 10+years in the business, I “just” draw it, thought about it (for a day) and then the team (of one) went on to implement it under my supervision. Perhaps one might call this an “architectural stunt” but I beg to differ.

Without false modesty I will admit that it struck me how simple and cost effective this architecture and its implementation is. And still relevant, one year after. And yes, may years after, with a hardware refresh. And this fact is equally if not even more important. This is what customers do value very highly.

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