November 20, 2007

Solution Architecture - How is this different from Enterprise and IT Architecture?

There was a gentleman who recently asked me a question in the context of my current job profile. He asked me
"What is your role as a Solution Architect, and how is the Solution Architect's role any different from an IT Architect or an Enterprise Architect?"
I did explain him the differences and the nuances of each type of architecture. But I also promised to post an article on the same. Hence this.

I forgot to cover this as one of the "most (ab)used words" in my previous article. The words "Enterprise Architect", "IT Architect", etc have been highly misused by people. No offense meant - Companies have used this as a "designation" rather than a "role" in some cases. I hence thought of clarifying these so-called ambiguous terms by outlining the differences between each type of architecture in the context of an Enterprise Architecture. (in conformance with The Open Group standards and definitions)

EA - Enterprise Architecture
EBA - Enterprise Business Architecture
EITA - Enterprise IT (EIT) Architecture
EITIA - EIT Information Architecture
EITAA - EIT Application Architecture
EITTA - EIT Technology Architecture
EITSIA - EIT Software Infrastructure Architecture
EITHIA - EIT Hardware Infrastructure Architecture
SA - Solution Architecture

I hope this has been useful.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I feel architecturally educated now!


Adrian Campbell said...

A Solution Architecture includes the same views and disciplines as Enterprise Architecture, but with a different and much smaller scope different context and different time period.

Enterprise Architecture is concerned with the enterprise as a whole at a group or corporate level. This is a broad and shallow view and covers all programmes, projects, solutions in the organisation. Enterprise Architecture is primarily modelling the target vision (over the next 3 - 5 years) for the organisation.

Solution Architecture is typically only concerned with a single solution, within a single Business Domain, being developed or aquired by a single project. This is a narrow and deep view. A Solution Architecture addresses the current business needs of the organisation.

Unknown said...


Thanks for those lines of explanation! That makes the diagram complete now :) ...(for some reason, it never struck me to explain the diagram)


Alex said...

Good explanation. I also use a combination "enterprise solutions architect" for a solution architect in a enterprise-wide project.

A related question - how you would separate responsibilities between "solution architect" and "project manager"? Who is "more" important?


Unknown said...


To answer the first part of your question - the Solution Architect, in some cases, plays the role of a project manager too. As a careerpath essential, a qualified Solution Architect is expected to know project management fundamentals.
In a typical scenario, a Solution Architect works with the project manager to make sure the project is progressing in time. So, to answer the second part of your question - The Solution Architect and Project Manager are equally important. If the project size/duration is small, a Solution Architect can don the role of the Project Manager too.

I hope this was useful.


Anonymous said...

First off, great post. I think that this is topic is an area in which people in general struggle with. I am glad you put some effort in defining. I have used similar ways to articulate these roles as well. The view you have provided gives us the relationship between these roles. I think this is important to see. I have used spider diagrams as overlays on the other roles to show how the competencies overlap.

Also, I show these how these roles are not hierarchal by viewing them in terms of breadth and depth. This type of illustration shows us the scope and context of the various architecture roles.

For Example:


Jack van Hoof said...

And this is what is going to happen when you mix up tyhese roles:

Dating a project leader


Anonymous said...

I was glad to see that you cited the source of these roles as being from the Open Group. It is definitely true that the word "Architect" is an extremely overloaded term in the IT and software development industries, but it can only be said that the term is being "abused" or "misused" relative to some standard definition. Moreover, it can only be stated to be so in absolute terms relative to an absolute standard, of which there is none. So, one's definition of an Enterprise Architect can be incorrect according to the Open Group standard, but correct according to some other standard (formal or otherwise). That is to say, there is no universally correct answer, but only correct answers relative to their relation to a given standards body. At any rate, thanks for the post, as it spawned a chain of discussions on the topic (I got here from a blog that mentioned a blog that mentioned a blog that mentioned your blog ... literally).

Would you mind please posting the navigation path to these definitions within the open group website? I wasn't able to find where these were defined.

Adrian Campbell said...

The TOGAF definitions for Architect roles can be seen at

See also my definitions at

-Adrian Campbell

Unknown said...


I'm glad you bumped into my blog after a 'real' hurdle of blogs. Hope it helps.


Thanks for posting the link!


Bill said...

It was validating stumbling across your diagram after having just constructed a similar one myself in an attempt to untangle a client. After a few years, are there any updates you would make to this diagram? Or any elaborations? Also, did you specifically mean to exclude SA from all EA elements outside of EBA and EITA?