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Excuse me, what do you do as a solution architect?

Simon Lockington, Senior Director, Global Solution Architecture, Equinix Asia-Pacific

In a recent conversation with a colleague, she asked me what I do as a solutions architect. Her question triggered me to pen down some thoughts, so here we go!

A day in the life 
The Global Solutions Architect Team's mission is to provide thought leadership resources to customers embarking on the digital transformation journey. What does this mean? It can mean hosting workshops with customers to understand their goals and objectives, discuss possibilities and map out a path from where they are now to where they want to be, or it might mean reviewing industry use cases that illustrate real-world results of organizations that have followed a similar path.

While networking has historically been—and still is—a large part of these conversations, more and more cloud- and compute-centric discussions are being held with line-of-business owners in addition to network and IT managers.

At the end of their time with an architect, our customers should understand what is possible, the steps necessary to reach their goals, and how Equinix and our partners can help them achieve those goals.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood
The book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey describes the importance of listening to understand. When meeting with stakeholders such as IT leaders or CTOs, this skill is crucial. Launching straight into a product-based solutioning discussion without clearly understanding the goals or pain points of your stakeholders will just yield frustration. For instance, is your prospect’s focus on migrating from a CAPEX to an OPEX model? Or perhaps their current priority is securing their infrastructure.

Most recently, architecting for remote work is now front and center, and has required a change in thinking in how data and devices are secured in remote environments while still offering the level of flexibility expected by end users.

When it comes to workloads, it can be easy to default to thinking that everything should be in the cloud. However, there are many reasons why pure cloud might not be the most suitable architecture. This is where understanding workloads is important. What is the workflow of the data being used? Is it “chatty” to the point of incurring expensive data egress fees? If so, are you better off considering a bare metal solution?  

Data sovereignty is a major consideration in some locations, so perhaps employing a hybrid architecture that allows customers to point to a specific storage asset in a data center and say, "Our data is there," is important.  

Likewise, there are still many legacy systems critical for business operations that cannot be migrated to the cloud. 

Even once you have addressed these concerns, very few businesses can—or want to—lock into a single cloud vendor, and therefore they end up utilizing multiple clouds. Do these clouds need to talk to each other? If so, what methods will facilitate that? To solve these issues and more, we're seeing organizations exploring a range of architectural options. 

Leading with impact
The most rewarding part of my role is witnessing individuals and teams grow. For example, coaching them by implementing a change they didn't perceive they were empowered to make builds confidence to tackle the next—potentially larger—change. This creates better job satisfaction (you can make a difference) and improves the experience for both customers and colleagues.

As far as the Global Solution Architecture team, it's exciting to be part of a team of such knowledgeable and enthusiastic technologists helping some of the biggest brands in our economies take advantage of the latest technologies.

We’re always looking out for people who want to make a difference and are looking for meaningful work that matters. If you’re interested in exploring a career with Equinix, check out these open roles:

The original article was published here.

Posted by Simon Lockington, Senior Director, Global Solution Architecture, Equinix Asia-Pacific on Sep 21, 2021

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