Salesforce Solutions Architect: What Do They Do Anyway?

A Salesforce Solutions Architect is a certified professional who has demonstrated that they can design and build Salesforce solutions at the highest level. There are three levels of Salesforce architect certification;
  • The Salesforce certified architecture designer: These are professionals with experience in specific specializations in various areas of the Salesforce platform. Many certified architecture designers are Platform App builders, Platform App designers, and data architects. Meanwhile, others specialize in lifecycle development, identity access/management, community cloud consulting, sharing and visibility design, integration architecture, or mobile solutions architecture.
  • The Salesforce Certified Application Architect: The application architect is a specialist in designing, building, and deploying custom applications using the declarative customization capabilities of the platform. This architect also understands how to create, manage, and update data models, application automation, business logic, and application security.
  • The Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA)Finally, this is the highest Salesforce certification level. The CTA has demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and capabilities to design and build high-performance technical solutions across the Salesforce platform. The demand for Salesforce CTA experts is very high. By the end of 2018, there were only 1,600 such professionals.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Salesforce Solutions Architect

First off, it’s essential to know that when someone mentions “Salesforce Solutions Architect,” they refer to the pinnacle credential holder – the certified Technical Architect. The first two certification levels are also important. But in most organizations, if you can find a CTA, you have everything you need. But, disregarding the certification level, every Salesforce solutions architect, generally called SAs, should be able to offer certain services as follows;
  1. They are the technical leads of the Salesforce org

The “org” is your version of Salesforce and the data within the application. Every Salesforce customer has a unique Salesforce org. The SA heads your Salesforce implementation, thus is the lead of your org. This means that if your Salesforce isn’t performing to the desired levels, then the SA is to blame. For instance, if your Salesforce is slow or the data model isn’t meeting your business needs, then the architect is to blame. The same applies if your Salesforce security is off or you feel that your org is over-engineered. You should hold the SA to account. Salesforce Solutions Architect
  1. They provide expert guidance

As the lead of your Salesforce implementation, the architect is tasked with furnishing you with the information and insight necessary to extract maximum value from your Salesforce implementation. As a result, the SA must understand the Salesforce platform inside out. They must master all of the platform’s declarative capabilities and code-centric functionalities and be able to develop stories to challenge preconceived business requirements. More importantly, they must be able to approach each requirement and build each story with the future in mind and re-imagine the customer journey to create the best possible customer experience.
  1. They align Salesforce to your business needs

This is another fundamental responsibility of the Salesforce solutions architect. You have a business and have chosen to use the Salesforce platform to boost your bottom line. The SA has a duty to align the platform’s functionality with your business requirements for maximum impact. Take an example of a healthcare facility that wishes to leverage Salesforce to improve call center performance. The solutions architect has a responsibility to analyze and identify patterns related to call center interactions in the facility and help the facility find ways within the Salesforce platform to streamline processes for improved call interactions.
  1. Offer flexible consistency in the face of a challenge

Salesforce can be a challenging platform, even for professionals. It’s a technical platform with endless customizations and functions that make it incredibly complicated. As such, all Salesforce users run into a few problems from time to time. A good example is when deploying transformation changes to business and technical architecture. This period can be incredibly disruptive, often causing organizations to steer off track and forget about their primary objectives. The solutions expert has a duty to help the organization stay on track throughout such periods. They need to create a pathway for change that comes with minimal risk. This way, the organization can implement change with little if any disruption.
  1. They help keep your Salesforce org up and running

This means two things. First, it means that the architect has a duty to ensure that your Salesforce org is up to date and at the right scale to support your organizational needs. If you need to expand the solution to meet new demands, the architect will design the expansion. Secondly, the solutions expert also understands and helps the organization with complementary technologies that typically work alongside Salesforce. For instance, a great SA will understand common enterprise systems such as Active Directory and Salesforce integrations such as ESB. Just like they stay on top of the Salesforce platform for updates and security patches, they also keep an eye on these complementary technologies to help you get the most from your Salesforce implementation.

Finding the Right Solutions Expert

Considering the above duties and responsibilities, you can see why it’s crucial that you find the right Salesforce solutions expert for your organization. Ideally, you want an SA with three essential qualities. First, the individual must have a strong passion for Salesforce. You don’t want someone who’s merely using Salesforce as a stop-gap. Secondly, make sure that they have a mind for solving problems. How would you know this? Easy, ask for documented descriptions and designs. Finally, you want someone who is indeed certified. Ask for the certificate for proof.