Architecture and Design

Solution architecture (within or without enterprise architecture) is a combination of role, process and documentation that is intended to address specific problems and requirements, usually through the design of specific information systems or applications.

The term solution architecture can be used to mean either or both:

  • Documentation describing the structure and behaviour of a solution to a problem, or

  • A process for describing a solution and the work to deliver it.

The documentation is typically divided into broad views, each known as an architecture domain.

Where the solution architect starts and stops work depends on the funding model for the process of solution identification and delivery. E.g. An enterprise may employ a solution architect on a feasibility study, or to prepare a solution vision or solution outline for an Invitation to Tender. A systems integrator may employ a solution architect at “bid time”, before any implementation project is costed and resourced. Both may employ a solution architect to govern an implementation project, or play a leading role within it.

Typical outcomes of solution architecture.

Solution architects typically produce solution outlines and migration paths that show the evolution of a system from baseline state to target state.

A solution architect is often but not always responsible for design to ensure that the target applications, in a technical architecture, will meet non-functional requirements.

Solution architecture often but not always leads to software architecture work[1] and technical architecture work, and often contains elements of those.

A solution architecture may be described in a document at the level of a solution vision or a more detailed solution outline. It typically specifies a system (itself usually a subsystem in a wider enterprise system) that is intended to solve a specific problem and/or meet a given set of requirements. It may be an IT system to support a single business role or process. For example, an end-to-end eCommerce system that allows customers to place orders for goods and services; or an end-to-end Supply Replenishment system that enables an enterprise to order new stock from its suppliers.

A solution outline typically defines the business context, business data to be created or used, the application components needed, the technology platform components needed, along with whatever is needed to meet non-functional requirements (speed, throughput, availability, reliability recoverability, integrity, security, scaleability, service ability, etc.).

The term solution architecture is widely used outside of an enterprise architecture context. It is also used in some enterprise architecture (EA) frameworks, with particular meanings. In TOGAF it can mean the physical implementation of a logical architecture, or a detailed software architecture. In US government guidelines, it is pitched at the bottom level of a stack below "enterprise" and "segment" architectures,


The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is a framework for enterprise architecture which provides a comprehensive approach for designing, planning, implementing, and governing an enterprise information architecture.TOGAF has been a registered trademark of the Open Group in the United States and other countries since 2011.

TOGAF is a high level and holistic approach to design, which is typically modeled at four levels: Business, Application, Data, and Technology. It tries to give a well-tested overall starting model to information architects, which can then be built upon. It relies heavily on modularization, standardization, and already existing, proven technologies and products.


Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a software design and software architecture design pattern based on discrete pieces of software providing application functionality as services to other applications. This is known as Service-orientation. It is independent of any vendor, product or technology.

A service is a self-contained unit of functionality, such as retrieving an online bank statement. Services can be combined by other software applications to provide the complete functionality of a large software application. SOA makes it easy for computers connected over a network to cooperate. Every computer can run an arbitrary number of services, and each service is built in a way that ensures that the service can exchange information with any other service in the network without human interaction and without the need to make changes to the underlying program itself.

Zachman Framework

The Zachman Framework is an enterprise architecture framework which provides a formal and highly structured way of viewing and defining an enterprise. It consists of a two dimensional classification matrix based on the intersection of six communication questions (What, Where, When, Why, Who and How) with five levels of reification, successively transforming the most abstract ideas (on the Scope level) into more concrete ideas (at the Operations level).

The Zachman Framework is a schema for organizing architectural artifacts (in other words, design documents, specifications, and models) that takes into account both whom the artifact targets (for example, business owner and builder) and what particular issue (for example, data and functionality) is being addressed.The Zachman Framework is not a methodology in that it does not imply any specific method or process for collecting, managing, or using the information that it describes.