Archive for March, 2014

Attending the Microsoft Dynamics AX Solution Architect course in Frankfurt from March 18th – 20th 2014 was inspired by my employer believing in my current role as a “Lead Solution Architect” I would benefit from understanding how Microsoft see the role and how I could enhance my current skill set.

The first agenda arrived in my in-box with three full training days starting at 08.30 and ending at 21.00 (apart from the last day that had a comparative 17.30 scheduled finish). The end agenda had 19.30 finish times so a little more relaxed! Clearly it was going to be a tough three days and with the agenda covering technical as well as functional areas the anticipated profile of a solution architect seemed to be the all-seeing all-knowing AX technical/functional hybrid!

Microsoft position the Solution Architect role with a quote (apologies the source is not referenced on the quote):

“The role of a solution architect is to solve a problem by defining a system that can be implemented using technology. Good architects define systems by applying abstract knowledge and proven methods to a set of technologies with the goal of creating an extendible and maintainable solution” 

Microsoft see the role spanning pre-sales through to deployment and go-live. Whilst I am involved in the delivery of implementation projects my exposure to the pre-sales environment is limited as we have a pre-sales team that go to multiple opportunities helping close the deal before handing over as much information as possible to the delivery team.

The role as viewed by Microsoft is represented pictorially in the following manner:

The role of the Solution Architect throughout the project lifecycle

The role of the Solution Architect throughout the project lifecycle

The key perspectives a Solution Architect needs to consider from a Microsoft perspective before designing a solution are:

  • Business Perspective
    • High level goals and objective
    • The business processes carried out
    • Major organizational structure
  • Information Perspective
    • Standard data models
    • Data management policies
    • Descriptions of the patterns of information production and consumption
  • Application Perspective
    • Services that support the business processes
    • Cross Organization functionality
    • Interaction and Interdependencies
  • Technology Perspective
    • Desktop and Server hardware
    • Operating systems
    • Network connectivity components
    • Technology options

The course was a focused three day instructor led interactive course with learning sessions interlaced between the main focus of a case study. The case study saw the group divided into teams to solution design for the “Contoso Corporation”, a company with 40,000 employees turning over $20 billion covering 40 countries, with 5 global manufacturing facilities, 100+ global warehouses controlled by third parties, 6000 retail stores with 4500 of these franchise held, 3 R&D Centres, 3 Regional Head Quarters, shared service and knowledge centre in Budapest with 8000 consultants and technicians working worldwide at home or on the customer site, 15 current different ERP solutions, 3 different commerce platforms, 6 POS solutions and 1.2 million SKU’s.

Basically your average project!

Day 1 of the workshop will be my next blog………