With remote and hybrid work environments increasingly gaining popularity, we cannot overstate the importance of Microsoft solutions in today’s business landscape. It’s almost impossible to imagine how businesses would survive without these essential communication, scalability, integration, data analysis, and collaboration tools. Because of this, it’s crucial today, more than ever, for CTOs to ensure they have the best hands and brains behind their Microsoft solutions.
In this guide, we’ll take you through what Microsoft solutions architects do, explain why you need them, and offer tips on how to scout the best of them. More importantly, we’ll discuss why several US and Canadians are gradually outsourcing these specialists from Latin America — and why you should join the trend.
Let’s get right into it!
Microsoft Solutions Architects are MS specialists who help organizations design and implement Microsoft products to resolve their business problems. They typically have Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies (AZ-303) and Microsoft Azure Architect Design (AZ-304) certifications alongside other Microsoft accreditations. While their roles vary from one organization to another, they usually handle the following responsibilities:
Oftentimes, companies have in-house Microsoft Solutions expertise who maintain and improve their current solution and infrastructure. However, because the IT world is dynamic, businesses are always integrating new technologies to address emerging problems, keep up with market trends, or innovate on behalf of their customers.
That’s where Microsoft Solutions Architects come in — before companies hire additional headcount to implement new solutions, they often borrow expertise from Microsoft. These specialists typically consult with customers, help executives understand the solution’s potential value to their business, and train existing teams on building, deploying, and maintaining new technologies. Depending on the internal IT department’s understanding of the technology, the business may ask the architects to hand over after the training or decide to retain them to oversee the solution’s implementation from beginning to end.
One of the most crucial factors when hiring IT talent is creating a precise job post and description. While a simple “We are looking for a Microsoft Solutions Architect from LATAM” may make do for a start, the description is honestly very vague. And reasonably so — MS Solutions Architect is a vast professional with many specialties. Therefore, to get the most suitable talent for your unique Microsoft problems, you must first identify the type of solutions expert you need.
Generally, there are four major categories under the umbrella of MS Solutions Architects:
While some Microsoft Solutions Architects have subject-matter expertise in all the above four areas, others specialize in individual fields. Therefore, outlining the type of architect your business is looking for can help you land the most suitable candidate.
Now that you understand who Microsoft Solutions Architects are, below are a few of their common roles you can include in your job description:
Your business already has a running operating system. The last thing you want is to integrate a solution that will cripple all your processes, causing unwarranted downtime. Therefore, before deploying MS technology, you can hire a solutions architect to ensure it’s compatible with your current systems and advise on how best to implement it with minimal interruptions to your day-to-day operations. To perform this role, the architect will review your business model to understand your existing application architectures, protocols, and operating systems.
Another significant role of a solutions architect is selecting the best technologies for developing and implementing an MS solution. Which programming languages, Microsoft tools, services, and apps will the project require? An MS solution’s technology stack will significantly affect its architecture strategy. Therefore, this task requires a lot of analysis and comparison and an in-depth understanding of the Microsoft Office Suite.
All software projects have constraints. These could be resources, cost, time, scope, quality, or technology limitations. Throughout the project’s implementation, the solutions architect must monitor and compare these constraints and make managerial and technological decisions to ensure they don’t affect progress.
When deploying MS solutions, architects must ensure their projects meet quality attributes. These are non-functional requirements describing your system’s characteristics. They vary depending on a solution’s complexity. Examples include product scalability, usability, security, performance, and maintainability.
Not all Microsoft-related software projects require solutions architects. In most cases, businesses only call them when they have a problem that requires a technical solution. That’s probably one of the reasons several enterprises do not maintain these specialists in-house.
So, how do you know when to make that important call? Below are a few telltale signs:
An MS solutions architect is more than a regular IT guy. Their decisions and actions have more far-reaching implications on your business processes and can directly affect your baseline. Because of this, there’s no room for second-guessing when hiring these experts. It’s either you get the best or none at all.
Below are a few factors to help you assess if prospective solutions architects have the requisite qualifications:
While the job’s title suggests that it primarily involves writing codes and handling bots, that’s not the case. A more crucial aspect of a Microsoft Solutions Architect’s job involves translating technologies into practical solutions for clients’ business problems. In fact, most executives care less about the intricacies of what happens in the backend than they do about the outcome.
Therefore, before hiring a solutions architect, one of the most crucial factors you should consider is their business acumen. The ideal candidate should not only have the ability to understand and manage different business situations but also demonstrate considerable experience in your industry. Find out if they’ve worked with organizations like yours and how they’d handle common challenges within your industry.
Competent MS solutions architects understand Microsoft products inside and out. Even those specializing in pre-sales architecture need a strong grasp of the solutions they sell to help customers understand their potential business values. Technical prowess also entails the ability to illustrate complex, multi-faceted software projects using simple terms that non-technical staff and clients can easily understand.
Before contracting an MS Solutions Architect, assess their portfolio to identify if they’ve worked on projects like yours. Only then, can you be sure that they have the necessary expertise.
That’s exactly what we did when a Canadian Microsoft Gold Partner recently asked us to help them outsource Azure Application and Infrastructure Architects. The final 11 candidates we settled on did not only have the necessary academic credentials but also demonstrated considerable experience in working with customers like ours.
You’re probably thinking, “That’s pretty obvious. I wouldn’t work with a solutions architect I don’t trust.” It would surprise you if you researched the number of people who have ignored this basic consideration and paid the price heavily.
Here’s the thing — when you hire an MS Solutions Architect, you trust them with your network. Sometimes, this involves giving them access to highly sensitive files and credentials that even some employees don’t have access to. Because of this, you need to conduct a proper background check before committing to any candidate. If possible, ask for references to a few of their current or past clients and do the digging yourself.
One of the issues businesses grapple with when outsourcing offshore IT experts from Asia and Africa is the time difference. Unlike other technologies, you cannot afford such inconveniences when it comes to MS solutions.
Almost all your business operations rely on MS products in one way or another— from document creation to communication, data collection and organization, presentation, collaboration, animation, and so on. Any malfunction of these tools can affect your entire production line. With the average cost of downtime at $9,000 per minute, you might not have the luxury of waiting for your offshore solutions architect to wake up.
That’s why several US and Canadian organizations are increasingly embracing the concept of nearshoring from LATAM and North America. These regions have almost similar time zones, allowing you to contact your architect at your convenience.
The best way to distinguish quarks from certified MS Solutions Architects is by verifying their certifications. Because most Microsoft certifications have refresher courses, they can also help you assess if candidates are current with emerging trends. Below are a few examples:
LATAM is increasingly becoming popular for its contribution to the tech industry. If you want to join the bandwagon of companies outsourcing their MS Solutions Architects from this region, here are a few reasons you should have done so yesterday:
We’ve been helping organizations in the US and Canada find perfect hires for several years. Our track record precedes us. A case in point was the ongoing initiative by a prominent Microsoft Gold Partner based in Canada. They embarked on a mission to source a team of Azure Application and Infrastructure Architects and Project Managers with specific criteria in mind.
The desired candidates needed to have client-facing level of English communication skills, an ability to engage with C-level executives, and a background marked by proven high-profile company engagements. As of this moment, DevEngine successfully hired and now manages a team of 11 senior Microsoft resources for the client.
While Latin America boasts a vast pool of experienced Microsoft Solutions Architects, finding the ideal candidate for your unique business needs might still be challenging. Before finding the right talent, you might need to conduct tens of online and physical interviews and practical trials. You may also need to perform countless background checks to verify prospective candidates’ educational backgrounds and experiences. As you can imagine, this will consume a significant chunk of the time you’d rather spend on other core business processes.
Avoid this hassle! Let DevEngine connect you to MS solutions architects with verified skill sets, proven track records, and experience working with organizations like yours. That’s what we do best! Chat With Us or schedule a Discovery Call and leave the rest to us.