There are Dynamics CRM consultants- they do CRM consulting. There are Dynamics CRM developers – they do development. There are, also, Dynamics CRM Architects. What do they do?
Here is a sample description of one of the actual CRM Architect positions:
- Deep Know-how and proven record of applying CRM in one or more industries; experience in Media and Publishing, Financial Services and Public Sector preferred
- Proven experience in presales activities including Proof of Concepts, Demo, Presentations and positioning in front of C-Level Executives
- Ability to envision, architect, and evangelize CRM / xRM solutions within our prospects and clients
- Proven experience selling consulting engagements which includes estimating, scoping, and writing effective statements of work that clearly set expectations and limit risk
- An ability to articulate architectural differences between solution methods and the challenges and approaches to integrating solutions built on different platforms including a working knowledge of different architectural frameworks that may be used by our customers
- Ability to move between high level architectural review / design and the “roll up the sleeves” level of actually doing all phases of a CRM / xRM delivery project
- Working knowledge of specialized tools, solutions or ISV solutions is a plus
- Experience using Microsoft Sure Step for Project Management is preferable
So what differentiates a person who meets those requirements from a CRM consultant? Strictly speaking, it seems to be the breadth of experience rather than anything else combined with some sales and management skills.
Is it aligned with a more generic Software Architect role? Here is an example of that one:
Responsible for initial design and development of new software or extensive software revisions; products may be for use internally or for resale. Defines product requirements and creates high-level architectural specifications, ensuring feasibility, functionality, and integration with existing systems/platforms. Requires a bachelor’s degree and may be expected to have an advanced degree in area of specialty and at least 7 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Demonstrates expertise in a variety of the field’s concepts, practices, and procedures. Relies on extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of complicated tasks. May provide consultation on complex projects and is considered to be the top level contributor/specialist. May guide a team of developers through the project to completion. Typically reports to a head of a unit/department or top management.
The whole reason I started to ponder on this question is that I was not quite sure what’s that CRM Architect means. I am, now, an Architect.. officially. And, yet, I’m still doing development half of the time. So what does it make me? Where both of those position descriptions are similar is in the fact that an architect needs to have the depth and breadth of experience related to the software development/delivery/design, and, also, be capable of wearing different hats. What CRM Architect has to have on top of that is extensive experience with Dynamics CRM. I guess that’s the essence of it.