Today’s workplace consists of an always-on, 24×7 workforce connected globally through the Internet. The new virtual workplace is powered by collaboration tools, mobile devices and cloud-based services.

Implementing every new mobile device or collaboration solution can tax already stretched IT departments. Still, they realize that ultimately these tools help support their organization.

When making changes to the communications infrastructure. I suggest looking at the “Big Picture.” Ask yourself “How will this change affect the core business?” New technology advances in virtualization and consolidation have enabled architects to do more with fewer devices. These advances have had the biggest impact within the data center communication architectures, where the most critical devices are kept.

The key to success is to be ready for change and know how new advances in technologies will affect your business. Some IT departments hang on to their core infrastructure equipment way beyond the life of the product. This model affects their ability to react quickly to business trends and prevents them from staying competitive in their market.

This is where an experienced architect can add the most value. An experienced architect understands that the introduction of new technology will improve the business’ ability to stay ahead of their business needs.

I suggest that customers architect the core infrastructure for two to three years down the line, and re-evaluate it each year. The most important factor prior to changing the core infrastructure is to understand the business requirements.

Once the requirements are understood, an architect can fill in any gaps with technology that will fill the current need and position the business for growth. The key is to stay ahead of the business drivers so your core infrastructure is ready for that next business critical application or service. This allows your business to react quickly to stay competitive in your market.