This document describes that there are many approaches to designing, supporting and evolving a network. Some strategies revolve around cost, while others focus on choosing best-of-breed technologies. Such tactics, while not optimal, suffice in an era where the network is not a strategic asset. But today, the extended enterprise is driving the demand for several technology initiatives-such as unified communications, software as a service (SaaS), virtualization and enterprise mobility-that rely heavily on the network to provide maximum value (see Exhibit 1 on the next page). These technology trends raise the importance of the network to the overall business; it's no longer viewed simply as "plumbing" but more as a strategic platform that enables process change and improves productivity.
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