Even if your IT Asset Management (ITAM) program has been with your company since you’ve started, there is never a better time than now to view it through the lens of sustainability. In fact, if you haven’t done this already, you are likely throwing away money that could be used to purchase future devices, fund an ancillary campaign, or just help justify being more sustainable with your IT usage.
What I am recommending here is to make an assessment of your business IT assets as viewed through a lens of sustainability. Audacious, yes. But I can guarantee it will revolutionize how your business acquires and utilizes electronic devices going forward.
Knowing is half the battle
Remember: the term “asset” is a financial descriptor. This is important because we too often view our End-of-Life (EOL) devices as worthless simply because they don’t hold the same value they once did for us. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! Your gadgets have more to give.
Being sustainable is really just about discovering the deeper value of things; unlocking the power of reuse in an age of make-use-toss. And this lens of reuse means that one company’s e-waste could be another person’s answer.
Start with every. single. device.
No matter how insignificant the device may seem to you (that old flip-phone, for instance), you’ll want to assess a complete inventory. That includes dot-matrix printers, wheel-ball mouses, and CRT screens just as much as the latest tech you own.
A thorough inventory—one that takes into account even the peripherals and cables associated with each device—can be an intensive process. But if you really want to make the most of your assets, you have to have a firm grasp on the value each element holds. For instance, tagging and tracking the cables that go with those laptops allows you to resell that device when your company is finished using it, instead of having to recycle it.
Now, you may not think something has value when it actually does. Which is why you need to capture everything without prejudice. Did you know, for instance, that the flip-phone is making a comeback and that there are valuable raw materials in a CRT monitor? By capturing everything, you ensure nothing goes to waste.
Evaluate the “Green” factor
Once you have an accurate assessment of each item, group them by intricacy: solitary wires and cables; peripherals such as monitors, mouses, and keyboards; desktop units; and mobile items like: laptops, tablets, and phones. If you have larger items like commercial copier/printers, server bays, or large-screen monitors, make those a group as well.
Once you have these designations, it’s easy to assess the green factor. Wires and cables can be recycled for their copper, while monitors might need special handling to retrieve their values—making reuse their best option. You can use EPEAT to evaluate brand and model values for each larger device.
This stage is an ideal task to turn over to an ITAD partner like Sage. Since we have the processes in place to evaluate each item with the correct tools, the time we can save is considerable. But, whatever you do, this is the stage to see if you can remarket any of your devices. Are they complete (with the correct power adapters) and working? If so, then your next step is where the potential gets unleashed.
Welcome to Corporate IT after life
While EOL devices may not “cut it” for your company needs, there is still plenty of life left in those circuits. Look at the various opportunities to monetize or validate your devices. Things like an Employee Purchase Program or remarketing to the greater public can open doors to an additional revenue stream depending on the number of retired devices you own. Even just donating EOL devices can “pay” into your ESG account, giving them value in another currency.
Adding this perspective to how you handle your IT assets positions you to bring something new to your ITAM program: revenue creation. Now, instead of sitting on EOL equipment, or paying to have it recycled, you can use IT assets to pay for new equipment or to add some cash back in the bank.
Make your ITAM circular
Here’s where the assessment starts to pay you back; when you know the long-game plan of each device you own, procurement takes on a new angle. Ask yourself which brands have demonstrated the longest useful life. Or, which brands and which models carry the most value ongoing?
Investing in durable, longer-lived
electronics always pays for itself.
With these questions, you’re effectively looking at procuring IT assets to ultimately resell or remarket, instead of just for what they’ll do in the next two years for your business. This is powerful because it helps eliminate the hype that can confuse many of the procurement decisions.
Remember that not every model computer is designed for a long life. In fact, with recent iterations of Apple computers, the repair potential is non-existent—they’re actually designed to be impossible to upgrade or repair without going to the manufacturer. This has significant implications on whether or not the device can be resold after its retirement. Taking that into account would hopefully influence your procurement decisions.
Secure each device being retired
To wrap up your assessment, now that you know what potential each item has, it’s time to look at security. Since data is a driver for business, the ones and zeros on your devices can be a target for nefarious actors. It is important to not leave any door open, which might have some surprising turns. We recommend using an ITAD partner for this step since there are many confusing or unknown elements, such as factory-reset insufficiencies, lock-screen disabling, new erasure standards, and even remembering the flash memory on fax machines. With so many avenues, it will be more than worth it to outsource this to a trusted partner like Sage.
IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) doesn’t have to be a black hole for your IT assets. With the right perspective, those devices could add up to some serious value over time. And that’s the best part of doing this assessment; once done, any new IT equipment can be easily added to the tracking document and upcoming upgrades can be postponed or funded by the strategic reuse of your EOL devices.