It’s a common term in business, End-of-Life (EOL), but there is more than one way to look at the technology you use—a way that doesn’t call it quits too soon. There’s an end of business life for a device… and then there’s an end of that product’s life. But ignoring the difference can mean throwing away money and dirtying up the planet for no good reason.
Drawing the line with waste
This problem of mistreating IT assets once they’ve passed a certain point goes beyond just businesses. What did you do with the last phone you owned? If you’re like the majority of Americans, you likely threw it in a drawer, gave it to your toddler as a distraction, or tossed it in the garbage. But your gadgets have more to give!
This is more than just a tagline, it’s actually a way of thinking. When we realize that nearly every device we consider unusable still has some life left in it; either for other people to use or for the components of it to be used. And, often times, it’s our language that dictates how we view this difference.
It’s important to note that, typically, EOL for business is only in regards to the software or hardware limitations, not its quality or actual value. This nuance can be overlooked by non-sustainably-oriented ITAM programs since the term “end of life” has an ominous bias to it. In other words, the limitations that EOL dictates is directly related to the business task at hand—not necessarily limitations beyond that specific user.
Exploring this delineation opens up a host of opportunity for the devices sitting in those drawers and on supply closet shelves—not the least of which to gain additional revenue through resale. In fact, most of the devices that businesses cycle through fetch a fair price on the market …even two to three years down the line.
And those devices that can’t be resold might still be worth something to non-profit organizations, schools, and individuals from LMI (low to middle income) communities. Often, the computing power left in those devices is exactly what these organizations and communities are looking for.
The three things EOL is still good for
Thinking sustainably means looking for value in everything far beyond its immediate use. With technology, that means breaking down EOL devices into three categories: 1. those still usable by employees, 2. those good for general public, 3. devices good for donating.
All three of these require that the devices be operational and in decent shape—with all their power cords and adapters. But as the devices go down in either marketability (earlier generations, for instance), the resale value diminishes. Notice, however, this only refers to the financial gain to be had and still not anything to do with its overall usefulness.
Language changes reality
Truly, when being sustainable with devices, there is still so much that EOL devices have left to offer that the term end-of-life is actually harming how we treat these devices. Why not call it something else, like reusable yield? Plus, knowing that there is still life left after EOL for your business IT assets means you can justify the expense for a better upgrade because you’ll be reselling that in a few years anyway. Would you categorize top-notch devices “end-of-life” after so short a time?
This forward thinking of sourcing for reuse is what makes being sustainable with IT assets such a powerful endeavor. Sourcing or procuring high-quality devices with the intent to resell them to either employees or the greater public in the future is a philosophical decision. And when you’ve made that decision, hopefully your language will shift to match this new outlook.
Hero Image ©: Rocket Lawyer
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