What will businesses like Uber and AirBnB, or programs like BMW’s Turo and IKEAs furniture-as-a-service, do to corporate business? The answer might have more to do with how sustainable you are with your technology, than anything else.
Businesses have often been the fertile soil in which technology plants its roots. And with the increase of globalization it seems there are new ways American businesses are farming these grounds. When it comes to connectivity—which is what business of any size ultimately is—becoming “Mesh-y” is a new mantra of forward-thinking businesses. And when done effectively, it can yield significant results.
Remind me: what’s the mesh?
The mesh economy is another side to the sharing economy; a growing staple for the millennial generation. But mesh, unlike sharing, is considered by some as the sharing economy taking over the current “big-business” model. This comes from the observation of consumers and smaller businesses leveraging their connectedness to create their own mini-enterprise-level access to things like luxury accommodations, in the case of AirBnB.
This is extremely sustainable when it comes to things like vehicles—which we spend a lot of money on to only use for a fraction of each day, or business furniture that we want to look good, but don’t want to spend a mint on. If the average consumer can release their sense of ownership (which is already happening with things like iTunes—when was the last time you bought a CD?), then new products and services could become opportunities for sharing.
Why being sustainable leads to sharing
Essentially, if there is value in it, it can be rented out. And with technology, this can all happen in seamless and profitable ways—ways that allow companies to gather big data on those users. And, if the shared resource can be used over and over again, the sustainability of that product or service skyrockets.
All of these reasons are what makes sharing a natural evolution of business. Interconnectedness can only do so much for enterprise businesses before it needs to break through the presuppositions of ownership that we all carry.
A good question to ask would be: what am I really gaining by not sharing my company’s resources? In the same way individuals often border on hoarding with their belongings, how is your business hoarding resources that could be put to better use by another company or organization?
One of the biggest reasons this is sustainable is that it spreads the costs of ownership over several “micro-investors”—in the form of renters, or users. This sharing makes otherwise unobtainable assets within reach for smaller businesses and the growing gig-economy that many enterprise companies are starting to lean on, anyway.
Sharing through your ITAM
One excellent way to dip your toe in the waters of sharing is to rent your company’s End-of-Life (EOL) devices to other businesses. This sharing amortizes your investment in those devices over a longer period.
The alternative is most likely that they’ll just stay in deep storage or go to some recycler. But in refurbishing those devices, cleaning them of dust and data, and putting them back into use for someone else, your company can access additional revenue.
Or, you could outright resell them, create an Employee Purchase Program, OR—if you’re wanting to boost your Environmental, Social, and Governance metrics—consider donating those devices. The good that could be done with a donated device can’t be overstated, both for the recipient as well as for your employees and brand image.
Once you grow comfortable realizing the intrinsic value of those assets, you might be inspired to move into a new sharing economy of something else your business specializes in. And so long as you are backed by technology—and using the resources you already have—you can trust that it will have a positive environmental impact.
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