6 myths about the end of the IT lifecycle

1. I’m surprised to find that recycling is not the best way to retire IT. What is the best alternative?

When retiring IT equipment, executives must choose a model that fits their business requirements while maximizing value and reducing the potential impact on the environment. The best approach is to leverage responsible re-use whenever possible and responsible recycling when required. Re-use helps organizations reap remaining value from unwanted IT while minimizing impact on the environment. With technology refresh cycles speeding up, unwanted equipment is often still functional enough to be refurbished and sold – or at least has parts that can be repurposed.

2. How can it be that recycling is not the greenest method of disposal?

Though recycling is a green disposal option, it should be considered as a last resort for IT equipment. According to a 2011 Markets and Markets survey, e-waste is estimated to more than double by 2016, reaching 93.5 million tons. Processing that amount of technology takes a lot of energy, and it may be very difficult – even impossible – to ensure that such a huge quantity of equipment is all responsibly recycled. By reusing and refurbishing older equipment instead, organizations can greatly reduce e-waste and secure some value back from their legacy equipment.

3. Are asset recovery services just for PCs and mobile devices?

Traditionally, refurbishment has been a popular option for organizations seeking value-priced personal devices. This has led to the misconception that refurbishment only covers mobile phones, laptops and desktops. However, the secondary market for enterprise-grade IT equipment is rapidly expanding. To meet the growing need for refurbished equipment, renewal and remanufacturing practices can be applied to the entire technology spectrum, including servers, networking and storage.

4. If technology is all about the latest and greatest, are you sure someone out there wants my old IT?

As we just discussed, there is a sizeable market for used equipment. According to IDC, the refurbished IT market was valued at $289 billion in 2011. Used or refurbished equipment is especially desirable as IT organizations seek to expand their infrastructure without undertaking costly upgrades, and is an attractive option for SMBs with limited budgets. Used parts may also be useful for companies looking to build or update equipment (such as customized servers) for less money.

5. Just how much time and money is it going to take to renew my old IT equipment?

The truth is that the renewal process can be complicated. It requires safely removing data to avoid breaches, as well as rebuilding, fixing and testing equipment to ensure it works properly. Additionally, organizations must comply with over 160 complex regulations, which vary by geography. However, it is possible to reduce – or even avoid – these headaches by enlisting a trusted partner to manage and simplify the process. A partner will work with the CIO and IT managers to efficiently and cost-effectively plan the renewal process, navigate and understand regulatory requirements -- even refurbish and resell equipment. The key to keeping it simple yet effective is partnering with one single vendor to develop an enterprise-wide asset recovery plan. With this cross-enterprise approach, organizations can track every asset at each stage for a clear line of sight into the equipment’s end-of-life journey.

6. Why would I think about IT retirement now -- I’m years away from needing to upgrade.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the beginning of the IT lifecycle is the best time to think about IT retirement. Creating a roadmap for IT enables organizations to harness the value of technology throughout every stage of the IT lifecycle, starting from the beginning. A trusted advisor can help businesses craft and manage a programmatic plan to optimize the IT lifecycle so it evolves in stride with the company.

The rapid pace of technology innovation is staggering, yet it can provide strategic and competitive advantages if properly managed. Enterprises have an opportunity to retain value from their old equipment and reduce the amount of e-waste they generate through an effective asset recovery plan. With the right partner and strategy defined from the beginning of the IT lifecycle, organizations can move past the complexities with ease.   

An excellent example can be found with the States of Guernsey, which was in need of an asset recovery program to centralize technology and manage old assets. With a trusted global partner, the organization was able to implement asset recovery processes that helped lower costs and establish predictable payments for IT. If this was possible for the States of Guernsey, just imagine what your organization can do with the right asset recovery plan.