Shouldn't IT Asset Disposition Really Be Hardware End-of-Life Management?

There is a distinction between the terms "IT asset disposition" and "hardware end-of-life management."

Understanding this important distinction can help you reap numerous awards.

  • Jan 21, 2021
  • hardware end-of-life management, IT asset disposition, ITAD


Shouldn’t IT Asset Disposition Really Be Hardware End-of-Life Management?

data center - itadIn the IT industry, terminology sometimes get thrown around that we take for granted. But it makes sense now and then to take a step back and look at what we’re truly referring to.

We recently realized that “IT asset disposition” is probably one term that could use some closer inspection. CXtec has been in the business of remanufacturing IT equipment for more than four decades.

In that time, we’ve been involved in countless situations where organizations are looking to decommission current hardware and install new. And we’ve learned it makes sense to look at decommissioning as a critical, strategic step in the technology life cycle.

How do we define IT asset disposition (ITAD)?

The first step in rethinking and taking a closer look at any given terminology is to understand how the industry currently defines the term.

Here's the definition from a leader in the ITAD industry, Atlantix Global Systems:

"IT Asset Disposition is the practice of disposing of IT hardware and equipment in a safe and environmentally responsible manner."

This definition accurately fits the bill for ITAD, and you can find several more organizations defining it in  a similar way. But as we thought about it here, we realized that when it comes to truly maximizing the potential you have at this step in the technology life cycle process, maybe this definition falls a bit short.

Is there more potential to the IT asset disposition step?

When you really think about it, defining the important step of decommissioning your used IT technology as being solely about “disposing” of it is probably short-sighted. But that seems to be what the IT industry, and an unfortunate number of organizations in every business and public sector, have reduced it to.

Seeing this step in the broader technology life cycle as solely disposing of equipment means ignoring the fact that there is rich potential to do so much more when you’re ready to move to a new technology.

What if we all considered this step as a strategic opportunity to maximize ROI on our technology investment? What if we built a repeatable, executable strategy to appropriately handle all our IT assets once we’re ready to decommission them in favor of new equipment?

The term for what IT asset disposition really should be

If we considered the final step in the technology life cycle with this potential in mind, we should call it hardware end-of-life management. Viewing it as management of your IT assets lends much more credence to the fact that this step shouldn’t necessarily be relegated to solely disposing of equipment.

At CXtec, we would define hardware end-of-life management as “a set of high-end, sophisticated services for organizations seeking to decommission their retired IT assets and maximize their ROI on them.”

This is an important distinction to note. The difference between ITAD and Hardware End-of-Life Management is that with Hardware End-of-Life Management you seek to create a strategy to handle the overall step once your IT hardware has reached the end of its useful life to you. ITAD just means getting rid of, or disposing, it.

But doesn’t most IT technology have much more potential than just that? Just because it’s reached the end of its useful life to you doesn’t mean it can’t be useful to someone else.

And it’s important to not forget the second part in the Hardware End-of-Life Management definition. What about maximizing that hardware’s full value?

When IT asset disposition becomes hardware end-of-life management

So what would happen if you stopped seeing this step as just disposing of equipment and started factoring in a strategic process to handle it?

  • You would become much more discerning about how you handled the technology you decommission.
  • You would build strategies on how to exit different sets of technologies based on the types of technologies they are, their age, and how much value they still hold in the market.
  • You would partner with an organization that provides logistical processing of your materials to ensure the correct and most lucrative steps are taken for each of your retiring technologies.
  • You would get secure data cleansing/destruction services to ensure no proprietary data remained on your technology.
  • You would receive audited reporting of every step in the process.
  • And you would ensure that you fully maximized the return on every one of your technology hardware investments.

Why Hardware End-of-Life Management should be the new ITAD

It’s time to start seeing the final step in the life cycle of a technology investment as an opportunity rather than just a disposal. There’s too much to gain, and too much at risk, not to.

A smart hardware end-of-life management strategy allows you to get:

  • The most detailed and accurate valuations of your assets, providing optimal total cost of ownership analytics.
  • Full technical de-installation, packing/crating services, and transportation logistics making decommissioning your technology simple and efficient for you.
  • Compliant, scalable, and documented data sanitization and destruction services, across all OEMs and platforms, to protect your organization’s proprietary data.
  • The maximum return on your overall technology hardware investment.
  • Environmentally responsible tactics for obsolete equipment that will avoid any potential litigation.

The value of these benefits is immeasurable. Not only is there significant financial gain in getting this step right, but you also avoid the potential legal repercussions of your data being leaked or your hardware ending up illegally discarded in a landfill.

We’ve all read the headlines about those organizations that overlooked the importance of Hardware End-of-Life Management. Valuable patient EMR data leaked, students’ personal information leaked, clients’ financial records leaked – it’s not a pretty sight. And how badly would your organization’s reputation be damaged if your technology hardware were identified illegally discarded in a landfill?

Hardware End-of-Life Management is actually ITAD done right

As Juliet is pining for her love Romeo, she famously states, “...a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Perhaps it’s time to give the practice of what has been traditionally called “IT asset disposition” a new name.

This is more than a mere discussion of semantics, and it's more than simple terminology. This is the rethinking of a philosophy around used IT hardware.

When we call the important step of decommissioning your technology equipment “hardware end-of-life management” we give it the credit it deserves. A name is important, after all, as Juliet found out the hard way.

Learn about how a smart hardware end-of-life management strategy can help here.

*Image courtesy of Pixabay