What do you do with your IT assets as they reach the end of their lifecycle?
I recently spoke with Jeff Guthier about best practices in IT Asset Disposition or Disposal (ITAD) and discussed a novel approach to the disposal of assets which allows organisations to forecast the optimal value of assets and offload them at a profit.
Q. What is ITAD and how big an issue is it for companies?
“IT Asset Disposition is a means for the proper disposition, removal and recycling or remarketing of assets, while ensuring compliance to local and national data security and environmental regulations.”
This is a significant issue for companies of all sizes and in all industry verticals as it is not their core competency and is considered a sunk cost just to maintain compliance. They are often left to create internal processes that tie to ITAD service partners and then staff to support those programs. Companies are good at IT Asset Management (ITAM); managing acquisition cost, maintenance and uptime of their IT Assets. They usually have solid data security policies and programs in place, even if it means removing hard drives prior to the asset leaving their possession. And, they are aware of being environmentally and socially responsible. These are all core to maintaining a sustainable business. ITAD becomes secondary and reactionary.
Q. What is your background in the ITAD market?
I first learned of RoHS and WEEE as the Business Unit representative on Nokia’s Global Environmental Team. It was apparent that legislation and responsibility placed on the OEMs for take back and tracking of eWaste was creating a large, yet highly fragmented, industry for ITAD. It was equally clear that large OEMs were more concerned about brand image and the negative PR associated with their equipment ending up in landfills across the world, then they were with the cost to maintain take back programs and implementing 100% destruction and recycle policies. It occurred to me that a properly maintained “reuse” program could help off-set some of those costs and have a larger impact on protecting the environment.
My former GM at Nokia, Kevin Scanlon (now COO/Co-Founder of ServoTerra) had since moved on and ended up a local California certified collector recycler of eWaste. He had seen the industry and market potential and was brought there to take a local brick and mortar based collection facility into the board rooms of large OEMs and Contract Manufacturers to build a global reach including WEEE take back programs and remarketing of assets. I joined him there to develop the back office processes and infrastructure to support an operation on that global scale. This is where I learned the just how fragmented the offerings are in ITAD from Consignment, to Broker, to OEM Trade-in programs and the many challenges of linking those processes to downstream recycling and refining to include data security and certificates of destruction reporting.
Q. What common weaknesses do you see in ITAD processes?
Q. Based on your experience, what ITAD best practices would you recommend?
Q. How did ServoTerra come about?
ServoTerra was founded to address the gap between ITAM and ITAD and provide asset owners with a means for Asset Life Cycle Profitability Planning. While at the collector/recycler business, Kevin Scanlon, Karl Larson (now CIO/Co-Founder of ServoTerra) and myself saw the significant cost of building out a global foot print of warehouses, staff and infrastructure to support Consignment and collections programs for our client base. The need to cover that overhead would be passed on to our clients in service charges and left them less than satisfied with the ROI on their ITAD program. Steve Wagner (CEO/Co-Founder of ServoTerra) was at the time the VP and GM of OpSource, a SaaS based solutions provider, saw the dilemma, but more importantly the opportunity and said “gentlemen, we should solve this in the Cloud”. We put concepts to paper, Steve and Kevin got early financial advice, and ServoTerra was born in October 2008.
Q. Why ServoTerra in the cloud?
ServoTerra sits in the cloud to offer no barrier to entry; no upfront cost; no software to download and manage upgrades. Our application is easily adopted into current ITAM and back office processes. No need to change your core competencies to leverage our solution. We are the natural extension of ITAM and Data Security solutions, so much so, we can also offer those solutions to companies. The cloud also brings in a global market place to maximize the return on your assets. Bulit on Salesforce.com’s Force.com platform we offer a secure, scalable and flexible solution to help IT Mangers focus on their core responsibilities, but have the tools and business intelligence to bring value back to their companies by completing overall Asset Life Cycle Profitability Planning.
Q. A prerequisite for your service being effective is clients having a good view of their assets in the first place – how do you suggest overcoming this?
ServoTerra is truly transforming how Assets are managed for profitability. This means our clients go through a journey of growth and transformation along with us. We have partners and processes to provide new clients with asset valuation even when those assets are already decommissioned and sitting in storage. But again, this is a higher overhead initially. What we quickly demonstrate is that our market of buyers in the cloud provide on average 25% better return than traditional ITAD solutions. Then we work with our client to embrace the power of proactive planning by utilizing ITAM and Data Security solutions while assets are still on the network. By the second or third iteration in our program they see an additional 10-20% increase in ROI from knowing the right time to remarket or recycle assets. In fact our eXchange marketplace, allows asset owners to sell assets prior to decommissioning them. That is when you have truly maximized Asset Life Cycle Profitability Planning.
Read more about ServoTerra here
What other best practices, tips or experiences can you share regarding IT Asset Disposition? Let me know your views.