As companies deploy new technologies, they are faced with the issue of what do with their older IT assets. As the green movement and a call for greater corporate social responsibility have grown over the last decade, it is no longer acceptable for organizations to throw out old technology or simply to pass it along. IT asset disposal is a serious corporate social responsibility that should be taken to heart by both the private and public sectors and can reap huge benefits for the internal IT organization while, at the same time, being a good corporate citizen.
While proper asset disposal has been a growing movement amongst companies, many still consider it an obligatory act to comply with the “green” movement, despite the regulatory compliance laws. Organizations fail to understand that correct disposal methods can be extremely beneficial if properly planned and executed – from positioning the company as the “good guy” to increasing financial value of assets that have traditionally been looked at as depreciating in value, resulting in financial loss year-over-year – to closing compliance gaps.
With newly formed legislation and environmental regulations, IT asset disposal has a whole new level of compliance on a federal, state, local and even on the country level. These regulations open up two liability issues that companies must face: environmental and data security standards as well as regional e-laws that detail the disposal of hazardous wastes.
Facing increasing pressure to close compliance gaps and meet industry as well as federal, state and local regulations, IT asset disposal sits in the middle of many of these laws, either as a primary target of the law or as an avenue to create non-compliance. Not to close the compliance gap with the enterprise IT assets creates issues with data security, anti-landfill laws, privacy laws and many industry-specific regulations – such as SOX, Gramm-Leach-Bliley and HIPAA. Businesses that toss IT assets without giving thought to legislation face stiff fines and possibly even jail time for ignoring environment and regional legislation.
For organizations who understand the benefits of proper disposal, the IT asset management program includes IT asset disposal, as described in the Key Process Areas defined in IAITAM’s Best Practice Library. The IT asset disposal best practices begin with the IT asset manager creating an internal IT asset disposal team or finding an IT Asset disposal service.
If an organization has adopted a corporate social responsibility program, the likelihood is great that an IT asset disposal and remarketing program will be part of a green initiative. While it may not be called or classified as IT asset disposal or as a part of the overall ITAM program, it most assuredly fits into both categories. Corporate social responsibility initiatives contribute enormously to a company’s corporate image, which will most certainly take a hit if assets are disposed in an irresponsible manner.
Some steps to ensure that your IT asset disposal program is taken seriously include:
IT assets have traditionally been viewed as a necessary “write off” expense line item that depreciated in value year-over-year and was looked upon as “lost money.” It’s always been a reluctant expense layout for organizations, which explains why you’re still working on a PC the size of child’s suitcase with Window 2000 or Windows XP. So, it’s time to talk about a proper IT asset disposal process with the senior decision makers.
Trying to sell senior executives on an IT asset disposal process is like Sisyphus rolling a huge boulder time-and-time again up a hill. However, if you tie IT asset disposal with a corporate social responsibility program, mention the world “green” and talk about how you’re actually creating value from old IT assets that can bring money back into the company, then you have a bunch of men and women sitting up to take notice. Next thing you know, you’ll even have a cross-functional team dedicated to working on the IT asset disposal process.
In addition to bringing good corporate karma from the green and social responsibility aspects of IT asset disposal, new value from old assets is another important selling point. Consider the possibilities from:
By initiating an ITAM program that includes IT asset disposal, companies gain more value from their assets by understanding when, where and how an asset will be “retired” and ready for disposal. By controlling and completing the lifecycle of an IT asset, compliance is assured in all aspects – from corporate policy through many types of regulations.
By recouping a percentage of all IT assets, the IT asset disposal process can be self-sustaining, will pay for itself within the first year, AND give the organization a successful social awareness program.