IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) is a concern for every data center manager. Still, ITAD doesn’t usually capture headlines like recently when Arrow Electronics exited the business. The news was startling because responsible disposition of computer, networking, data center and mobile gear has experienced a major uptick, powered mainly by growing numbers of migrations to the cloud.
From the chaos created by Arrow’s abrupt departure comes opportunity. The ITAD space has been energized, and there remain plenty of viable options for companies looking to dispose of gear as well as rejuvenated demand for organizations providing ITAD services. According to Gartner, “The global ITAD continues to evolve, with growing compliance risk and dramatic shifts in product types and volumes.”1.
For organizations pondering what to do, start by answering the following five questions:
What is your current disposition policy?
It is imperative to have a well-defined policy. According to Gartner, “IT asset managers who manage IT asset disposition (ITAD) continue to struggle with the two material categories of ITAD risk: Data security (thorough data sanitization of all data-bearing assets) and proper environmental recycling.”2.
A thorough ITAD policy should start with the determination of whether the process is best handled in-house or by outside providers. In an era of tightened IT budgets and constrained staffing resources, more and more organizations are enlisting third-parties. To use an analogy from the auto industry, it’s simpler and less of a hassle to have someone else sell your old car than do it yourself.
How do you pick an ITAD service provider?
To determine the optimal provider for your specific needs, focus on which must-have ITAD services are required. Make this a two-way process, so look for a provider who asks as many questions as you do.
Also enlist expertise of co-workers. For example, for years Curvature has provided ITAD services in EMEA for a well-known pharmaceutical company. But its U.S.-based counterparts had no idea until the subject surfaced in a conversation about an unrelated project. Once discussed, it was easy to hand over domestic responsibilities, knowing one source could handle everything globally with awareness of all e-waste policies involved.
What are your data security policies?
No company wants to be the next front-page headline over a data breach. Assuring proper data security is a big deal—and should be treated as one. If it’s unclear where your company stands, gather stakeholders and determine best practices. Leading ITAD providers offer erasure or destruction of data-bearing devices.
What is your refresh cycle?
Determining how often upgrades are made to networks and data centers is important because timeframe directly impacts the value of gear to be disposed. For example, three-to-five years is typical for most networking equipment as it’s the length of the basic manufacturer warranty. It’s also the sweet spot for extracting the most value for resale on the secondary market. For data centers, improvements and upgrades may come faster, so three years is the standard for recovering optimum value.
In many cases, gear targeted for disposition has top value when ITAD follows the “chop shop” model. Items are worth more for individual components than intact. Curvature is unique in the ITAD space because besides providing disposition, we purchase gear and parts, then pass pricing advantages to our customers.
Are you looking for flexible alternatives or options?
If a new provider is under review, consider “kicking the tires” with a pilot project or projects. Curvature recently undertook this tact with a very large and well-known global company. Three pilots were launched in three different parts of the world because the company wanted to see whether the experience would be the same regardless of location.
When the pilot was deemed successful, Curvature gained additional business in what has turned into a sustained relationship.
Bonus question: What else can you do for us?
Ask any infrastructure and operations leader if they deal with too many vendors, and in most cases, you know the answer. So, besides ITAD, ask about other services.
Curvature, for example, routinely assists customers around the world with a variety of professional services, including third-party maintenance, which can extend asset lifecycles for a few years (to enjoy substantial opex and capex savings) before eventual ITAD. Other complementary services range from data center migrations, and wireless assessments to logistics, freight and temporary staffing assistance.
Providers of ITAD services are growing in importance as strategic partners in complete IT lifecycle management of data center and networking gear. While ITAD may be the final segment of the lifecycle, due to considerable security and company brand risks, it deserves and demands elevated attention.
Learn more about the ITAD market in Gartner’s research, “Market Guide for IT Asset Disposition” by filling out the form below.
1.Gartner, Market Guide for IT Asset Disposition, 26 July 2018, Rob Schafer, Christopher Dixon.
2. Gartner, Market Guide for IT Asset Disposition, 26 July 2018, Rob Schafer, Christopher Dixon.
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