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Organizations Flooded With New Tech Purchased for WFH Employees Face Unique “Asset Refresh” Opportunity

IT Asset Management (ITAM) Strategies Can Turn Excess Hardware Hurriedly Snapped Up During the Pandemic By Companies, Agencies Into Cost-Saving Resources

As COVID-19 spread and Americans were forced to shelter-in-place, the month of March saw U.S. sales of computers increased by 40 percent, notebook sales by over 50 percent and keyboard sales by 64 percent.  With many workers now returning to the office, companies and government agencies are going to be forced to deal with a mountain of new equipment purchased for the work-from-home period.  The International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM) is encouraging organizations to look at this situation as an opportunity, rather than as a headache.

In recent weeks, IAITAM has issued numerous warnings to businesses and government agencies on the “nightmare data risks”, tech headaches and challenges associated with transitioning to work-from-home arrangements, especially with an influx of new technology purchased for employees working remotely. Now, as many workers begin returning to the office, IAITAM is outlining a strategy for companies and government agencies to turn their rushed and often costly technology purchases into a return on investment (ROI) through a technique called “asset refresh.”

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An industry survey from the Evaluator Group notes that many organizational technology managers were caught in react mode by the pandemic, unprepared for the scale of workforce displacement. While some companies might look to dispose of unnecessary assets or donate excess hardware to charities, there is another path forward in considering whether to move up the technology “asset refresh” cycle.   IAITAM sees a huge opportunity for organizations to strategically replace outdated and otherwise inferior equipment in the pre-coronavirus office setting with new hardware that was purchased so that employees could work from home.

Dr. Barbara Rembiesa, president and CEO of IAITAM, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has provided an unprecedented occasion for businesses to update their technology inventory with a strategy called ‘asset refresh.’ Many businesses made purchases that they were not preparing for, in haste, to accommodate a remote workforce. Coming out of the pandemic, with a tight budget, there are questions you can ask to address the financial bottom line of IT investments. Do you have a plan in place for turning these new technology assets into a return on investment?  If not, this is the time to stop reacting and start planning.”

When unnecessary assets are added to the organization, time and money is wasted.  Under normal circumstances, a carefully researched acquisition plan is created before any hardware/software purchases are made by an organization following proper ITAM procedures.

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It is the role of IT Asset Managers to evaluate “asset refresh cycles” and the lifecycle of an IT inventory.   The goal for Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) within ITAM is to calculate or estimate the costs associated with an asset throughout its whole lifecycle (encompassing acquisition, use and disposal). Sometimes it is more costly to maintain old machines and software than it is to upgrade. In other cases, it is more cost-effective to update old IT assets instead of replacing with new ones, due to hidden costs.

Rembiesa said: “In returning to business as usual companies and government agencies will need to closely evaluate their technology inventory and decide where to cut costs or avoid hidden fees associated with new purchases. It is likely that a newfound emphasis will remain on asset mobility, remote workforces, cloud services and data protection. Therefore, having an IT asset professional in your pocket, a strong ITAM program, a plan for IT asset acquisition/disposal, and strategies for generating ROI with IT assets will be vital for business owners to help recoup revenue lost during the pandemic.”

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