Fixes for Back-to-Work Tech Challenges Businesses Should Address Now

by Dr. Barbara Rembiesa 

As coronavirus-related work-from-home restrictions are lifted, some companies and government agencies are going to be staring down major tech woes as they try to deal with the flood of hardware and software that flowed home with workers. But the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM) encourages organizations to also look at the process as an opportunity to put solutions in place for hardware and software.

In the post-coronavirus world, businesses and government agencies will need solutions for dealing with excess hardware. The silver lining is that there are real solutions hidden within what we have been looking at only in crisis terms up to this point. If companies and agencies make smart moves now to address these tech challenges, they can turn today’s crisis into a real opportunity.

CHALLENGE #1 – Figuring out what stays … and what goes. Many organizations have assets that just sat unused during the work-from-home period. Offices closed due to stay-home orders purchased a large amount of new hardware that will lead to stuffed tech closets. Technology depreciates rapidly. The longer an asset sits on a shelf, the less it is worth. Organizations should take stock of what they really need — and don’t need — and pare away the excess.

SOLUTION #1 – “Spring clean” your tech, be a good corporate citizen, and get a tax write-off in the process. There are several ways an organization can remove assets from its environment that does not involve destroying them or shipping them to a dump site in Asia. Charities are a major avenue right now for organizations. Many schools and children’s programs have been forced to shift to online classes. By donating unused assets to a charity/education program (that will repurpose devices for those who are in need), organizations can have an impact on society. Additionally, the value of an asset can be deducted from the tax burden of the organization and affect bottom-line budgets in two ways: recouping capital expenses and reducing operational overhead. Organizations taking this route must remain diligent in their data security and data sanitization standards. In addition to charities, there are companies like PlanITROI that provide the same kind of services.

CHALLENGE #2 – Getting all that new hardware and software back to the office. When they were scrambling to equip work-from-home employees with needed assets to get their work done, the last thing many organizations thought about was how it would all come back to the office. End users who were sent home with corporate assets did so with the intent of being able to work remotely. Some end users took this as an opportunity to quarantine themselves with family and loved ones they are unable to see as often as they would like. While the intent is that an employee would have stayed local, there was no guarantee. As such, these mobile assets may have become significantly more mobile than initially anticipated. Now, everything must be fully accounted for and integrated into the office environment.

SOLUTION #2 – Leverage door-to-door services for tech. From the demands of the current working environment, many organizations rose to answer the call for remote device pickup. Some highly mature ITAD service providers already had door-to-door pickup services in place before the coronavirus pandemic started. As the need for this service grew, more disposal companies followed suit, including it in their service offerings. Organizations can leverage these services to easily gather remote assets and bring them into one centralized location for tagging, identification, assessment, data protection, due diligence, et cetera. It does not get much easier than having all of an organization’s remote assets shipped right to the loading bay doors.

CHALLENGE #3 – Dealing with often too-expensive tech hardware that you don’t need any more. Organizations around the world placed an unprecedented demand on hardware technology manufacturers when the new working environment transition occurred. Stores were out of stock on many popular items, and organizations were left with purchasing whatever was available at that moment. Due to this, many organizations purchased non-standard assets that were significantly over budget and/or “over-powered” for the roles to which they were assigned.

SOLUTION #3 – Sell now while demand is still high and supply remains low. A monumental opportunity exists for organizations to identify how to recoup expenses on excess computer purchases — and to do so as fully as possible. Companies and agencies that find a way to sell their assets back while demand is still high, stand to gain back most of their expense. Particularly nimble and savvy organizations might even turn a profit! Proper asset disposal will need to be practiced in order to avoid an inadvertent leak of what could be sensitive employee, company or client data.

Companies and agencies that find and capitalize on return-to-work tech solutions will account for a large share of the organizations that flourish in the coming months. Leveraging the challenges and solutions discussed here could put businesses ahead of their competition. Enlisting the help of outside vendors can improve business-as-usual practices. Smart, strategic decision-making fueled by the data-driven decisions is what will help an organization grow during an economic downturn. In the most recent global recession, IT asset managers played a pivotal role because they provided the data necessary to identify opportunities, cut costs when applicable, and avoid risks that can lead to critical financial damage.

IAITAM President and CEO Dr. Barbara Rembiesa recently went on camera to share more about the unique opportunities available to businesses coming out of this crisis.

Barbara Rembiesa, D.Litt., is president and CEO of the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers, Inc., the professional association for individuals and organizations involved in any aspect of IT Asset Management, Software Asset Management (SAM), Hardware Asset Management, Mobile Asset Management, IT Asset Disposition and the lifecycle processes supporting IT Asset Management in organizations and industry across the globe. IAITAM certifications are the only IT Asset Management certifications that are recognized worldwide.

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