As businesses, communities, and governments begin the third consecutive year of a global pandemic, 2022 will create significant changes—and opportunities—for enterprise IT asset recovery and disposition programs. Two areas of significant change will include continuing remote work and accelerating corporate sustainability initiatives. 

Continuing Remote Work

The migration to a remote workforce has prompted enterprises to deploy an increasing number of IT assets, highlighted the need to anticipate supply chain issues, and unveiled several IT asset program security gaps and risks. 

Deploying an Increasing Number of IT Assets

Many companies that traditionally operated in office buildings with technology-enabled workstations are continuing to redefine how their employees do their work, stay connected, and continue to be productive. These companies realize how important it is to equip their remote and dispersed workforce with smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other mobile-first devices. 

In short, the shift to a remote and dispersed workforce is forcing enterprises to deploy an increasing number of IT assets. 

IT teams are quickly realizing they do not have an effective way to deploy, support, and recover IT assets aside from manually tracking details in a spreadsheet, which is both time-consuming and labor-intensive. This asset lifecycle management becomes particularly important as employees join or leave an organization and as assets reach the end of their useful lifecycle for the organization. 

Continuing Supply Chain Issues

COVID-19 has left global supply chains reeling over the last two years, and maybe no industry has been as affected as the semiconductor manufacturers and the beneficiaries of their products—such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other internet of things (IoT) devices. 

While enterprise telecommunication spending has continued to increase with the “new normal” deeply rooted in mobile, the chip shortage has left IT and procurement managers struggling to get mobile devices in the hands of employees to meet the needs of a now remote workforce.

“Delays in mobile device shipments due to chip shortages are expected to be around through 2022 and potentially into 2023. Given the circumstances, it’s imperative for IT and procurement leaders to plan accordingly to ensure their teams are equipped with the necessary devices for a seamless work-from-home experience,” said Ben Jones, Founder and CEO of Mobile reCell.

To meet the needs of their remote workforce, IT asset program managers must plan ahead to account for potential supply chain delays. In some cases, it will make more sense to rely on secondary mobile device markets and provide end users with refurbished devices rather than risk a brand new device model missing a deployment target date because of supply chain issues.  

Highlighting Key Program Security Risks

Remote workers use company-owned IT assets to connect to unsecured home networks every day. 

If devices are not updated with the latest security patches and software updates, unsecured home networks could be an easy entry point for cybercriminals to access valuable corporate data.  

In addition, when a device is corporate-owned and supported, enterprises can push security updates to the devices via unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions. 

When a company’s IT team is responsible for keeping devices up-to-date—instead of relying on individuals to install and regularly update software—valuable corporate data is more likely to remain secure. 

Accelerating Sustainability Initiatives

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly developed 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all people and the world by 2030.” 

These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have prompted 92% of Fortune 500 companies to develop and publish sustainability initiatives in 2020—up from 20% in 2011.

Nearly 80 percent of CEOs say the global pandemic has highlighted the need to transition to more sustainable business models–and with good reason. Leaders who build sustainability management practices into their organizations outperform peers by 21% on both profitability and positive environmental and societal outcomes. 

As enterprises seek more sustainable business models, many are looking toward leasing rather than purchasing equipment and transforming business processes rather than purchasing carbon offset credits to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  

Leasing Rather than Purchasing Equipment

Historically, many IT assets have been deployed once before they are discarded by an organization opting to keep end users supplied with the latest and greatest technology, including new models of phones, tablets, and laptops.

This one-and-done mentality has made IT asset management overdue for implementing process changes and advancing sustainability initiatives in the procurement, deployment, recovery, and disposition of IT assets. 

As enterprises explore opportunities for sustainability, many realize they can still keep end users equipped with the newest IT asset models by leasing—rather than purchasing—IT assets. 

Leasing companies purchase IT assets, then lease—or rent—them to companies for a set period of time or on a month-to-month basis. 

Since leasing companies have already paid outright for an IT asset, they have a financial interest in keeping the asset in circulation for as long as possible and then recovering any residual value and recycling device materials at the end of the asset’s lifecycle. 

While new models of IT assets might be leased to tech-savvy enterprises, older device models can be leased to organizations requiring fewer features.

Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions via Business Transformation

In 2020, there were 7.7 billion mobile phones in use—producing more than 580 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. 

More than 85 percent of a mobile phone’s greenhouse gas emissions occur before the device has even left the factory. 

The manufacturing of new smartphones is estimated to produce more than 115 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2022, while an estimated 151 million phones are discarded each year.

Smartphones require precious metals including gold, tungsten, and cobalt. These precious metals must be mined, and mining is a carbon-intensive process. As organizations seek to minimize their carbon footprints—or approach net zero—the recycling and reuse of these precious metals will be critical.

The traditional route to net zero has included the purchase of carbon offset credits. However, many companies are now seeking ways to actually change how they manufacture, transact, and win in business by implementing genuine sustainability initiatives.

Responsible IT asset recovery and disposition can assist companies with reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by routing retired mobile devices to the secondary market instead of a landfill or developing countries.  

Leading IT asset recovery and disposition vendors assist customer organizations with documenting their adherence to the strictest data security standards and impact to the environment achieved using responsible recycling techniques.

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