What is IT Asset Disposition?

IT asset disposition is a practice enterprises utilize to reuse, repurpose, repair, and resell devices, or safely dispose of unwanted IT equipment.

An ITAD vendor is an external organization specializing in supporting the disposition of IT assets and reducing costs for its customers.

A Brief History of ITAD

In 1976, the United States enacted the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which enabled the EPA to track hazardous materials and chemicals from production to end-of-life. Although the legislation was put in place, very little enforcement existed for the first few years.

In 1980, a cargo container ship with more than 14,000 tons of e-waste approached the shore of New Jersey, hoping to have the e-waste transported to a landfill, but they were turned away.

After being turned away, the ship headed south, where they then dropped all 14,000 tons of e-waste directly into the ocean from the Caribbean to Southeast Asia, destroying the ecosystem in its path.

This incident caught global attention, and led the US to realize they needed a solution to help enforce environmental regulations and ensure toxic e-waste doesn’t end up in the environment, which sparked the birth of the e-waste recycling industry.

Despite the importance of ensuring the safe disposal of e-waste, as ITAD companies have matured over the years, most have prioritized maximizing residual value by reselling devices.

Once an ITAD buys a customer’s devices, they often go through the secondary market to remarket the IT assets they purchased and sell the IT equipment to the highest bidder—focusing almost exclusively on how much money customers might receive from their unwanted IT equipment.

What Processes are Currently Associated with ITAD?

Traditional ITAD vendors focus on functional services and typically have high-level responsibilities. When working with an ITAD, the customer is responsible for recovering company-owned IT assets and the ITAD vendor manages bulk pickups. Some ITAD vendors also fulfill the following processes:

  • Proper data erasure: Secure destruction of data on corporate-owned IT assets.
  • Reuse or resell: IT assets can be reused or resold after data is properly destroyed.
  • Repair or refurbishment: IT assets are cleaned, repaired, and tested.

Why IT Asset Recovery Is Important

IT asset recovery is important because every unrecovered asset poses a data security risk for your organization. With access to company emails, files, and other sensitive materials, unrecovered—or rogue—IT assets leave your valuable corporate data vulnerable to threats.

A robust IT asset recovery software provides visibility into the IT asset recovery process, allowing organizations to track an asset from the time the shipping company takes possession of the asset to its resale through a secondary marketplace and, ultimately, to the organization receiving payment for the resold asset.

Why Software is Important for IT Asset Recovery

Traditionally, IT asset recovery is a very manual process, yielding minimal results as it is labor-intensive and time-consuming to track down and reclaim company-owned devices.

Software amplifies IT asset recovery and disposition efforts, and furthers the initiatives that service providers can take after a device has been recovered. Software can automate the following manual processes:

  • Communication with end users, which is more manageable as a software solution provides companies with custom email templates and automated email workflows.
  • Creating custom workflows for IT asset recovery programs based on the customer’s existing technology, processes, programs, and policies.

How IT Asset Recovery and ITAD Work Together

A traditional ITAD process adheres to the following steps:

  • Over the course of many months, an organization (the customer) manually recovers as many company-owned IT assets as possible to a centralized location—often the company headquarters or the IT team’s location. Most organizations recover less than 30% of company-owned IT assets using spreadsheets and other manual recovery methods.
  • The customer contacts an ITAD vendor to schedule a pickup for their retired corporate-owned devices.
  • The ITAD vendor arrives with a truck to pick up the devices and transfers them back to their facility.
  • The devices are data wiped and either resold or recycled on behalf of the customer.

ITAD vendors often seek a software-driven solution like Mobile reCell to ensure a more successful IT asset recovery process.

With Mobile reCell’s software, customers typically recover more than 95% of company-owned IT assets—more than three times the number of assets recovered using spreadsheets and other manual processes.

Mobile reCell can integrate services and software with the traditional initiatives of an ITAD vendor to drive recovery and redeployment efforts for corporate-owned devices.

IT Asset Recovery Software Integration Opportunities

Integrating software with existing platforms is essential because it allows companies to save time and offer a seamless experience. A strategic, software-driven solution can bridge the gap between IT asset lifecycle management and device disposition. We will cover the following software types in this article:

  • MMS / TEM
  • HRIS
  • UEM
  • API for any non-native integrations

Managed Mobility Services (MMS) & Telecom Expense Management (TEM)

A managed mobility services (MMS) provider helps its customers with IT and process management services required by companies to acquire, provision, and support mobile devices with integrated and/or wireless connectivity.

A telecom expense management (TEM) provider manages an enterprise’s total voice and data environment expenses and costs, including wireline and wireless technologies.

When an IT asset recovery and disposition solution like Mobile reCell is integrated with MMS and TEM software, ITAD vendors can implement several automations to ensure a smooth IT asset recovery process. These useful automations include:

  • Device recovery initiation: Service providers receive real-time notifications when an end user submits a ticket, informing them when to initiate the recovery process.
  • Processing reporting: MMS or TEM users can view a service provider’s platform to verify which devices have been processed, are undergoing processing, or require an additional ticket to complete device processing.

An IT asset recovery and disposition solution also automates manual tasks such as:

  • Reverse logistics: A set of steps conducted at the end of a mobile device’s lifecycle to return the device to its company to be processed, repaired, and redeployed, resold, or recycled.
  • Keeping track of the basic movements of mobility: MMS and TEM providers track moves, adds, changes, and deletes (MACDs), which inform an IT asset recovery service provider when a device is eligible for recovery.

An IT asset recovery solution completes the device lifecycle, allowing MMS or TEM providers to maintain accurate records for their customers, save money on unused UEM licenses, and much more.

Additionally, keeping track of devices requiring an upgrade can be a hassle, but it’s essential, as continuing to use out-of-date mobile devices is a huge security risk. Partnering with an MMS or TEM provider as well as an IT asset recovery service provider can alleviate this issue as, when combined, they oversee the entire mobile device lifecycle for an organization’s device fleet.

An MMS or TEM solution combined with an IT asset recovery solution allows service providers to conduct an entire device refresh and use fair market value data in conjunction with wireless contract negotiation and carrier promotions to advise the most advantageous timing for device upgrades and/or refreshes.

The combination of MMS/TEM and IT asset recovery service providers allows customers to leverage the recovered value of devices to buy new devices or invest in other IT projects.

Examples of MMS and TEM providers:

IT Service Management (ITSM) & IT Asset Management (ITAM)

IT service management (ITSM) providers use software and a collection of policies and processes to plan, design, deliver, support, and improve the way a customer uses information technology (IT) services.

IT asset management (ITAM) providers use software and a set of business practices to fulfill the IT asset lifecycle for an organization, which includes tracking IT asset assignment, deployment, maintenance, upgrades, and disposition as needed to optimize spending and support strategic decision-making within the customer’s IT environment.

ITSM and ITAM providers enable customers to build highly customized workflows tailored to the customer’s specific needs.

With ITSM and ITAM software, IT asset recovery service providers can implement automations so when a request to upgrade a device, decommission a device, or request a new device is submitted through the ITSM/ITAM software, it prompts the IT asset recovery software to initiate the recovery and retrieval process.

These automations are beneficial because they allow IT asset recovery software to communicate with ITSM and ITAM software, providing follow-up information for a service ticket and closing out a device’s lifecycle.

Follow-up information can include if a device has been data wiped, if a device has been received by its designated processing center, or if a device has been purchased through an employee purchase program. Regardless, the ITSM/ITAM software can then close out the associated support ticket automatically, eliminating the need for an IT team member to follow up with the end user on its status.

Examples of ITSM and ITAM providers:

Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS), Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS), & Human Capital Management (HCM)

A human resources information system (HRIS), human resources management system (HRMS), or human capital management (HCM) is a software combining systems and processes to ensure the easy management of human resources (HR), business processes, and data. The core of HR software is an employee database.

With HRIS software, an IT asset recovery solution focuses on user requests. With IT asset recovery software, service providers can put workflows in place to trigger an IT asset recovery based on who is joining or leaving an organization, which can be particularly important in the event of employee separation.

When integrated with HRIS software, an IT asset recovery solution can automate manual tasks, like validating and verifying employee addresses—if they’re not provided through another software solution such as an MMS, ITSM, or UEM—which can make the recovery process easier for end users.

When IT asset recovery software interacts with HRIS software, it can access more verified user data than any other software solution. Recovery software can validate an end user’s first and last name and mailing address, as well as how many devices the end user has been issued, which can accelerate the IT asset recovery process when device(s) need to be retrieved or recovered.

Examples of HRIS, HRMS, and HCM providers:

Unified Endpoint Management

UEM is a type of software allowing IT to manage, secure, and deploy corporate resources and applications on any device from a single console.

When UEM software is integrated with IT asset recovery software, IT asset recovery service providers can put several automated workflows in place to ensure end users and service providers experience a smooth IT asset recovery process, including:

  • Device data validation: UEM providers can validate precise device-level information, such as which devices are associated with specific licenses and the last time a device has checked in to the UEM platform or has been used. This information can automatically trigger an IT asset recovery workflow.
  • Device and/or hub notifications: Service providers can deliver direct messages to a device and receive real-time responses from end users. This allows end users to receive communication from their organization in a familiar way.
  • Device geo-location: During the return process, service providers can inform end users where the nearest retail store is to drop off and return their device based on their location, making it as easy as possible for the end user to begin the IT asset return process.

An IT asset recovery solution can also automate manual tasks like device locking. For example, if a device is on a non-compliance list for a specified period of time, the UEM service provider can auto-lock the device to facilitate the device return process.

An IT asset recovery solution like Mobile reCell provides additional visibility and detailed information about corporate-owned mobile devices, which is highly beneficial for IT administrators overseeing the IT asset recovery process.

When integrated with UEM software, an IT asset recovery solution can ease device recovery initiation, simplify the end user experience of returning a device, and result in high IT asset recovery rates.

Examples of UEM providers:

API for non-native integrations

An API is a way for two or more computer software programs to communicate with each other.

Mobile reCell currently has a public and very robust API. If an IT team has built its own system and acquired all its data, we can automate its IT asset recovery program through SFTP or API connections.

Factors to Consider When Looking for a Vendor

Every organization has different mobile device program needs and must consider the following factors when looking for a vendor:

  • Certifications: When a vendor is completing a customer’s certified data erasure and/or facilitating a customer’s e-waste recycling efforts, they should maintain specific certifications—like ISO certifications and work with R2 Certified vendors—to uphold the quality of products and services and adhere to industry standards and regulations.

  • Data security: A holistic IT asset recovery and disposition solution will provide you with a Certificate of Data Destruction for every IT asset recovered and processed by its team.
  • Integration with existing IT infrastructure and software: Organizations should work with service providers with the ability to integrate software with existing workflows.
  • Help collecting IT assets from a dispersed workforce or multiple locations: Customers should seek service providers who can facilitate the process of recovering idle or retired devices from multiple locations and help organizations collect IT assets from a dispersed or remote workforce.
  • Manual process automation: An ideal solution will initiate recovery workflows to help automate manual processes, like determining when an asset is rendered unuse and eligible for recovery.

The Benefits of an IT Asset Recovery and Disposition Solution

With an IT asset recovery and disposition solution like Mobile reCell, IT departments no longer have to wait on status information, manually send follow-up emails, or use spreadsheets to track program progress, allowing them to save time and focus on more strategic initiatives.

An IT asset recovery and disposition solution can recover actively deployed devices throughout your program’s lifecycle, which is especially important in the one-off event of employee separation.

Mobile reCell’s success is driven by a commitment to deliver an unparalleled customer experience with unrivaled technology.

Whether you’re looking for a recovery solution or recovery software to complement your existing ITAD provider, Mobile reCell can help.

At Mobile reCell, we centralize data and configure your recovery program to ensure your IT asset recovery needs are met, allowing you to understand the status of your IT asset recovery program and know where you need to take action.

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