Cash for clunkers: Old tech equipment boosts the bottom line

Some firms are recouping cash as they send old PCs, servers and laptops out the door.

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Jahromi's work is a case in point.

He developed a policy whereby older equipment that's still functional and under warranty gets redeployed within GSK; gear that's out of warranty is resold or, if there's no market, recycled. PlanITROI handles that part of the job.

Much of what Jahromi collected during GSK's housecleaning two years ago was fairly current equipment -- generally ranging from three to eight years old -- although the company also collected older flash drives, CDs, monitors, printers, cables, fax machines and even an electric typewriter when it moved one of its data centers.

Jahromi admits that he didn't expect to get much money selling that typewriter, but he was surprised by the amount of money that the IT department was able to get by working with PlanITROI.

The agreement between the firms calls for PlanITROI to keep 40% of the asset value when it refurbishes and resells GSK equipment. (Refurbishing includes installing Windows software with an authorized Microsoft license.)

"It's rare for an IT organization within a company, a non-IT company, to earn revenue," he says. "We now take that revenue and pump it back into the purchase of new equipment. So we're recycling the machines and the money."

Not all organizations are following GSK's example. In a 2010 IAITAM survey of some 150 IT managers attending the organization's annual conference last year, only 56% of respondents said they consider the disposal of hardware and harvesting of software a priority, and only 14.3% listed cost savings or money-making as a matter of high importance for their organization. "As far as companies and the maturity of IT asset management, we're still very young," Rembiesa says. "There are companies that have a good maturity out there; others are just coming on board."

Right now, most firms use disposal companies, she says, and many of those disposal companies turn around and resell equipment on the secondary market -- but the original company often does not benefit from that resale cycle.

"It's up to [the owner of the IT assets] to negotiate a return on any resale," Rembiesa says. "Some disposal companies are giving it back [to the original company], some are not. But with a little bit of due diligence, organizations can find a company that can give them a return."

PlanITROI is one of a number of companies working in this space. Redemtech, TechTurn and Arrow-Intechra are others that will give part of the proceeds back to the originating IT group.

In addition, the large computer equipment companies offer services that help their customers recapture some of the residual value of their old technology.

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