A Guide to Changing ITAD Vendors

For the unprepared, changing IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) vendors can be a nightmare. A loss of service in the removal and remarketing of retired IT assets can result in confusion, loss of productivity, and concerns about data security. Then there are the costs associated with bringing on a new service provider – costs involving vetting new vendors, retraining staff, and launching the new relationship.

Considering these challenges, it is advantageous for organizations to formulate comprehensive change plans, in the event that the firm needs to select a new ITAD vendor. But where does a company start?

This article is designed to provide a blueprint for changing ITAD vendors when:

  • A company decides to change service
  • An existing vendor leaves the business
  • An existing vendor becomes unresponsive
  • A company creates a contingency plan in the event of an ITAD vendor switch in the future

Step 1: Coming to a Close

In the event that you must cease service with a vendor, there are certain measures your organization should take:

Account for All Assets and Establish Chain-of-Custody

One of the first things you should do is get a clear picture of the status and location of all of your company’s decommissioned drives and equipment. Your ITAD vendor may have exited the industry or may be shifting focus, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t still liable for securing the private and protected information you’ve been entrusted with.

Lockdown and Control Your Records

Acquire and audit the data destruction and asset disposition documentation from your previous vendor. You are still at risk if these assets become compromised, so make sure that every device is accounted for, wiped clean, or returned.

Plan on Explaining the Change to your Stakeholders

You’ll have to communicate with your internal and external stakeholders, but be strategic. While you would never want to withhold information, there is no need to create anxiety, so reassure them that you are onboarding a new vendor and that their information and assets are 100% secure.

Review the Vendor Contract and Any Other Legal Documents

There may be provisions in your contract with the ITAD service provider that outlive the termination of the contract. Similarly, your vendor may be subject to early termination clauses. Double check to be sure.

Step 2: Planning for Change 

Make the most of a new relationship by planning ahead.

Before signing on with a new vendor, take the opportunity to plan a new relationship. Resist the urge to jump on bargain deals and instead focus on what best serves your organization.

Define Your Criteria for Success

If you already have to change, why not change for the better? Improve upon past results with a vendor that does more. For example, eLoop’s asset remarketing service can help you recover maximum value from your electronics.

Future Proof Your ITAD Process

Companies that rely on an ITAD vendor’s proprietary techniques are setting themselves up for failure. In the event of a change of service, the firm will have more difficulty in finding a new ITAD provider. It’s better to take an agnostic approach to ITAD and go with a vendor that offers the best service.

Determine Logistic Requirements

Get organized with your ITAD needs. How many locations need serviced? What is your average asset volume? Do certain drives need to be sanitized or destroyed onsite? What other packaging and transport functions do you require?

To satisfy these needs, go with a vendor that offers flexibility. For example, eLoop has no minimum device counts for a pickup.

Plan for the Worst Case Scenarios

This is also the perfect opportunity to review your ITAD activities. Identify any risks and determine the contingencies for each. Check for any holes in your process, and make sure they are covered in your next partnership.

Step 3: Choosing a New Vendor

While exploring available options, remember to:

Appropriately Vet and Research Each Candidate

Take the time to shop around and consider every option. Ensure that your future service provider has the proper certifications and that they exceed industry/legal standards.

Confirm Vendor Services

Do they meet the criteria for organizational success established above? Are they available (do they have bandwidth and are they in your area?) Do they offer a trial/test program? Will they work with you on a transition plan? Answering these questions can help you narrow down your options to the best fit.

Step 4: Manage Change

Signing on with a new ITAD vendor is a substantial organizational change, which can cause anxiety and disruption within your company. Utilize the fundamentals of project management to ensure a smooth transition:

Create a Process Document

Develop a plan for the change. This will serve as the backbone of the change initiative, and as a resource your employees can refer to. It should describe the phases of the transition, and provide a timeline for all major events.

Appoint a Change Team

Select key personnel to help guide and champion the change. While including an IT professional is a must, so too is appointing someone to manage the human element of change. Employees may be unsure about new requirements or may resist new processes, and will need someone to comfort and persuade them. Clearly define roles and responsibilities for this team so that they can set expectations for the rest of the organization.

Celebrate Early Wins

Once the new relationship is underway, take every chance to celebrate any small wins. Even something inconsequential can help to generate momentum and boost morale.

Don’t Be a Victim

Change is difficult. However, failing to change and suffering the consequences is even more difficult. Take control now, and incorporate these tips here into your ITAD vendor selection process (or contingency plan) to increase your organization’s accountability, security, and success.

10 Steps for a Successful Technology Refresh

If you want to save the most money, give your clients the most, and help your business grow the most, then you need to get the most out of your technology. What happens though if your technology is slow, outdated, and obsolete? If you’re concerned about whether your computer and mobile assets are delivering as they should or not, it’s time to plan a tech refresh.

Technology refreshes are the periodic replacement of IT assets, equipment, and infrastructure to ensure reliability, improve speed and capacity, and maximize system performance. A regular cycle of updates and overhauls can give your IT architecture, and your business, the optimization it needs.

But where did you start? A tech refresh can be a complicated process. How do you know if the changes you’re implementing will make a difference, or even justify their cost? What should your business worry about? Fortunately, there are a few battle-tested strategies that can help your tech refresh be a success.

1. Evaluate Your Current Hardware

The first step you should do is perform an audit of your current IT systems. Before you spend a dime, evaluate your hardware to determine what is still serviceable, what should be updated, and what needs a complete overhaul. 

2. Clearly Define Your Business Needs

It’s best to clarify the goals of your tech refresh early on. What are the objectives driving the upgrade? Improved reliability? Elevated efficiency? Enhanced performance and service? 

Answering these questions can help to identify which aspects of your IT infrastructure need the most attention. While sleek new office computers might seem enticing, new POS systems to increase on-the-floor sales might be what your business truly needs.

3. Understand the Costs

Oftentimes, the financial benefits of a financial refresh are in the long run, not the short term. As such, it is important to properly assess your options and budget, so that you can plan accordingly.

A small investment now can lead to long-term gain.

It is also critical to understand how to recoup maximum value from old assets. For example, eLoop creates value for their clients by offering quality, convenience, and simplicity through their premier remarketing program for an organization’s retired end-of-life electronics. Turning old hardware into cash flow is a win when planning a refresh.

4. Create a Roll-out Strategy

There are a few different methods for replacing old hardware with new. Will you switch everything all at once? Upgrade in stages and phases? Or put aside money from the budget each year, and save up for a comprehensive overhaul? Each of these techniques has advantages and disadvantages, and will impact how you plan the rest of your refresh implementation.

You should also consider the timing of your refresh. Is certain hardware still under warranty? Do your vendors support the newest technology and programs? Is there hot new software about to hit the market? Just as looking internally is important during the planning process, so too is looking at trends in your industry and the tech world.

5. Plan for the Future

Don’t let this be the first and only time you think about a refresh. Make the next time easier for you and your company by planning ahead. Make hardware updates a part of your strategic conversations, and put your technology refreshes on a regular schedule.

6. Risk Assessment

Part of looking ahead should also involve anticipating risks. This doesn’t mean that you need to spend a fortune on data analytics software or complex research. Studies show that the intuition of project managers or other expert professionals is often more effective than deliberate analysis at predicting risks*. Trust your instincts, and have a contingency plan on the ready.

7. Data Destruction 

There is one area of risk that is so significant it warrants its own section. Whether you realize it or not, your IT assets are full of user and consumer data. From addresses and birth dates to social security numbers and credit card information, protecting private information must be top of mind for you and your staff.

Make sure your assets are sufficiently wiped of data!

In order to protect your firm against fines, bad publicity, and even litigation** related to data breach, find a data security specialist you can trust, and that provides the service you need. Not only does eLoop offer its clients no minimum device counts, but their use of Clarabyte software means that all sensitive information can be completely and irrevocably erased before it even leaves your facility.

8. Communicate the Plan

Share your plan with all of your major stakeholders – it can have a significant impact on your operations, so you’ll want to key-in frontline staff, managers, and patrons, if possible. Invite these individuals to provide feedback or to identify any unexpected consequences of the upgrade.

It is especially important to let your staff know of the refresh well before it starts. Similarly, it is critical to provide training on new assets or software. Internal IT professionals can perform the training, or an outside firm can be contracted, if necessary. Whomever you choose, make sure they provide ongoing support after the rollout commences – there’s nothing worse than paying for training and then being unable to answer questions once the updates are live.

9. Implement the Plan and Manage Change

So you’ve planned the refresh, communicated with your stakeholders, and purchased the upgraded equipment – time to celebrate, right? In many ways, the work has just begun.

Be prepared to help employees learn new practices.

Change on any scale is scary, and employees typically react with mental and emotional inertia, resisting the use of the new hardware***. Furthermore, your organization will need ongoing technical and moral support for the refresh to be successful.

Fortunately, there are several strategies that you and your leadership team can use to help your company through the rollout. You should start by communicating the necessity for change (if you haven’t already) and create a sense of urgency. Designate a change management team – a group of professionals that will champion the refresh efforts. Celebrate small wins early on, to build momentum. Change is a process, so be ready to commit to helping your employees over the course of the rollout.

10. Choose the Right Partners

At the end of the day, you may need a helping hand with your tech refresh. Whether its with employee training, internal audits, or data destruction, chances are you’ll need to look outside your company to complete your hardware upgrade smoothly and ethically.

Be sure to work with partners that can help to guide you or remove the pain points from the refresh process. Look for someone that can provide what we call the eLoop Advantage – saving you time, recouping you money, and providing you with peace of mind. 

A Refreshed Start

A tech refresh should be just that – refreshing. There’s a lot of work involved, but updating your IT infrastructure can help your company run smoother, provide better service, and be more productive. Ultimately, a tech refresh will optimize and maximize your IT system’s potential – meaning you can get back to running your company.

* Moeini, M. & Rivard, S. (2019). Sublating tensions in the it project risk management literature: A model of the relative performance of intuition and deliberate analysis for risk assessment. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 20(3), 243-284.

** Melnik, T. (2012). Class actions, federal actions, and state actions: The data breach saga continues. Journal of Health Care Compliance, 14(3), 45-48.

*** Cummings, S., Bridgman, T., & Brown, K. G. (2016). Unfreezing change as three steps: Rethinking kurt lewin’s legacy for change management. Human Relations, 69(1), 33-60.