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
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.