Extra Paper Trays and HP 4000s: How We Became ITAM Lifecycle Experts Part 1
I remember like it was yesterday. I was standing next to pallets full of HP 4000 printers. You might recall these printers from about 20 years ago. They were exciting—not only because you could add extra paper trays, a duplexer and a network card—they were a status symbol. I mean what says “I work harder and waste more paper than the rest of you” more than a four-foot-tall printer with all kinds of gadgets and drawers occupying 16-square-feet of desk space?
But, as I stared at these printers, I wasn’t thinking about how cool I would be with one on my desk; I was getting excited because I was about to become a multi-millionaire. I had just learned there was a shortage of network cards in the market and the value of an HP 4000 card had gone up to over $150!
Some quick math convinced my 22-year-old brain that, at this rate, selling used IT gear would have me set for life by the time I was 35. The rest would be history: champagne, caviar, and own reality tv show; or, at the very least, being hunted down to write my best-selling memoir to inspire other young, hungry entrepreneurs.
Sadly, of course, none of this came true.
Putting in the Work, Sharing the Results
So, while I can’t offer any advice on how to get rich quick, I can say both myself and my team at Re-Source Partners have learned a lot over the years about the IT Asset Management industry. And I’d like to share some of that hard-earned knowledge now and throughout the year in hopes that our experience can help as we all face modern challenges and make hard decisions in the already complex field of ITAM.
Over the next several months we’ll be sharing some of these experiences in detail (warts and all). But, for now, I want to share how we started out and how we’ve evolved, along with some thoughts on how you might want to approach best practices today. I hope you find this interesting and valuable as you tackle your 2023 ITAM top priorities!
Nothing (and Everything) Has Changed
I’ve seen a lot of interesting things in my time at Re-Source Partners. But what fascinates me most is how much has changed, yet at the same time, how little has changed.
When we started Re-Source Partners in the early 2000s most of our business came from 3rd party leasing companies that needed someone who could maximize the resale of the assets they had previously leased to large enterprise clients. Companies like Re-Source Partners helped to arrange the logistics by working with the enterprise clients looking for instructions on how to return the PCs, printers, laptops, and other assets once their leases had expired.
Now, interestingly, Re-Source Partners was only brought in when that enterprise client kicked off the return process or gave notice to the leasing company. Why? At the time, much of the leasing company’s profits were dependent on how their clients behaved at the end of term. In other words, the lessors weren’t motivated to help in getting assets back on time–they just kept getting paid.
Fast forward a few years, and, no surprise, clients of these companies began to realize this way of doing business was costing them a lot of money. So, they began building some processes around monitoring and retiring their IT assets cost effectively. They also began to address the environmental and data security concerns inherent in retiring assets. ITAM had become about much more than just shipping an old printer back to its leasing agency when you were done with it.
And Re-Source Partners had to level up and shift focus from the Leasing companies to the End-user and became much more involved in understanding and designing the services necessary to support that need.
How did we do it? Find out in my next blog!