The life cycle management of IT equipment continues to gain in importance as we rely more and more on technology. It becomes even more essential as companies grow larger and division of labour becomes more pronounced. From procurement to disposal, processes need to be put into place at every step of the IT asset life cycle to ensure that money and resources are properly utilized to drive innovation with a minimum of waste. So, what stage does procurement fall within the IT equipment’s life cycle management? To help answer this question we study asset life cycle management and identify its five key stages.
If we want to get technical with this question, the fact is that asset life cycle management is a never ending circle without a true beginning or end. Once a company has established itself, its IT equipment can be found in every part of the cycle which makes it difficult to establish a beginning and an end. However, for the sake of this article, we’ll identify the start of the cycle as the introduction of a new piece of IT equipment or the procurement stage.
Procurement is the process of acquiring a piece of IT equipment. An ideal procurement process will identify the needs of the company and fulfill those needs within the given budget and timelines. Internal research must be done in order to determine exactly what the company’s needs are and the budget available to attain those needs. External research will need to be done to identify and source the ideal piece of equipment to meet the company’s needs. Suppliers will need to be selected, prices and timelines negotiated, purchases orders made, invoices received and paid, the order received, and the proper internal paperwork completed.
Deployment refers to the part of the asset life cycle where a series of actions are carried out to allow the equipment to be put into use. It may include checking, assembling, testing, engineering, designing and installing. Deployment plans are especially important when it comes to IT equipment because of the risk of causing a cascade of problems in other equipment if things are done improperly.
Utilization is where the equipment is actually put into use. Ideally the utilization phase of the asset life cycle will be the longest lasting stage of them all. In this phase the company should realize the expected amount of output that was called for in the procurement phase. The equipment needs to be monitored and evaluated throughout this part of the cycle to ensure that it’s continuing to do the job properly.
Maintenance normally occurs alongside the utilization phase to help the equipment last as long as possible and facilitate the greatest amount of productivity. Maintenance procedures are put into place to ensure that any required updates, modifications and adjustments are made to ensure proper functioning. Expiry dates and warranty requirements need to be noted and acted upon as necessary to ensure the equipment remains supported.
When the equipment’s useful lifespan comes to an end, it needs to be disposed of properly. This is important from both environmental and security standpoints. It’s also just as necessary to avoid doing this too early as it is to avoid doing it too late. Policies and procedures should be standardized to make it universally understood when and how the disposal phase needs to be enacted.
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