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IT Asset Disposition: A guide to working with Service Providers to prioritize your annual budget before it’s frozen (or gone)

Welcome to the Q4 countdown!

For companies of all sizes and industries, December isn’t just holiday mayhem, it’s also the end of the fiscal year. That means that any incomplete initiatives, projects and budgets have to be “in the bag” or the allocated funds will be frozen or, worse, just disappear. For the tax-aware, it’s also the critical deadline for getting IT assets (“equipment”) off the books.

No pressure.

For ITADs, VARs, MSPs, resellers and TPM, October/November is the scramble to complete complex bids and quotes for end-of-year projects that may include:

Step 1: Know your IT Asset Disposition project inside and out

Understand the project scope in as much detail as possible so that your ITAD, VAR, MSP, reseller and TPM can quote and schedule the work accurately. When EOY projects are at stake, the deviation between what is quoted and what is actual can cause time delays (pushing projects in January), requoting and, an opportunity for a data breach if data destruction services are delayed.

We have three examples showing actual project variances between the requested project scope and the final deliverables. It doesn’t take much to understand how the change in scope affected the timing and budget of Projects 1 and 2:

Initial scope of workFinal project definition
Project Example 1: Data Center Decommissioning5 cabinets
Estimated assets: 119 
Data Destruction: Erasure
Notes: Some assets are heavy
5 de-cabled cabinets; some gear has been de-racked; 
(2) 8U devices approximately 150 lbs each require a serverlift
Offsite erasure of 2 trays x 80 HDDs (total 320TB)
Data center equipment (racks and drives) white glove packed and securely shipped from VA to TX
Project Example 2:
IT asset scan and reconciliation
1 building – 2 floors
700 misc assets
Project timing: 4-5 days 
Location: NYC financial district
1 building – 30 floors 
3234 assets – audit, scan and reconcile (1753 LCDs, 621 notebooks, 575 desktops, 290 printers, 15 gaylords of misc e-waste)
Onsite grading of all data-bearing assets
Onsite erasure of 293 notebooks/desktop (graded above client tech cutline)
Onsite removal, scan and shred of hard drives (graded as below client’s tech cutline)
All IT assets white glove packed and securely shipped from NYC to ATL
Project timing: 6-8 weeks
Project Example 3: Data Center Decommissioning, Packing & LogisticsPart A: Decommissioning
27 racks – de-rack, onsite HDD and SSD shred
Heavy equipment includes 4 VMAX cabinets (3000+ lbs) and 5 VNX Cabinets (2500+lbs)
White glove packing and secure logistics from San Diego to Phoenix
Part B: Lift and Shift
Secure truck, point to point Estimated weight 5000 lbs
Crate provided by client for one of 3 cabinets (2 more cabinets needed)
Pack all box cables for repurpose
White glove packing and secure logistics from San Diego to Baltimore
Site requirements
350 ft Masonite floor covering 
Afterhours loading
Liftgate truck 
Freight elevator access
Few quoting/scope adjustments due to accurate and detailed project evaluation.
Project completed on time to the client’s satisfaction.

Step 2: Start working on IT Asset Disposition approvals (now)

When timing is tight, start greasing the approval wheels early even if the project scope isn’t completely finalized.

  1. Confirm budgetary ceilings and approval processes.
  2. Confirm deadlines and stakeholders.
  3. Understand the levels of approvals you’ll need for larger projects and bigger budgets (if your manager can approve up to $10k and you’ve got a $50k project that needs to be completed by December 31st, work with your manager to pave a path to pre-approvals or quick turnarounds)
  4. Compile a list of questions and concerns to remove stumbling blocks and delays.
  5. Talk to your ITAD, VAR, Reseller and MSP now to get them prepared for quoting turnaround

Step 3: Focus on the IT Asset Disposition project details

The key to avoiding delays is an accurate assessment of project quantities, equipment type, sizes, locations services to be done. The more detail that you can provide from your internal staff including photos, diagrams, counts and checkboxes, the more certain the ITAD, VAR and Guardian can be for both quoting and scheduling perfectly! And, if you’re trying to get the job done by December 31st, an upfront and accurate assessment is a far more relaxing way to enjoy the holidays.

Use this suggested checklist to gather as much project information as possible:

  • Overall Project Definition (one or combination)
    • ☐ Cage/Cabinet/Office cleanout
    • ☐ Hardware disposition
    • ☐ Data Destruction
    • ☐ Audit/Scan/Reconciliation combination
    • ☐ Audit/Scan/Reconciliation combination
  • Project goal
    • ☐ Return retained value (remarketing)
    • ☐ Net zero (cost of e-waste event is offset by return value of equipment)
    • ☐ IT assets must be off the books for tax purposes
  • Project absolutes
    • ☐ Timing/deadlines
    • ☐ Target date of execution
    • ☐ Personnel (Point of Contact, Decision-makers, Project Manager)
    • ☐ Contingencies
  • Project deliverables
    • ☐ Data destruction reporting + certificates
    • ☐ Asset tracking (audit, inventories, images, video)
    • ☐ Logistics tracking (GPS, video,Chain of Custody, BOL, ATF)
  • ☐ IT Asset quantities by type/model
    • ☐ Existing documentation (diagrams, rack elevations, inventory lists)
    • ☐ Servers (U-size: 1U-2U; 4U-6U; 8U+)
    • ☐ Network Gear (switches, storage, U-size: 1U-2U; 4U-6U; 8U+)
    • ☐ Racks/Server Cabinets (6’, 7’, 8’)
    • ☐ Desktop computers
    • ☐ Monitors (stands attached/detached)
    • ☐ Printers/Copiers/Kiosks
    • ☐ Laptops
    • ☐ Peripherals
    • ☐ Phone systems
    • ☐ Other IT-related assets
  • Service(s) desired (one or all) by equipment type
    • ☐ Audit, scanning, verification
    • ☐ Grading and sorting
    • ☐ Decommissioninging (racks, networks, servers, storage, cable trays, cable mining, CRAC units, generator, decabling)
    • ☐ Lift/shift (servers, networks, storage equipment)
    • ☐ Packing (EOL or White Glove)
    • ☐ Installations (including cable mapping, rack elevations, powering up/down)
    • ☐ Data Destruction (Shred/Erasure/Degauss/Other and Onsite/Offsite)
    • ☐ Factory resets (switches, firewalls, routers, server remote access)
    • ☐ Sorting for disposition (recycling vs warehouse)
    • ☐ Consolidation &/or Warehousing
  • Packing (defined by IT asset or project)
    • ☐ EOL or White Glove
    • ☐ Custom Crating and Shock Pallets
  • Logistics  (defined by IT asset or project)
    • ☐ Secure or Dedicated Services
    • ☐ Lease Returns
    • ☐ Multiple Shipping destinations
    • ☐ Guardian or your carrier
    • ☐ Multiple destinations (based on equipment, EOL, etc.)
  • Logistics  (defined by IT asset or project)
    • ☐ Service Address
    • ☐ Type of facility (full site, colocation, cage, office, closet, etc.)
    • ☐ Loading dock access and height
    • ☐ Regular, after hours or weekend hours
    • ☐ Floor covering required
    • ☐ Power available
    • ☐ Freight elevator available
    • ☐ Space set aside for staging and workflow (including pallets and Gaylords)
    • ☐ Escort required
    • ☐ Access

A final word on IT Asset Disposition

As the end of the year draws near, the absence of time has a direct impact on project accuracy (all of step 3 above).  With over fifteen years of data destruction and data center projects, we realize that many projects trickle through multiple layers until it ultimately lands on someone’s desk who becomes  “the” responsible party to get it done – no matter what.

Marvel at these entertainingly-inaccurate project scopes that were all finished satisfactorily!

Guardian works with our ITADS, VARs, MSPs and resellers to ensure that the job scope is as accurate as possible before the job begins. Once we’re onsite, our project leads will work with the primary onsite contact (POC), the project’s lead decision-maker and our project managers to immediately outline variances and suggested solutions so that the work is minimally delayed. Quick responses and quick approvals keep everyone on track.

That onsite escalation process is how Guardian handles discrepancies year-round but it’s especially important when the fiscal year is riding on absolute project completion by December 31.

If you’re not talking to your VAR or ITAD already for a project that’s got a drop-dead 2023 deadline, do not delay.

Guardian channel partners, don’t delay if you need help with a particularly gnarly or cumbersome quote. Talk to us immediately to pinpoint gaps and ask the right questions.

After all, December is the traditional season of goodwill, so let’s work together to get your projects done on time. And be jolly!

With Guardian Data Destruction, you'll never have to worry or second-guess.

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