Katherine Vines Nov 3, 2021 3:40:53 PM 13 min read

Deciding When to Retire Corporate Laptops and PCs

Suggesting that technology is important to modern businesses operations is an understatement. We are in the age of email threads, pivot tables, and virtual meetings, a life dependent upon devices for basic business functionality. Providing employees with devices is commonplace, but with the rapid progression of technology and new versions of devices released every year, you must ask yourself, “when and how devices should be replaced?” 

Should devices be replaced when the OEM warranty expires? On a scheduled basis (every 5 years for example)? Or just when the device stops functioning? Ultimately, this answer is not a one-size-fits-all. As IT assets age, new software updates and programs require more resources to function effectively. You must balance the speed and storage needed to have a productive workforce with the need to maintain a technology budget. 

Top Recommendation: OEM Warranty 

OEM warranties, or Original Equipment Manufacturer warranties, typically cover laptops and desktop computers for three years. During this period, the manufacturer will cover repairs to defective hardware. Once this period expires, it is the responsibility of the company to repair or replace devices. With a scheduled refresh aligned with warranty expiration,, you minimize the risk of employees' productivity uptime.  

We know what you're thinking: isn’t this the worst solution for the environment? Advocating for environmentally sustainable IT disposal practices is central to our DMD values, so we would never recommend an unsustainable solution. Replacing IT Assets after OEM warranties expire does not mean sending thousands of laptops to the scrapyard in exchange for the newest models. When working with a responsible ITAD provider like DMD, the IT assets will be remarketed and given a second or a third life. By remarketing your devices to other business or educational institutes that don’t need the latest technology, you are providing access to affordable options to the next generation of innovators. You will ensure digital literacy for our society’s next generation of leaders. It is a true win-win scenario. Your business has new devices compatible with the programs and software needed to support large-scale growth and your retired hardware has a guaranteed secondary life bringing value to your community and our future. 

Secondary Recommendation: Set Replacement Schedule  

Replacing devices on a set schedule (every 3-5 years) is an option that many companies choose to reduce their IT budget and provide predictability. Using devices longer allows your IT budget to stretch further. Environmentally speaking, keeping devices in field will always be a better option than disposing. The concern and business impact is devices may fail prior to the retirement date, leaving employees without a device until a new device can be purchased or the current one can be fixed.  

An option that is seldom considered is purchasing a warranty extension program (called Third Party Maintenance) through a qualified ITAD company, like DMD. With programs like this, DMD provides a warranty similar to the OEM warranty for a period of time. DMD uses parts with Certificates of Conformity to fix and replace defective parts during the program. Programs like this eliminate the concerns and issues of an  employee without a functional device. Devices in warranty extension programs will be in use for longer periods of time within your company, meaning that they will reach retirement age and not be eligible for remarketing to other businesses or educational institutions. You can rest easy knowing that individual components will be reused to extend the life of other devices. This is not the best option for the environment, but it will always be better than mindlessly tossing devices into a storage closet or sending to a scrap facility.  

Not Recommended: Device Failure 

Waiting to replace a device until it fails is like waiting to purchase an umbrella until the next thunderstorm. You end up soaked and ticked off that you didn’t get an umbrella sooner. This option, while it may seem to be the most cost effective and most environmentally sustainable, leaves too much risk of failure. Your employee productivity will take a hit if devices start to fail and a plan is not in place to replace them in a timely manner.  

The chances of refurbishing or reusing failed devices is low. This eliminates your chances to remarket the device for a second or third life, furthering a negative environmental footprint.  

Final Consideration 

Preparation before the storm is never the definition of fun, but it is something that you will thank yourself for down the road. Take a seat, and contemplate the following question: what is my top priority. Is it to take a sustainable route and give back to the community? Is it to maintain your IT budget to allow for funds to circulate other in departments? Or, do you have a different goal that you need to meet? Replacing devices as the OEM warranty expires remains our top recommendation due to its low environmental impact, and positive societal significance, and low risk of failure during your possession. With the implementation of a warranty extension plan, a viable second option can be found in replacing devices on a timed schedule. This option can boast a positive environmental impact, as the devices are used for longer time periods by your staff, but the chances that the devices won’t be remarketed due to advanced age are higher. Our last, and not recommended option is to replace devices when they fail in use. This option sounds sustainable, as the devices will be in use. However, the device will only have one life and will not reap the benefits of certified repairs like devices with OEM warranties or those with warranty extensions.  

The one aspect that rains true for all replacement schedules is the need for proper tracking of devices internally and for data sanitization prior to IT asset retirement. Knowing the age of all the company devices, which employees have what devices, and where designated collection sites are located are necessary to create a smooth-flowing IT asset transfer process. Once the devices are collected, the data needs to be sanitized. Failure to properly sanitize company data prior to disposal could be detrimental to your company reputation, bank account, and acquiring future clients. Time and time again, we have seen data leaks from improper data sanitation have caused lawsuits and years of legal issues. Save yourself grey hair by contracting ITAD services to handle data destruction. Regardless of which recommendation best suits your business, it is critical and ubiquitous that you need proper ITAD. 

Don’t know where to start with finding an ITAD company? Read 5 Questions to Ask when Contracting an ITAD Company. This blog post breaks down the five most common questions asked when searching for ITAD services. Have a burning question that is more specific to your company? Email Info@dmdsystems.com and one of our ITAD experts will be happy to answer all your questions.