The critical role of lifecycle management

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With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), there are a growing number of systems and devices to manage, increasing the hidden risks and dangers of outdated technology and necessitating that equipment resale and maintenance contracts are in order.

With so much choice and differing pricing structures in the marketplace, many enterprises are choosing to shop around and consolidate their resale and maintenance contracts under one umbrella. This way they can track their assets more easily and, if chosen wisely, can get the same level of service for less with third-party support.

Complex enterprise IT infrastructures incorporate software and hardware from multiple vendors, each with their own processes, systems and contract deliverables. This can be extremely time consuming to manage and often requires dedicated software and contract management personnel. Consolidating contracts makes lifecycle management far easier and frees up IT departments' time to focus on core business projects.

This is exactly why IT roadmaps should also include an inventory of end of life (EOL) and last date of support (LDoS). This helps to provide clearly traceable costs and enables resources to be allocated appropriately, upgrades arranged where required and obsolete devices taken out of the workspace. Such asset control requires a standardized methodology for collecting and reporting on hardware and software assets to help ensure nothing is missed from the inventory.

Tracking assets

The older your devices, operating systems or applications are, the more vulnerable they are to attack from malicious actors, especially if the manufacturer is no longer maintaining support and updates are unavailable. Office 2007 products and services reached the end of their extended support towards the end of 2017, for example, meaning that there are no new security updates, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates available. Yet you will still find departments clinging to certain solutions.

A recent study by the Ponemon Institute found that 85 percent of organizations are not tracking IoT inventory, and there is no centralized responsibility for enterprise devices in the workplace.

The reality, however, is that updates are being rolled out on a regular basis and, if they are not installed immediately or patches are missed, the consequences could be dire. Take credit rating company Equifax, which suffered an enormous data breach because it failed to update a software component that was known to be vulnerable. Just like an insurance policy, resale and maintenance contracts allow enterprises to stop worrying about such devastating scenarios.

When the time for change comes

It is imperative that enterprises actively manage risks related to securing obsolete systems and solutions. Vendors usually provide plenty of notice for LDoS. With global organizations dealing with large inventories, it is critical that this is accurately tracked, mapping connected systems and identifying their purpose and content.

Data on obsolete devices should be secured. It is important to choose an ITAD (IT Asset Disposition) service partner to make sure all data is secured, wiped or destroyed. Ensure all data disposal is backed by a third-party proof of audit, such as SERI Responsible Recycling Practice for Use in Accredited Certification Programs (R2).

In addition, in the refresh cycle it is advisable to check if there is a route available to exploit new technologies. It may, for example, be possible to deliver a router with virtualized functions or SD-WAN capabilities inherently built in. One new customer we recently spoke to, for example, said they wished they had spoken to us way before they had refreshed a like-for-like infrastructure. They are now burdened with a solution they have invested in that inherently limits their ability to deliver a software-defined solution utilizing automated and policy-based networking.

Asset lifecycle management plays a key role

Asset lifecycle management (ALM) plays a crucial part in understanding the lifecycle stage of your assets. ALM helps you to make informed purchasing decisions on your technology needs and service.

As part of this compliance, audits are essential to minimize the financial penalties associated with the over subscription of licenses. With regards to asset acquisitions, this helps to weed out any possible duplication. A robust risk management strategy allows assets containing sensitive data to be validated and the appropriate security controls allocated.

This all helps to provide a seamless IT experience, which is an essential metric to quality of service and productivity.

The complexity of support contracts

With so much choice and confusion in the marketplace around vendor support contracts, many enterprises are choosing to put them all under one umbrella contract so they have a 360 degree view of their assets and what is covered. Orange Business Services, for example, provides a single equipment and resale contract that consolidates multiple maintenance contracts into a single global contract, backed by 1,000 engineers in 196 countries.

When assets are ready to be decommissioned, the single vendor support contract will attain any OEM credits on contracts and deal with asset resale or consignment. Contract renewals can often be negotiated alongside new purchases.

Understanding lifecycle management across an enterprise is imperative now, but also in planning for the future and should be a fundamental part of digital transformation strategies. By consolidating resale and maintenance contracts, enterprises can also take advantage of volume discounts on newer products, keep maintenance costs in check and optimize performance to ensure maximum productivity.

As a global service provider, we can offer a single contract to cover equipment, installation and maintenance. Find out more in this fact sheet.

Marie Anthony
Marie Anthony

I am a sales expert for Integration Services. I work with existing and new customers in the global deployment of equipment, software and services, maintenance takeover and transition to managed services and professional services. In my spare time I like to bake cakes and walk my dogs.