Lifecycle replacement (LCR) is the process to maintain functionality and user productivity through the plan to acquire, track, support, and decommission hardware like laptops, desktop computers, printers, and other technology equipment.
Lifecycle replacement is also referred to as hardware refreshment, asset management or IT asset management (ITAM). In fact, the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers (IAITAM) exists to support and educate technology specialists responsible for asset management and other technology functions.
The downsides of not having an LCR plan for your organization are many. According to Gartner, “Failure to take a holistic view of PC lifecycle services can lead to inefficiencies, duplication, omissions and, ultimately, unnecessary cost — essentially raising the total cost of ownership (TCO).”
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
In fact, not having a plan is costly, primarily due to the reactive nature of fixing or replacing broken devices as a result of failure. This downtime in any organization is typically an emergency because broken devices result in work stoppage, and no one is just sitting around these days.
Very large organizations may have IT personnel dedicated to asset management, or even a department that specializes in managing the organization’s technology investments. More common, however, may be the businesses that limp along without a plan, work from an outdated form, or otherwise, struggle to keep a robust LCR plan updated and in progress.
So you have a couple of choices. You can create, implement, and manage your own plan, or you can find a partner to help you. Read on to learn which option might be right for you.
Let’s take a look at some of the equipment that might be included in your plan:
- Desktop PC = 3-5 years
- Laptop PC = 5+ years (Battery life averages 18-24 months, depending on use)
- LCD Monitor = 10+ years
- Cell phones = 4-5 years (But operating system updates or cell phone feature changes typically drive shorter ownership timeframes)
- Server =3-5 years
- Copiers/Office printers = 10 years when owned; leased equipment is typically replaced every 3 years
- Network desktop printer = 5 years
Create a plan.
There are countless resources you can pull together to ensure you’ve considered all the steps in your plan. From our research, here are some of the elements that might be included:
- Vendor selection
- Contract negotiation
- Payment or Financing
- Hardware configuration
- System image development
- Delivery, training, and installation
- Help Desk and end-user support
- Asset management
- Configuration management
- Vendor management
- Repair and maintenance
- Software updates
- Collection of asset
- System sanitization and decommissioning
- License reassignment/reclaim
- Replacement evaluation
- Disposal or redeployment
How to choose a partner to manage your LCR.
When you choose a partner, many considerations will help you earn the trust you need to feel comfortable that your assets are going to be managed with the same care you or your team might provide. Here are some things to consider when selecting an LCR partner.
- You gain the strength of a whole organization that specializes in LCR and asset management.
- Partners have pre-established methods and processes to follow, based on industry best practice and experience.
- Partners may have repair capabilities to help you extend the life of your technology hardware. In many cases, this can save you from replacement costs as repair is typically a fraction of the cost.
- You can more easily manage updates and upgrades. Your partner should help you establish a plan to keep your assets up-to-date to ensure optimal performance.
- Evaluating replacement is more straightforward with data. Your partner will keep records of failures, which can help you determine when to replace, and if a specific type of equipment is unusually problematic.
Lifecycle replacement plans help your organization maximize the life of your technology equipment, and minimize costs of replacement. Whether you have and can manage your plan, or rely on a partner, the most important thing is to have a plan.