For as long as organizations have been investing in new IT assets, they’ve also been retiring the old ones—all the servers, hard drives, laptops and other databearing IT devices that have reached their end of life.

Formally, this process is known as ITAD—IT Asset Disposition. ITAD has always been a necessity, but frequently not viewed as a priority. However, that’s now changing.

This Executive Guide to ITAD looks at this shift and what it means for CIOs and other C-suite executives focusing on three key factors: (1) what’s now driving the demand for ITAD; (2) why it’s critical to make ITAD part of overall Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM); and (3) the core ITAD services to focus on when deciding whether to do ITAD in-house or rely on a third-party ITAD vendor.


While there’s always been a need for ITAD, here’s why it’s now on about every CIO and tech executive’s radar:

Volume: Computers once took up whole rooms; most organizations had just one (if they had one at all), and they lasted for years. Now—thanks to relentless, semiconductor-led miniaturization, shorter product cycles, the rise of cloud services, the rapid growth of mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices and more—the number of new IT assets that get acquired and old IT assets that get retired has increased exponentially. Then add in the post-pandemic surge in IT spending as organizations reconfigure offices for social distancing and remote working. Given all of this, is it any surprise that electronic waste—e-Waste—is today’s fastest growing stream of waste?

Sustainability: The dramatic escalation in the amount of e-Waste coincides with a greater global concern over carbon footprint. Sustainability and the circular economy are now getting board-level attention. Some 90% of S&P 500 Index companies now publish sustainability reports, a percentage that’s been steadily increasing over the years. While cloud migration and tech refreshes are the triggers that make companies dispose of old IT assets, supporting environmental sustainability goals is the number one reason they turn to ITAD.

Legal/compliance: The focus on sustainability coincides with increased legal and regulatory responses to the threats that careless management of old IT assets pose to both the environment and data security. In the United States, some 25 states plus the District of Columbia have adopted laws on IT recycling (and in some cases on data security as well), establishing penalties for disposal processes that are mismanaged. Ontario, Canada has started enforcement of its goal to achieve 70% recycling of e-Waste by 2021. In Europe, the Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) both include provisions for proper disposal of IT devices.


New business mandates supporting sustainability goals and compliance requirements have led many organizations to rethink their approach to IT Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM)—making sure that technology resources are used as effectively as possible and that organizations have the systems in place to meet current demands and future needs.

A comprehensive approach to ALM typically involves activities such as procurement, deployment, administration, performance optimization and continuity planning. IT asset disposition has always been a phase of ALM, but traditionally not accorded the same level of attention as, for example, asset deployment. Now that has changed.

In addition to sustainability and data security concerns, there is also a recognition that responsible disposition is now a sensible business decision on its own terms.

Today’s product life cycles may be shorter, but IT assets can have a useful lifespan of many years. Remarketing or redeploying them can lower Total Cost of Ownership.


There are many aspects to ITAD— it can include asset identification, transportation, testing, data sanitization, value recovery, etc. The specific ITAD services that any one organization requires will vary based on considerations such as the scale of the undertaking (number of IT assets, locations, etc.), legal/compliance requirements and the organization’s level of commitment to sustainability goals.

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