‘Green’ may be the current buzzword within the ICT industry and providers of IT hardware have their fair share of environmental responsibility, but in reality, being truly environmentally responsible proves to be a challenging proposition for many companies within the IT supply chain, which are under constant pressure to buy the newest, latest product. However, there are simple steps that companies can take to break out of this cycle and to become more environmentally-friendly. First, it means that the pre-owned network equipment purchased doesn’t end up in landfill. Secondly it means that creating new products and the associated carbon footprint is avoided. Finally, because all equipment, once used, can be sold on to resellers, companies are spared the inconvenience of disposal. This series will look to break open the myth of ‘End of Life’ and will explore some of the environmental benefits of buying used network products. The Bigger Picture Identifying what individual companies can do to help the environment is crucial but it is often insightful to understand how manufacturer policies help drive future sales. In order to maintain expected growth and profit margins, manufacturers are in a fight to continually produce new goods and services. However, this constant manufacturing leads to shorter lifecycles and often unnecessary upgrades in the eyes of the customer. Resisting the urge to buy into the constant production cycle and listening to the manufacturer’s spiel can help prevent increasing your carbon footprint while saving significant capital along the way. It is not always necessary to upgrade and many consumers are tired of the pressure that manufacturers place on them. Generally, each upgrade only contains 5-20% of features that are relevant to a particular company. The other extra features are often surplus to the needs of the customer. These extra features are the result of competition between manufacturers. They are so keen to outpace one another in innovation that in some cases they are also beginning to outstrip the customer’s needs and are delivering increasingly sophisticated products which may be more advanced than the customer actually requires. This constant drive for innovation also shortens the product lifecycle and leads to faster consumption. New is not always better It is normal for people and companies to want the newest, latest equipment; everyone likes shiny new toys. However, many do not stop to consider whether they actually need new equipment. When it comes to upgrades, many companies are unsure which they can afford to miss. This is where external consultants can help. There are advisors on offer who can provide advice and help you weigh up the options. Some also provide software which will conduct a survey of a network and will tell you when products will no longer be supported by the manufacturer, as well as informing about the stability of a product. Companies should remain open to changing their perceptions of pre-owned equipment. Buying products from a reputable supplier of pre-owned equipment doesn’t necessarily mean they have to compromise on quality. This is a misconception that many people have. Specialists in pre-owned equipment also offer new products in addition to offering discontinued products as well as the services to maintain them. Buying from a reseller helps organisations realise significant cost reductions as it will not be the latest upgrade. Average discounts of products from providers of pre-owned equipment can be up to 70-80% off list prices. This makes upgrading equipment in itself cheaper, leaving extra money to grow the business. Is ‘End of Life’ really the end? Buying new equipment is just one end of the process – but what happens to the existing equipment? Obviously, sending equipment to landfill is the least environmentally-friendly method of disposal and so many companies choose to recyle. Recycling products in accordance with EU IEEE standards does not necessarily mean that the organization has done all it can do for the environment – but parting with used networking equipment in this way, can compliment a company’s overall green IT efforts. However, there is another way of disposing of equipment that many companies are not aware of. Selling your surplus equipment so that it can be used again is in fact the most environmentally-friendly method of all. The benefit of this approach is that the equipment can be used again straight away without needing to produce more products or recycle the old equipment. With the current pressure on companies to reduce their IT budgets, reusing surplus equipment is the most effective way of recycling as no part of the technology goes to waste. If a company simply agrees to sell its existing assets to a reseller when it has no more need for it then this in itself is a green step – small steps are just as important as big ones! The fact that companies can make money from selling their surplus equipment to resellers provides an added incentive. Pre-owned equipment providers can also make the process an easy one by determining the value of the product and taking care of the logistics of shipping it. Working with pre-owned equipment providers is a winning strategy. This approach significantly reduces a company’s carbon foot print and provides numerous value added services while significantly reducing costs.

Network Hardware Resale (NHR) is a leading provider of networking solutions that specialize in reducing IT costs. Based in Santa Barbara, Calif., the company is an independent reseller of pre-owned Cisco, Foundry and Juniper networking equipment as well as an authorized reseller of resilient, scalable equipment from Force10 Networks. NHR also offers cost-effective network management, asset management, alternative maintenance and technical support services. Founded in 1986, NHR provides global sales and technical support from its Santa Barbara, Dallas metro, New York City metro, Amsterdam, London and Singapore locations. Organizations worldwide purchase quality networking equipment from NHR, including Global 1000 companies, small and mid-sized enterprises, government entities, educational institutions, healthcare organizations and telecommunications service providers. For more information, visit www.networkhardware.com.

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