Gartner is predicting that by 2030 80% of hardware vendors’ product portfolio will be linked to circular initiatives, up from 20% in 2023. With that in mind, we take a look at some of the barriers that vendors like Cisco will need to overcome to increase adoption.
Used IT equipment of all types is often all considered the same, judged through a negative lens and fuelled by misconceptions. It is mistakenly considered unreliable and too great a risk due to its perceived inferior second-hand condition. This is particularly true for large-scale mission-critical networking and communications infrastructure or data storage facilities, where the cost of downtime caused by technology failure can be commercially disastrous.
As a result, any recognition of the cost-savings from remanufactured technology is over-ridden by the lack of trust in its reliability and quality. Moreover, organisations that have been let down in the past by unreliable used IT equipment often go on to implement blanket policies preventing the procurement of anything other than new products.
This lack of understanding of how ‘used’ equipment can vastly differ becomes an unnecessary barrier to the adoption of authorised remanufactured equipment.
The irony is that manufacturers like HPE and Cisco use remanufactured equipment in their critical infrastructure support contracts. If equipment fails, the replacement provided (as part of the service contract) has to be fully relied upon and for this, the manufacturers use remanufactured equipment. Businesses in our Sustainable IT Group have utilised used equipment in organisations as broad as the Ministry of Defence, the NHS, Universities and Councils. Mission critical infrastructure relies on used technology as it’s reliable, known and often has less DoA (dead on arrival) rates than new.
“If equipment fails, the replacement provided (as part of the service contract) has to be fully relied upon and for this the manufacturers use remanufactured equipment.“
Traditional product-based business models rely on sales volume for profit. For consumer technology, financial success for brands such as Apple and Microsoft is driven by the relentless end-user addiction to new.
Parallels can be found within enterprise IT, where the sales commission structures encourage short continuous contract upgrade cycles and revenue is prioritised over environmental needs.
Remanufactured technology offers savings on new equipment, often up to 20%. This remanufactured technology is supplied with the same warranties and support as new having been remanufactured in the original manufacturers’ circular economy programme.
We use remanufactured technology to extend the lifetime of our customers’ existing platforms. We blend remanufactured technology into network upgrades and network architecture design, and every time remanufactured technology is used, it has a positive impact on carbon emissions, resource use and eWaste.
Organisations are largely unaware of the environmental impact of their IT systems and of the alternative sustainable solutions. A 2021 report by global technology consultants Capgemini highlighted that only 11% of organisations have deployed measures to reduce the carbon footprint of their networks and communications systems, while only 23% of IT teams and a staggeringly low 3% of procurement and sourcing teams are aware or implement sustainable IT initiatives.
Networking and communications technology is overshadowed by the more obvious focus on devices and is rarely considered a priority when organisations are looking at reducing their carbon footprint. Finally, only 2% of supply chain and logistics teams implement any sustainable IT practices, highlighting the almost blanket lack of awareness of how it can significantly mitigate supply chain risk.
With global supply chain shortages, increased costs, tightening budgets and greater awareness of the scarcity of natural resources, it really is time to embrace remanufactured technology as a solution to these challenges. We have worked with hundreds of customers over the last 14 years as we change perceptions of remanufactured IT. Customers, such as Colt, are seeing first-hand that the reliability and performance remain best of class, that it’s better for our planet and that it’s better for their budgets.