Hardware refurbishment, refurbished.

If it looks like a server, and works like a server, it’s a server.

Business continuity at a time of pause

The future has become a foreign place. They do things differently there. We’re all adapting. In all times of significant crisis, new ideas and ways of doing things emerge, as it becomes increasingly obvious that old ways are no longer going to cut it.

Organisations everywhere are contending with challenges they are just not used to having to deal with, particularly as the UK slides further and further into an enforced recession.

One of the biggest differences between this current, or imminent, economic downturn is that we have forewarning. This affords a little time to explore new options for business continuity, rather than facing a fresh barrage of unforeseen challenges every single day. Businesses can evaluate new strategies to cope with the changing landscape they operate in and re-evaluate practices that may well have been in need of review anyway, but would not necessarily have surfaced on the agenda as matters of expedience.

Procurement is one such area. IT infrastructure requires particular attention as corporate data centres, cloud and hosting companies, and any type of digital service provider, which are under increasing pressure as their services become even more in demand to support the new business landscape.

Buying agility

The new working practices (such as social distancing in the workplace) and new ideas (the corresponding widespread adoption of online collaborative tools) also must meet new expectations about how much they’re going to cost. Just because money is tight, however, does not mean that innovation and vision have to shrink?

The overriding challenge that many companies face is how to continue to deliver their core services just as smoothly and efficiently as they have before, while saving money. You can hear that old cliché clamouring for attention here: How to do more with less? Has never been as pertinent as it is now; in a world where businesses are struggling to survive, customer numbers are falling away, and revenues are dwindling. So now another question arises: How to do at least the same with less?

Unboxing the refurbishment option

As you look at the range of challenges you’re likely to be facing, and look also at the available budget you have to work with, you might be feeling that the two don’t correlate that well. There’s a lot to do and not a lot of available cash to do it with.

Now insert into that irreconcilable equation the idea of refurbished IT equipment. I know that, to many, the very idea might seem like an anathema. It’s also possible that you might not be entirely aware that there is a ready and waiting IT refurbished equipment market out there, more than capable of catering for the ongoing requirements of any type and size of organisation. It can also fulfil any type of equipment requirement, from complete solutions such as servers, storage and networking devices and so on, through to spare parts.

Whether you have your doubts about the suitability of refurbished equipment, or had not previously been aware that such an option existed, the first point to consider is how far it can go in optimising your budget. Savings of up to 60% and even 80% are possible.

The question then arises as to whether or not it can possibly be any good at such pricing levels; this is an area that has held many back in the past – this feeling that you might just be buying a whole bundle of new problems buried in old casings.

I’d suggest you might want to look again at that belief; a quick re-evaluation might bring you benefits you had previously been ignoring or assumed could simply not accrue with refurbished equipment.

So, there’s the pricing advantage for starters. The old view may have been “pay cheap, pay twice”, based on an assumption that you may have been risking performance, reliability, or even support, by going this route. None of them is true. Refurbished IT equipment is fully tested with the same rigour as applies to new, the same tests, the same scrutiny for quality, and the same diligence given to data security (all drives wiped clean of data, for example).

As to the support question, it’s a myth that you fly off into a void when you buy refurbished. As I mentioned, this is a ready and waiting market, but that doesn’t mean it has sprung up just in response to the current global situation. As long as there has been IT equipment around, there have been refurbished versions. The market is big too, and its success is based on its reputation.

Indeed, many major brand-leading vendors sell refurbished products. As much reassurance comes with refurbished equipment as comes with new; and this takes the form of a minimum 12-month warranty, or longer, and support options. A note of caution here, however. Buying from big-name vendors will still involve paying a premium. They are by far not the only way to go about it. Any reputable organisation in the refurbishment market will offer the same quality, reliability, test and warranties as the big names, but you’ll avoid higher prices.

New challenges, new strategies, new possibilities

In closing, I’d recommend that any business looking to stretch its budgets in the current market take a calculated assessment of alternative purchasing options. It’s not just an approach that will help alleviate budget pressures and keep everything functioning; it’s an approach that will enable you to buy more with less and make you wonder why you weren’t doing it in the first place.

It’s a new world we’re living in, with new thinking and new ways of doing things, none of which make it mandatory any more to keep buying new kit and paying top dollar for it. There’s one more cherry in this particular cake too; you’ll be contributing to the circular economy, since there’s no new environmental impact with every refurbished item you buy.

If you want to talk about a more agile approach to IT equipment procurement, and facing new challenges in new ways, please get in touch: [email protected].

Mark Wood
May 20, 2020
5 min read
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