Strategy

Manage Your Product Lifecycle To Maximise Your Technology Investment

Organisations are going through a massive digital transformation. They are being asked to be highly flexible and adapt to new technologies, while at the same time managing shoestring budgets. With this transformation, organisations need a strong partner that can work with them to guide them through these complexities while maintaining their ability to successfully run their business.

Everything from workstations, to mobile devices and tablets, to smartphones and communications equipment, to point of purchase systems, to field equipment and data storage, computing and networking and applications – these components are essential to even the least technology-savvy organizations. Every organisation has a different mix of assets necessary to their successful operation, and very rarely do businesses have a “one size fits all” approach to their technology solutions. Business technology solutions are like snowflakes – no two are the same.

But there is one thing every organisation has in common – that’s a desire to maximise their investments and receive a good return and value on the money they spend to improve their business.

When it comes to optimising value from your technology investments and even finding a way for your technology equipment to add to your bottom line, organisations need to make sure they are thinking beyond just current utilisation of their assets. Organisations need to fully understand how every link in their technology supply chain can lead to significant savings, or even untapped revenue streams if executed properly.

It helps to think of the entire lifecycle of your technology equipment, from before you even begin to use your assets to what you will do with them at the end of their useful life. Pay particular attention to the end of life of these products, a period when most are not paying attention to a vital part of the supply chain known as reverse logistics. This graphic shows where you should be paying attention as your products mature over their lifespan.

There are several steps along the technology product lifecycle where organisations can improve efficiencies, minimise down-time, save costs, reduce complexities, and improve time-to-market. Are you thinking about your technology investment and implementing improvements and processes to maximise the lifespan and reduce costs along the lifecycle? Let’s take a look at six areas where you focus your attention to begin to see immediate results.

Supply Chain

Maximizing the value of your technology equipment doesn’t just involve the equipment itself, but the entire process of purchasing, receiving, shipping, and warehousing your equipment, so it’s ready to plug and play, delivered where you need it when you need it. Ask yourself if your equipment manufacturer or reseller partner is offering services that help you manage your inventory. Are they capable of safely and securely transporting your equipment to locations where you need it? Every step in the process of getting your technology to the location where you need it to operate is an important one, so make sure you are managing these processes efficiently or working closely with a partner that can handle the volume and timing of your distribution, fulfillment, and third party logistics needs.

Configuration and Customization

Every organisation has unique technology needs to accomplish their tasks, and your technology equipment should be properly configured and customised to your singular specifications. Let’s face it – you want your equipment to arrive at your location all set up and ready to plug in, turn on, and start using to support your business. That means it should be tested in a lab prior to shipping, making sure all of the solutions you need are properly installed by specialists. Perhaps it makes sense to engage a partner that can provide services like hardware, software, and networking setup, asset tagging, custom labeling and packaging, firmware updates or other offerings so you can continue to perform essential business functions. Remember, lost time or malfunctioning equipment costs you losses in revenues and opportunities.

Integration

Rarely does an organisation utilise technology solutions from only one manufacturer, so it is imperative to understand how your different technology must work together to function optimally. There are literally thousands of manufacturers out there of hardware, software, storage solutions and more, all of which can be used to build custom business technology solutions for companies like yours. Making sure your expert team (or trusted technology partner) has the know-how to design, build, test, and implement integrated systems into your environment is essential. Do they offer services like engineering support, rack assembly, cable management and testing, custom imaging, and other integration services that will create value for you as you use these systems?

Support Services

Manufacturers or third party “white label” or “private label” organisations offer support services for your technology, via phone, live chat, email, or on website portals. Level 1, 2, and 3 support functions, as well as remote access support, can help you maintain your own equipment and, with capable support assistance and predictive maintenance, effectively diagnose, troubleshoot and repair your equipment in real time. Remember, the more time your equipment is up and running optimally is the more time your business is focused on serving your customers and maximising your revenue.

Repair Services

From time to time, your equipment will break, malfunction, or require repair. And lost equipment time can easily translate into lost revenue. Keeping your equipment in full working order and offering the ability to quickly diagnose and repair your equipment, either in a qualified lab or in your business environment, is essential to your technology investment. Making sure your equipment is in top performance shape maximises the life-span of your technology, decreases the frequency of down-time, and helps your equipment retain its value as it approaches the end of its useful life.

End-of-Life and Asset Disposition

When it is time to refresh your old technology equipment, you will want to make sure that you are doing it in the safest, secure, environmentally friendly, and perhaps most important to your business, economical way possible. If you have maintained the value of your previous equipment, there could be significant cost savings in trade value for your retiring technology. And anything with a memory will need to be erased and wiped clean from all data, both to industry and government security standards. In some cases, this may even require the destruction or shredding of hard drives and other memory devices. Select a partner with the experience and capability to handle your unique asset disposition needs.

Businesses are wise to consider this value proposition when selecting their technology supply chain partner; they should choose an organisation that has experts in product lifecycle solutions and that can serve as a single-source provider and trusted advisor throughout the continuum of a company’s hardware asset investments. It is equally important to select an organisation that is able to collaborate with customers, partners, integrators, and suppliers to maximise the potential of assets with end-to-end solutions – from design, through integration, deployment, and maintenance to disposition and disposal.

A capable technology supply chain organisation with this kind of strength and agility can help you transform your technology into business solutions, no matter the industry, on any continent, and at any stage of the product lifecycle.

About the Author

Martin Willemsen serves as the general manager, Product Support Services, a business unit of Tech
Data Services APAC. Martin has 25+ years in the technology business. He is a highly energised and
results-oriented entrepreneurial, accountable for the entire services business P&L that includes IT
Product Support Services, Technology Integration and Professional Services. He is responsible for
business development, building and managing teams to drive profitable Services growth and to achieve
Tech Data’s Global Lifecycle Management Services’ financial goals across Asia Pacific and Japan.

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