“The circle is getting rounder”
Anyone with ambitions in circular IT soon comes across IT company NEG-ITSolutions. Not surprisingly, as the IT company from Nieuwegein near Utrecht has been optimising the life cycle of end-user hardware since 1993. Director Gerard Aldus looks back as well as ahead.
NEG-ITSolutions celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018. A time when Gerard saw the IT world grow towards a more sustainable vision of hardware. A transition in which he plays a pioneering role with NEG-ITSolutions.
“Not much has changed about the box itself, but everything around it looks different," he says. "Just think about the protection of company data
. That has really become a critical issue when replacing equipment. But it is just one of many factors that make the complete process around it more complex and challenging.”
And precisely that complete process is what sets NEG-ITSolutions apart. Whereas many other parties set up constructions with subcontractors, NEG actually has everything in-house. A good example of this is DaaS360.
Gerard: “The abbreviation DaaS stands for Device as a Service. It is a service that focuses entirely on the end user's device. This can be a laptop or PC, but also a tablet or smartphone. For a fixed monthly fee, things like the purchase process
and repairs are perfectly taken care of.”
“The addition 360 refers to our circular approach in this service," he continues. "A big advantage for the customer, as they don't really have to worry about their devices. We therefore provide the complete lifecycle: from advice on new devices
to the disposal
of existing devices and everything in between.”
Of course, disposing of existing devices is only one side of the story. Because most devices can still get a second life just fine. Within the customer's company or outside.
This way, sales yield a residual value that can be re-invested in the company. But many companies also choose to donate those devices as part of their CSR strategy through the NEG initiative ITdonations Foundation
“Often enough, companies knock on our door when it is actually already too late," Gerard explains. "Then they realise that they really need to clear out that storage area with those old notebooks. Of course we make sure that this is done in a safe way. But it's a shame when you hear that those devices have been there for a long time, while they could have been used perfectly well elsewhere.”
Gerard therefore still regularly encounters misconceptions when it comes to refurbished hardware: "The biggest misunderstanding is that no distinction is made between refurbished and second-hand. A second-hand product simply goes directly from one owner to another. With refurbished hardware, we really prepare a product for the next user.”
“All data is certified removed
, but the physical product itself is also thoroughly cleaned," Gerard explains. "Parts are replaced or improved and you get a clean software installation. So you have a product that is far superior to a second-hand one. Moreover, it also just comes with a warranty again.”
Let the IT department do what it is meant to do
Another thing that sets NEG-ITSolutions apart is process automation.
Gerard: "Did you know that replacing a workstation easily takes seven to 10 hours? That's a whole working day! We're talking about things like sorting out and ordering new equipment, coordinating with the employee, the associated administration, etc. You can imagine the impact that has on operations, especially in projects with hundreds or sometimes thousands of workstations.”
NEG-ITSolutions has incorporated all those tasks into a fully automated process with its own tooling
, which means the client simply doesn't have to worry about it anymore. Moreover, it is also pleasant for the employees themselves, who thus have more influence in the process. And just as important: the IT department is no longer burdened with this.
“It still happens regularly that an IT department circulates hundreds of e-mails for hardware replacement
," Gerard sighs. "They get 200 e-mails back, all of which they have to answer. Not to mention the time they spend installing the new ones, disposing of the old equipment and updating the CMDB.”
“That's obviously not what a department like this is for at all, you shouldn't have them lugging boxes around. Let those people do what they are good at. You will benefit from that in the end, too, in addition to the time and costs you save.”
And so the circle becomes ever rounder. This applies not only to the services
of NEG-ITSolutions, but especially to the companies they help. So that they get more value out of their IT and can focus even better on their core business.