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Blog Series: ITAM in a perfect world. Post #4 – The Retire Process

Blog Series: ITAM in a perfect world. Post #4 – The Retire Process

Retire Process

In a truly perfect world IT Assets never break and never need to be replaced… … … time to wake up!

OK I’ll try this again with a bit of realism…

In a perfect world, the retire process would be completely proactive. Requests would be automatically generated to initiate the process of retiring IT Assets at the end of their useful life. Where necessary, the process of deploying replacement IT Assets would also be initiated and timed to ensure that there isn’t any disruption in business activities. Then, the retired assets would be prepared for disposal (more on that in next week’s blog post).

Let’s get back to the real world

It’s all about the stakeholders…. Isn’t it always!!!

The reality is that stakeholders, one way or another, influence, participate in and benefit from a well define Retire process. Information gathered throughout the IT Asset’s lifecycle is not enough to make decisions about when to retire IT Assets (nor should it be). The collaboration between ITAM and the stakeholders using and managing the assets is key in setting policies and defining process to get the most out of IT Assets at every lifecycle stage. Managing each stage optimally is about operationalizing ITAM and this applies no less to the retire stage.

Health Check and Stakeholders

  • From a technical standpoint, the IT Technical Team determines when IT Assets should be retired to mitigate technical risk, support defined technology strategies, and ensure the effectiveness of the approved technology, etc.
  • IT Service Management provide valuable input as to services offered, the effectiveness of the delivered services and associated IT hardware and software assets (i.e. requests, incidents and change management statistics) a contributing factor in determining when the IT Asset should be retired.
  • IT Contract Management provide input on the effect and risks associated to end of life decisions (predefined, premature or extended end of life) on the related contracts (lease, warranty, maintenance and support, related services (OLAs), etc.)
  • IT Finance monitors the true cost of ownership (TCO) providing input on accumulated and projected costs, amortization, residual value, etc.
  • Users (particularly management) influence when assets are retired based on project cycles, usability concerns, personal preference (I reference management again… ), etc.


Once you have taken into account operationalizing stakeholder considerations and as long as the information is available in your ITAM repository, there’s no reason key procedures within the Retire process cannot be automated. Requests can be generated soliciting the involvement of approvers, end users and technicians to complete the necessary steps of gathering IT Assets, preparing them for disposal (or return) and optionally replacing them. Keep in mind though that the Retire process is not always black and white. So even if an IT Asset has been retired, there no reason it cannot be reinstated prior to disposal or return so it can continue to provide value. Retire is not Dispose!

If you don’t gather the information to support operationalization and your business objectives, it will be difficult to realize business value in your retire activities. Retiring IT Assets is an opportune time to continue to work at your business objectives (i.e. optimized hardware and software use).

For the most part, the information to make end of life decisions should be gathered during those key processes of Receive, Deploy and Manage. Additional ongoing audit processes, benefiting from the ability to get information out in the form of stakeholder specific reports and dashboards, will be required to analyse the trends and possibly make adjustments that influence end of life decisions (information, policies, processes or procedures).

The key takeaway here is that even though stakeholders (ITAM included) have their own individual set of goals and objectives, only through collaboration can IT Value be realized, even in the Retire process.

I wonder if I’ll be valuable when I Retire? Rhetorical question, do not answer that!

See you next time with the Dispose process…