IT asset management comprises the entire lifecycle of hardware and software-from requisition to deployment and management to retirement and disposal. But some companies fail to harvest the value that remains in their assets at the back-end of that life cycle, industry sources say."Typically, companies use their assets for about four years," says Patricia Adams, principal analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. "When they retire them, they'll sometimes stick them in a closet rather than pay someone to take them off their hands." As a result, companies are essentially throwing money away, by neglecting to recover reusable software, by paying for storage space they don't need, and, in some states, by paying property taxes on equipment they no longer use.

In addition, companies often don't recover the full value of their IT assets when they dispose of them, according to Paul Baum, CEO and founder of PlanITROI Inc., a Denville, N.J.-based firm that specializes in IT asset retirement.

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