According to a report published by Gartner in the fourth quarter of 2017, worldwide shipments of personal computers, tablets, and smartphones are predicted to exceed 2.35 billion units in 2018. Assuming those estimates are reached, it would constitute an increase of 2% over 2017, which would be the highest year-over-year growth since 2015.

The report, Forecast: PCs, Ultramobiles and Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2015-2021, 3Q17 Update, suggests that the uptick in shipped units can be attributed to a general increase in worldwide economic activity and a notable increase in spending for PCs and ultramobile devices by enterprises in general. In other words, enterprises are in the midst of a PC hardware replacement cycle, in addition to the normal smartphone and portable turnover we have come to expect.

SEE: IT Hardware Procurement Policy (Tech Pro Research)

Tracking the investment

Whether they are new units purchased as part of a computer hardware replacement cycle or units deployed in years past, expenditures for IT hardware by enterprises represents a significant capital investment. So much so, that the enterprise needs to track each IT component from point of purchase, through deployment, to eventual decommissioning and disposal.

Not only should IT departments be able to track their IT hardware, but they should also be able to measure and report how effective each piece of hardware is with regard to performance and productivity. If the hardware is not meeting employee requirements for the task at hand, productivity will suffer and profits will shrink–never a desirable outcome.

SEE: Computer hardware depreciation calculator (Tech Pro Research)

To get the most out their IT hardware, enterprises should have a concise and unambiguous plan of action to track IT assets from purchase to deployment to disposition. The IT Hardware Inventory Policy from TechRepublic’s premium sister site, Tech Pro Research, provides a foundational basis for your enterprise’s policy and is a good place to start.

IT hardware inventory represents a significant long-term investment for any enterprise, and letting that investment dwindle without a detailed accounting of overall cost and benefit acquired is inexcusable–possibly even criminal. If your enterprise does not have such a policy, you may be courting unnecessary financial hardship.

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Your take

Have you implemented a system for tracking the process of purchasing, deploying, and decommissioning your company’s hardware assets? Share your advice and experiences with fellow TechRepublic members.