A Summer for Reflection
Where has the summer gone?
It started out with a bang. Just as kids in San Diego were wrapping up their schoolwork to head out for summer fun, I was fortunate enough to join Jill Vaske, Vice President here at Redemtech, to promote the kick-off of the Connect-2-Compete program, in collaboration with FCC Chairman Genachowski and philanthropist Carlos Slim at a press conference held at Horace Mann Middle School.
It was a great experience to see the smiling faces of the families who would benefit from the program. They listened intently, in some cases after translation into their native languages by on-site translators, to the message of hope about more opportunities for their children through better access to technology at affordable prices. There was such excitement in knowing that the effort is supported by such notable contributors! It was a pleasure meeting the individuals who are rallying to take part in this effort to close the digital divide. More information will be forthcoming on when the program rolls out in a city near you!
As June pushed its way to the top of the calendar, I began wrapping up loose ends in preparation for my journey to the other side of the planet—to South Africa for my volunteer adventure. After a day in the air and a few hours shoving my way through airport security at Heathrow, I landed in a different time zone, a different season, and certainly a different society.
As I look back now, I can't help but think how surreal it was to be standing side-by-side with the richest man in the world one week, then touring a shebeen in one of the poorest squatter's camps in Soweto, South Africa the next week.
Over the last couple of years, I have been mentoring a boy in South Africa via video conference. Each week, we spend a half hour talking about school, his family and friends and life in general. I have wanted to meet him in person to get a better understanding of what a day in the life of this child was like, so that I might offer better, more relevant guidance during our weekly sessions. This volunteer project was going to give me that opportunity.
The goal was for each child to make a video about their lives, and about how Infinite Family was, through technology and mentorship, opening up the world of infinite possibilities to them.
The two weeks passed by quickly, learning new video and audio editing applications, applying video techniques taught to them during a crash course on movie direction and production - including storyboards, shot angles, and lighting. Despite the flip cam technology challenges, the lack of movie-making acumen, and the limited amount of time, these remarkable and resilient children could not be deterred from completing the task. While the final products might not be of Emmy-winning quality, they were all certainly crafted with patience, love and fun. All the children taught me more than I taught them.
What occurred to me was that even with all the work we are doing to close the digital divide, it is clear that the problem extends far beyond the borders of the United States.
So, what's all this got to do with IT asset management you ask? Well, let me explain.
First, asset management is the process engine that allows organizations to have sustainable operations. It creates utilization frameworks, redeployment guidelines, and provides management for the lifecycle - including end-of-life for the enterprise’s portfolio of assets. While sustainability certainly addresses the environment, it also addresses the financial and social aspects of responsible business practices. An ITAM program with sustainable balance built in would therefore implement sustainable end-of-life programs seeking the highest returns for re-sold technology and the responsible recycling of technology with no residual value. It also might allocate a percentage of retired technology or the proceeds from resale toward supporting programs such as Connect2Compete.
I might sound a bit touchy-feely, having just returned from this humbling journey. But I do believe that the children are our future - not just the children of the United States, but children all around the world. Education is the key that opens doors to a better future. Technology is a key component of that future. Without access to it, children will have no real future.
And what kind of a world would that be?