Business IT

What is Device Lifecycle Management? (+Key Stages)

What is Device Lifecycle Management? (+Key Stages)

by Brad Ancell - March 27, 2024

Device lifecycle management is a critical component of any business’s digital strategy. Without it, organizations would have chaos in terms of how devices enter their sensitive digital networks and who has access. This can lead to significant security risks as well as productivity issues.

As business becomes more ingrained in digital initiatives, the need for a robust device management strategy becomes more critical. Let’s explore device lifecycle management, how the process operates, and what benefits a business can expect when it employs this type of management approach.

What is Device Lifecycle Management?

By 2030, it’s estimated that each person will own around 15 connected devices. What devices employees use, how they use them, and how they connect to business networks will present challenges for organizations looking to shore up their security and keep sensitive information safe.

Device lifecycle management (DLM) is the preferred solution for most organizations. DLM is the comprehensive approach to managing a company's connected devices throughout the entire asset lifecycle — from initial procurement to disposal. A DLM will manage a variety of devices:

  • Smartphones
  • Scanners
  • Tablets
  • IoT devices
  • Laptops

If there is a connected or electronic asset that is essential for business operations, it will often fall under DLM. This type of management allows an organization full transparency and control over these assets and offers strategic security, cost-cutting, and compliance benefits. 

As virtually every business trends toward digitization efforts, the number of devices needing management will also increase. DLM ensures devices are optimally utilized throughout their lifecycle, supporting operational efficiency and technological adaptability.

Other Types of DLM

Much like the diversity of managed IT services, there are also different types of DLM strategies. For example, mobile device lifecycle management (MDLM) covers specific policies related to mobile devices such as smartphones or laptops. 

With around 15 billion connected Internet of things (IoT) devices worldwide, a need for IoT-specific lifecycle management with specialized policies for everything from connected printers to building security systems is growing. The goal for both device-specific DLM strategies is to develop approaches to management that mitigate distinct challenges, especially concerning security.

Key Stages of Device Lifecycle Management

A DLM strategy is essential for effective digitization efforts. There are four main stages of device lifecycle management. Each stage is essential to the device management process, giving businesses full control over how devices are deployed and, more importantly, how employees use them daily. 

The right DLM strategy will not only offer better security and control but also lead to enhanced productivity and efficiency within the workplace. Let’s explore each stage in detail.


The first stage is planning. Here, team members and leadership will explore their device options, and will likely involve conducting a device inventory. Developing a robust evaluation system to analyze trends and data is important to deliver the right option for the business’s needs. Here are a few questions that can help during this initial planning stage:

  • What asset is needed for this specific task?
  • What is the purpose of integrating this device into our operations?
  • Will this device improve daily operations? If so, how?
  • What’s our budget, and how does procurement of this device affect that budget?
  • How long will this device last and retain value? What’s our plan for depreciation?

This stage is a critical element of a DLM plan. It’s important to bring in important stakeholders, from financial teams to operators, to build a robust foundation for the next stage of the device lifecycle management strategy.


Next is procurement, or the actual acquisition of the devices. Once the initial planning stage is complete and all stakeholders are on board, it’s time to leverage the planned budget to acquire the assets. During this phase, a procurement team may negotiate with suppliers over a myriad of factors including:

  • Costs
  • Delivery schedules
  • Support features

While this stage may seem simple, several factors can affect procurement progress. These can include everything from how well your team can negotiate and current market conditions to whether you have an existing relationship with the supplier.

Operation, Management, and Maintenance

The operation, management, and maintenance stage is the longest. Here is when employees will use devices for everyday work and, hopefully, generate revenue. During this stage, the device will face real-world use and, of course, challenges. Asset managers must react to upgrades, patches, licensing issues, and regular device audits.

Regular monitoring is essential as it gives whoever is managing the DLM strategy insight into performance to proactively spotlight issues as they arise. Here, a maintenance plan is critical. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. A business must base its asset maintenance strategies on budget and asset type to prolong reliability and performance. Any downtime can result in unexpected expenses and productivity challenges.

Some plans are more reactive, tackling challenges as they arise, while others are proactive/preventative. Moreover, there needs to be some flexibility to address issues as they develop. Regardless, the goals of each maintenance plan are usually similar:

  • Minimize repair costs
  • Reduce operational downtime
  • Prolong an asset’s lifespan
  • Keep the device up and running

Device Decommissioning

At the end of an asset’s life, it’s time for disposal. During this stage, a device will meet one of three ends:

  • It’s sold
  • It’s repurposed within the company
  • It’s properly disposed of 

The decommissioning of a device can come at any point after the initial purchase and is not only when the device breaks. It’s often the case that a device will become obsolete/outdated, and a replacement will be necessary. This usually happens according to the initial DLM plan developed during the first stage.

An asset manager will decide the best way to dispose of the asset. During this process, sensitive information will be wiped from the device, and any business-specific software will be uninstalled, if applicable. 

Many electronics contain various valuable materials and it’s often the case that they can be sold or recycled and return some of the initial purchase price to the business. Of course, if there is still a need for the device within the company, it can be kept and utilized elsewhere. 

Benefits of Effective Device Lifecycle Management

Whether it’s a device-specific approach like mobile device lifecycle management or a general DLM strategy, businesses can expect to see some benefits of leveraging this level of control and planning in deploying, using, and disposing of devices. Here are some of the most common advantages of adopting a robust device lifecycle management strategy:

  • Cost Savings - A DLM is essential to keeping device costs down. Proper planning, procurement, maintenance, and disposal means devices always operate as planned, and only what is needed for operations is purchased.
  • Improved Productivity - By streamlining the entire lifecycle management process, businesses can improve operational efficiency. This means employees have what they need to accomplish their jobs without delay or downtime.
  • Risk Mitigation - The more devices on a network, the more risk. Businesses can mitigate much of the network, downtime, and data exposure risks by controlling how each device operates, who uses them, and the entire device lifecycle.
  • Improved Visibility - Businesses need to know where devices are, who uses them, and what sensitive data might be at risk. DLM delivers this essential information, offering robust data and insights that drive strategic decision-making. 
  • Environmental Sustainability - There is no denying that electronic devices impact the environment. Businesses can reduce their carbon footprint by controlling how devices enter and leave the workplace and what devices are available to employees.
  • Access to Expert Support - With a robust maintenance plan, employees can refer to expert support when issues arise. This can significantly reduce downtime and keep team members productive.

Effective Device Lifecycle Management is a Necessity

Device lifecycle management is critical to doing business in the modern, digital world. Employees need access to various devices, from laptops to printers, to complete their daily operations efficiently. DLM provides the support they need to gain access to these essential devices, maintain them throughout their lifecycle, and replace them when necessary.

This type of support is not a luxury but a necessity. If you're considering device lifecycle management for your business, the first step is to connect with a reliable provider to understand your options. This partner will help you better understand your current and future needs while helping you develop a plan for success.

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