Title:
Method and system for leased asset management
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The method and system of the present invention provides an improved technique for leased asset management. Information is aggregated from a variety of sources into a centralized computerized database. Thereafter, as asset transitions occur, information from such transitions are input into the computerized database on a real-time basis. Each lease for each leased asset is monitored so that, upon the expiration or termination of the lease, the leased assets may be returned to the vendor in strict compliance with the terms of the lease.



Inventors:
Thomas, Shawn (Austin, TX, US)
Woodfin, Michael (Austin, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/321118
Publication Date:
07/24/2003
Filing Date:
12/17/2002
Assignee:
THOMAS SHAWN
WOODFIN MICHAEL
Primary Class:
1/1
Other Classes:
707/999.102
International Classes:
G06F7/00; G06F9/445; G06F11/30; G06F12/00; G06F15/16; G06F17/30; G06Q10/00; G06Q30/00; G06Q99/00; (IPC1-7): G06F7/00
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Primary Examiner:
LY, CHEYNE D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PERKINS COIE LLP - SEA General (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A method for improved equipment lease management comprising the steps of: creating a computerized database, said computerized database containing information on leased assets; transitioning one or more of said leased assets; recording new information concerning said transition in said computerized database during the implementation of said transition; updating said computerized database concurrently therewith; monitoring the end of each lease for each of said leased assets; and returning each of said leased assets in compliance with the provisions of each said lease.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein said computerized database is a relational database.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said leased assets are selected from the group consisting of desktop computers, laptop computers, handheld computers, printers, scanners, networking devices and storage devices.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein said computerized database is located remotely from the location of said transition.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein said information is transmitted to said computerized database through the Internet.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein said information is transmitted to said computerized database through a local area network.

7. The method of claim 5 or claim 6 wherein said information is transmitted to said computerized database through secure, encrypted transmission.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein said transition is selected from the group consisting of asset installation, asset relocation and asset maintenance.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein said information is selected from the group consisting of term of lease, software applications installed on said leased assets, peripherals included with said leased assets, financial information, location of said leased assets, event history information, and usage information.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein said updating is conducted on a continuous basis and said changes are made to said computerized database in real-time.

11. The method of claim 1 wherein said monitoring provides a means for generating reports detailing which of said leases is expiring for which of said leased assets and the requirements which must be fulfilled for compliance with said lease.

12. A system for leased asset management comprising: a computerized database; leased assets electronically connected to said computerized database; means for recording information concerning said leased assets during a transition of said leased assets; means for updating said computerized database concurrently therewith; means for monitoring the end of each lease for each of said leased assets; and means for returning each of said leased assets in compliance with the provisions of each of said leases.

13. The system of claim 12 wherein said computerized database is a relational database.

14. The system of claim 12 wherein said leased assets are selected from the group consisting of desktop computers, laptop computers, handheld computers, printers, scanners, networking devices and storage devices.

15. The system of claim 12 wherein said computerized database is located remotely from the location of said transition.

16. The system of claim 12 wherein said information is transmitted to said computerized database through the Internet.

17. The system of claim 12 wherein said information is transmitted to said computerized database through a local area network.

18. The method of claim 16 or claim 17 wherein said information is transmitted to said computerized database through secure, encrypted transmission.

19. The system of claim 12 wherein said transition is selected from the group consisting of asset installation, asset relocation and asset maintenance.

20. The system of claim 12 wherein said information is selected from the group consisting of term of lease, software applications installed on said leased assets, peripherals included with said leased assets, financial information, location of said leased assets, event history information, and usage information.

21. The system of claim 12 wherein said means for updating is conducted on a continuous basis and said changes are made to said computerized database in real-time.

22. The system of claim 12 wherein said means for monitoring provides a means for generating reports detailing which of said leases is expiring for which of said leased assets and the requirements which must be fulfilled for compliance with said lease.

Description:

PRIORITY STATEMENT UNDER 35 U.S.C. § 119 & 37 C.F.R. § 1.78

[0001] This non-provisional application claims priority based upon prior U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/342,031 filed Dec. 18, 2001 in the names of Shawn Thomas, Gregory Gray, Michael Woodfin, Warner Mizell and Brian Thomas, entitled “Method and System for Deploying, Tracking and Managing Technology-Related Resources.”

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Technical Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to an improved method and system for leased asset management. More particularly, the present invention provides a means for aggregating information into a computerized database and using the information to track the status of leased assets. Information in the computerized database is updated simultaneously with any asset transition so that the information in the computerized database is continuously up-to-date. At the expiration or termination of each lease, the computerized database contains information by which the leased assets can be returned to the leasing company in strict compliance with the terms of the lease.

[0004] 2. Description of Related Art

[0005] Large enterprises are faced with a daunting task when it comes to managing their information technology resources. Each user within the enterprise demands up-to-date hardware devices. This fact, coupled with the proliferation of new hardware devices, such as PDAs, cell phones and laptops, creates an enormous problem when it comes to tracking each device.

[0006] Many enterprises have made the decision to lease equipment to better provide their users with the latest in technology. However, once leased equipment enters the enterprise, it is often treated as if it is owned by the enterprise. For example, when a leased system such as a computer, monitor and printer first arrives at the enterprise's office, it is typically installed in one location. However, by the end of the lease term, the computer, printer and monitor may have been separated and may no longer be located in the same office.

[0007] If leased assets cannot be accurately tracked, it will be difficult to monitor and return them at the end of the lease. If the leased equipment is not returned to the leasing company in strict accordance with the terms of the lease, there are often penalties that must be paid by the enterprise. For example, if the printer is not returned with the system described earlier, the leasing company may charge the enterprise for the price of a new printer to replace it. However, if the enterprise can locate the printer when the lease terminates, it can avoid paying this premium. Alternatively, if the enterprise is aware that the printer cannot be returned when the lease terminates, it can purchase a replacement printer at a much lower cost than that which would be charged by the leasing company. Accordingly, there is a need, therefore, for an improved method and system for leased equipment management.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention addresses the need for an improved method and system for leased asset management. The method and system of the present invention provides an improved technique for leased asset management. Information regarding the leased assets is aggregated from a variety of sources into a centralized computerized database. Thereafter, as asset transitions occur, information from such transitions are input into the computerized database on a real-time basis. Each lease for each leased asset is monitored so that, upon the expiration or termination of the lease, the leased assets may be returned to the vendor in strict compliance with the terms of the lease.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] The disclosed invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, which show important sample embodiments of the invention and which are incorporated in the specification hereof by reference, wherein:

[0010] FIG. 1 illustrates the preferred method of leased asset management; and

[0011] FIG. 2 illustrates the preferred system for leased asset management.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0012] The numerous innovative teachings of the present application will be described with particular reference to the presently preferred exemplary embodiments. However, it should be understood that these embodiments provide only a few examples of the many advantageous uses of the innovative teachings herein. In general, statements made in the specification of the present application do not necessarily delimit any of the various claimed inventions. Moreover, some statements may apply to some inventive features, but not to others.

[0013] FIG. 1 illustrates a work flow diagram of the preferred method for the present invention for improved equipment lease management. The initial step is the creation of a computerized database 101. The computerized database 101 contains information on leased assets of the enterprise and may, for example, be a relational database. The assets may be such assets as desktop computers, laptop computers, hand-held computers, printers, scanners, networking devices and storage devices.

[0014] As asset transitions 102 occur, information regarding each transition is input into the computerized database 101. Asset transitions may include asset installations, asset relocations, and asset maintenance activities. The asset transition 102 may occur remotely from the computerized database 101. In such case, information may be transmitted relating to each asset transition 102 to the computerized database 101 through the Internet or a local area network and may be made in a secure, encrypted manner.

[0015] Information contained in the computerized database 101 may include such information as the term of the lease, software applications installed on the leased assets, peripherals included with each leased asset, financial information regarding the lease, the location of the leased assets, event history regarding each transition and leased asset usage information. As each asset transition 102 occurs, information regarding the transition is recorded 103 in the computerized database. Concurrently therewith, the computerized database is updated 104 to provide a current, accurate status of each leased asset.

[0016] The method provides a means for monitoring the end of each lease 105 so that the appropriate party can be provided advanced notice of the exploration or termination of the lease. The present invention also may provide a means for generating reports detailing which of the leases is expiring for which leased asset and the requirements which must be fulfilled for compliance with the lease. It is then possible for the enterprise to return the leased assets 106 in strict compliance with the terms of the lease.

[0017] FIG. 2 illustrates a preferred embodiment of a system for approved lease asset management. In this system, a series of assets 201, 202, 203 and 204 are electronically attached 211, 212, 213 and 214 to a computerized database 200. The leased assets may be such assets as desktop computers, laptop computers, handheld computers, printers, scanners, networking devices or storage devices. The electronic attachment 211, 212, 213 and 214 to the computerized database 200 may be through the Internet or a local area network and transmission through such attachment may be made in a secure encrypted manner. Computerized database 200 may be, for example, a relational database.

[0018] The present system provides a means for recording information relating to the leased assets 201, 202, 203 and 204 during any transition of the assets. Such a transition may include, for example, a new installation, relocation or maintenance of any of the leased assets 201, 202, 203 and 204. Concurrently with the recording of such information, the computerized database 200 is updated. The term of each leased asset 201, 202, 203 and 204 is monitored so that, upon the expiration of the lease, appropriate asset and configuration can be returned to the leasing company.