5 enterprise IT projects to refresh strategy in 2022

Keeping corporate data assets close to hand, robust meetings and audio tech for clear comms, effective staff wellbeing solutions, and fruitful payments management tools are all worth exploring.
2 August 2022

Helping hands: revisiting data storage options, investing in staff wellbeing, and engineering crystal clear customer communications are just a few ways that enterprises can stay ahead. Image credit: Shutterstock.

Running a medium to large enterprise has never been straightforward, but recent global events have definitely thrown a few curveballs at IT managers, HR departments, helpdesk staff and all team members involved in keeping businesses operational. Tech HQ takes a look at five enterprise tech projects that every medium to large enterprise should be researching to stay ahead in 2022.

Reshoring data assets

Cloud storage is a boon – your data is available everywhere. But cloud storage and services can bring their own problems, which is why firms need to consider a range of storage solutions. That’s particularly pertinent for business-sensitive data and information that organizations want to be able to recover and restore rapidly. Other drivers to bringing data home include a need to push large files around, such as high-resolution video, which can be slowed down by cloud connections. Providers such as TrueNAS promise ‘true storage freedom’ – offering products that can be configured either as networked attached storage (NAS) or a storage array network (SAN), supporting block, file, and object protocols. NAS has the advantage of being easier – in the main – for operators to setup, but SANs can come out ahead at the client end, appearing to users as local drives, and coping well with higher volumes of traffic.

Enterprise hardware provider DELL offers a ‘PowerScale’ range of storage solutions, badged to recognise that businesses want flexibility, and as medium-sized enterprises grow into larger organizations the infrastructure needs of firms will change. Policy-based tiering gives operators the ability to keep data local for rapid access, but also to migrate information to hybrid, archive and cloud tiers over time – with archived data moved by timed script, for example. Other players such as NetApp – which is based in the US, but continues to add to its international network, most recently with a European site in Cork, Ireland – can help here too, giving companies further options for freeing up higher-performance storage by tiering cold data to an on-prem private cloud. The firm has use cases for multiple sectors, including media and entertainment, electronic design automation, and life sciences.

Meetings 2.0

Online meetings are no longer a novelty and it’s expected that participants will bring not just their best selves, but also their best equipment. And this also means finding solutions for blended scenarios where in-person attendees and participants joining remotely can share ideas seamlessly and all be part of the conversation. Video device maker Neat – founded in Norway and with offices in London, Amsterdam, New York, and other international locations – has devices for all occasions, including meetings held at the US Government’s Oval Office. The Norwegian firm has won design awards for its products and names its software releases after Formula One race circuits to acknowledge the team effort that powers success.

Other useful kit includes high-performance, multi-axis webcams that can be programmed with pre-set positions, such as pointing at a flip-chart or other information displayed in the meeting room. For smaller settings such as one-to-one training, or maintenance troubleshooting, it’s worth noting improvements in tablet operating systems. Apple’s iPad’s has a user-enabled option dubbed ‘Center Stage’ that takes advantage of the device’s ultrawide front-facing camera in combination with software-based feature tracking to follow participants as they move around in shot. What’s more, the functionality can be accessed by meeting software such as Zoom, which will be of interest for Enterprise users.

Staff wellbeing

People are the engines of success at any company, and it’s important to check-in with staff to make sure that all is well – even more so, with many employees working remotely. And just as we’ve seen with the improvements in meetings equipment, wellness tech is on a mission to blend the best of digital and real-world domains. Consulting firm Deloitte, has identified a range of areas where technology can play a role in employee wellness, which includes –

  • Collaboration, presence and trust tech – to build deeper group connections for more cohesive teams.
  • Stress and mental health tech – to help staff to access resources, monitor, understand and regulate stress.
  • Emo tech – for developing self-awareness and powering effective feedback.
  • Well tech – to help staff to optimize health and cognition for general wellbeing.
  • Coaching tech – providing input and structure for employee reflection.

Whether the terms catch on, time will tell (“Emo tech” is particularly dubious). But the topics are definitely on point. Coaching, to equip managers with the skills and methods to maintaining successful and sustainable teams in this new chapter of work, will be key to helping organizations adapt. Experts in the field such as the UK charity Mind have embraced digital tools to bring their know-how to employers, and have a range of options for companies of all sizes.

The firms that get their staff’s well-being right, both mental and physical, will be recognized and rewarded for their progress, not by gongs given at industry events, but by more engaged, harder working employees. 2022 research conducted by the American Psychological Association found that ‘71% of people surveyed believed that their employer is more concerned about their mental health than in the past’. And ‘81% of workers agreed that how employers support mental health will be an important consideration for them when they look for future work’.

Crystal clear comms

Advice on purchasing good quality headsets is definitely worth up-voting. Clarity will help companies in getting ahead of their competition, whether that’s by making sales propositions crystal clear or supporting the efficient delivery of customer support. There’s a huge performance difference between tech at the top and the bottom of the headset range, so a bit of research – rather than settling for an online seller’s first suggestion – can deliver big rewards.

Sennheiser is a well-known name in the audio field, bringing its pro-audio tech to the business world through events solutions and headsets for all applications. But there are other players too with high-quality audio offerings, such as Plantronics (which rebranded in 2019 as Poly following its acquisition of Polycom) and Jabra. Features such as active noise cancelling are becoming a popular feature for users wanting to enjoy the buzz of the office, but valuing quieter moments when required.

Big companies are in no doubt as to the importance of effective hybrid working solutions. Just a few months back computing giant HP announced that it had agreed to purchase Poly in a deal valued at $3.3 bn. So, as we’ve alluded to, the business potential of the humble headset shouldn’t be overlooked.

It’s also worth addressing the biggest cause of bugbears in any video or audio conference: network bottlenecks. Now is the time to investigate outdated intersite connections that are putting a crimp in the enterprise’s style. Ten years ago, leased lines from head office to remote branches were the very cream of the crop. But today’s SD-WANs (software defined networks) can prioritize specific traffic at any time, both between branch offices and with the outside world. While massively configurable, network edge devices can ensure that production systems get better speeds and bandwidth than those granted to those streaming music into their headphones.

Payments management

And once you’ve struck the latest deal, overseas payment providers such as Payoneer and other vendors can help to simplify cross-border transactions – for example, by taking care of the heavy lifting when it comes to facilitating tax administration and providing other local expertize. Payments management providers can help to plug a resources gap and allow firms to maximize their financial growth opportunities.

Any large business that has built up payments provision over the years won’t be in a position to be able to tear down and start again. But conversely, if a legacy payments gateway prevents the grasping of overseas opportunities in a timely manner, the company has a problem.

Today’s international payments providers not only work natively on foreign soil (obviating the need to rely on SWIFT transfers), but can act as soverign bodies for the purposes of tax and data governance for all their clients. Moving swiftly into the spaces left by “traditional” banking in a digital world, payment providers now offer business-oriented services perfect for the enterprise seeking overseas opportunities.

Note – some of the providers featured in this piece have participated previously in sponsored content on this site or our sister site, Tech Wire Asia. However, this article has been compiled without their influence and is independently authored.