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C-suite talk fav tech: Jeff vonDeylen, Ensono


Name:
Jeff vonDeylen

Job title: CEO

Company: Ensono

Industry: IT Managed Services

Location: Chicago and offices throughout the world

Years’ of experience: 25

 

What is your favorite personal gadget? My favorite device is my iPad. Partly because I appreciate the bigger screen for things like the Kindle app and the Wall Street Journal, and partly because it’s just so usable. I can stay up to date with world news, business matters, work emails and more all without having to boot up a laptop, and it still functions equally well as a leisure device with the same level of versatility.

Do you have a favourite piece of personal software? I’ve recently become a fan of Waze - a community-based traffic and navigation app. It’s great to find new ways of doing things and that includes my route to work. It’s taking me on routes I otherwise wouldn’t experience, and making the journey quicker. I also like how it interfaces with other technology and how it gives you accurate insights based on other people’s journeys.

Spotify is still the app I use most. My kids first introduced me to it and my daughter put my first playlist together. This is the great thing about technology – it brings people together, across generations. My playlists are more than a little diverse, anyone looking at it would question what kind of person puts The Script and Eminem together.

What was the first piece of technology you got really excited about? I’m a big golfer, so back in the day there used to be a little yardage bush that you relied on to tell you how far you were from the green, so I was really excited when laser measuring devices came out. These give you the exact yardage, and you just can’t beat the satisfaction that comes from that level of measurement precision. I know it’s a little geeky but as a golfer it’s been amazing for me. My son has never not had a laser measure, so when he lost his it was funny to watch him struggle to work out how far a yard was. Technology is changing everything we do and it’s particularly interesting to see how data and technology has really shifted the sporting world.

What device improves your life most at work? The Fitbit. It constantly keeps you conscious of what you’re doing and how active you’re being. We’ve made a big push at Ensono to keep everyone active and I’ve found that it really makes a difference. We currently have six teams at Ensono representing different charities, from animal rescue to cancer research to veterans. Associates can join a team to earn charitable contributions for the cause they’re most passionate about. We’re keeping the spirit of healthy competition alive by trying to out-step the other teams for the sake of fundraising for our favorite charities and getting exercise in the process. I’m on a team with a bunch of folks that are very ‘step-conscious’ and they let me know when I’m slacking off. I know they’re going to pick up on the fact that today I’m a bit low, because I didn’t get my run in this morning.

What software keeps you most productive at work? For me its Excel, and I couldn’t imagine working without it just because it’s so multifunctional. Workday is an important piece of software for us at Ensono, it has all of our associate information and charts the impact of various things and how it affects them. From a management perspective having that level of data to work with is invaluable.

Is there any technology that has become extinct that you would like to resurrect? Life goes on, and the sun comes up better. I’m quick to adopt new things and try not to cling onto anything for the sake of nostalgia. The record player is always the best example. Retro is back and all that jazz, but can it really compete against Spotify?

Simplicity is king. One thing I would love to try is a technology free day, where you get up from your desk and walk to the person you want to speak to 30 feet away. Too many people fall back on email. Obviously, the culture is a little different in the UK, but I find that email and text are horrible mediums for communication, because people either read too much into them or not at all. It’s worth keeping in mind that being on email all the time doesn’t make you an effective communicator.

Is there any technology you would personally recommend that you don’t think enough people know about? (Hardware or software, work or personal) My pick would be a pretty simple technology, but if you’re an exerciser this app Strava is amazing, being basically a social network for athletes. For GPS tracked activities like running and biking you have followers, there is a community you can communicate with, and share challenges etc. More than this, its precision is what puts it ahead of the others and how it checks how you’re doing over time on your own custom-made courses.

Do you think anything about your personal use of tech would surprise your colleagues? Probably my wide range of music tastes. My friends and kids would make fun of me if they knew that T-Swift featured so prominently in my playlists. I used to be almost totally 80s in my tastes, but now it’s a mishmash of more modern popstars, which would raise a few eyebrows from anyone who knows me.

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