A CEO's Modern Devices for the Modern Workplace

As the CEO of Agile IT, I’m both a special case and typical executive user of devices within the work place.

The following is a picture of my day to day workspace.  It hasn’t always looked this way, but it does look this way often.  What you see missing are lots of paper and clutter.

  • DesktopAcer Predator G3

    • Intel Core i7-7700(8M Cache, up to 4.2GHz), 32GB DDR4, 1TB HDD, 256GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, HDMI, USB 3.0, Bluetooth 4.0, Win 10
    • This gives me the power-hungry processing that I crave. If you do ANY thing with video or coding, then you really need to go this route.  Not really an Executive thing, but maybe you’re a power user executive like myself.  😊
  • MonitorDell Widescreen U3415W

    • At first, I didn’t love it. I like two monitors.  However, I’ve grown to love it.  Especially with spreadsheets, Microsoft Teams Planner, and watching the screen for other people with wide screens.
  • Wireless HeadsetJabra Pro 9470

    • Great for keeping calls private. This stays on my desk
    • Distance is great. I can go across our building and the call quality works well.  Always check this when purchasing your own.
  • Wireless Headset – Jabra Evolve 75 Stereo UC Including Link 370

    • I keep this in my travel bag. It’s great when I need to take calls on my device while on the road.
    • For my Surface Book, I plug in the USB port. It provides better coverage in space and quality.
    • For my Surface Go, I use the Bluetooth option as there is no USB port available (only USB-C)
  • SpeakerphoneLogitech P710 – Speakerphone

    • When I need to have a conversation with others in the room or just give my ear a break.
  • WebcamRazer Stargazer Depth-Sensing HD Webcam

    • This is great for videos when doing web conferencing
    • I REALLY love this as it works with Windows Hello. Thus, my machine logs in when I sit, or stand, in from of my desk. (Make sure you don’t have any sensitive material before you walk away.  You don’t want to show something private if someone is with you when you get back to your desk)
  • SpeakersCyber Acoustics CA-3602a

    • I like better audio when watching something at my desk.
  • Keyboard/MouseMicrosoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business (5KV-00001)

    • Less wires on my desk is huge.
    • Ergonomic is important
  • Phone Charger - Samsung Qi Certified Wireless Charger Pad

    • To charge my phone.

Most of this makes up what I would clarify as vital for many users within a Modern Workplace.  The exceptions would be the killer desktop and wide screen.  That really needs to be determined by the type of user you are with your device.  Some need lots of power and performance, but many don’t.

This is the place where I’m a little of a special case as I still like to try out technology, but also need to handle software coding, and working on many documents (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) at any given time.

So how does an Executive work when you have a desktop?  Should I use a laptop?  Yes!  Yes, I do.  That said, here is a picture of all my devices on my desk (and no I don’t keep them there all the time).

Modern Workplace Devices Here is what’s pictured:

  • Microsoft Surface Go – This is new on the market and I really love it! It’s small and the same great Windows 10 experience.  However, .

  • Microsoft Surface Book – This is a great device for the constant roaming Executive or individual that needs the power of a desktop while on the go. It’s not too heavy and the screen size is large enough to work well when on the road or within the office.  With my desktop and Surface Go, I leave this one at home.

  • Apple iPad with Pen – I wanted to give this a try in using it for internal meetings and while on the road. When I visit customers, I don’t find I can be as productive with my notes and my devices.

  • Samsung Galaxy S8 – This is my daily mobile phone.

  • Amazon Kindle Voyage E-reader, 6” – I know I can use my other devices to read, but I just LOVE how this feels on my eyes. I often read 2-3 different books at any given time, so protecting my eyes is important.  Plus, it removes me from being easily distracted with my phone or tablet.

With all these devices, I’m always connected to my employees, customers, partners, and information.  With Office 365 as my main information source, my devices are all essentially (and yes, I’m leveraging a phrase from Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft) “Office 365 endpoints”.  I love that phrase as it really represents how I look at these devices.  For all my devices, I’m both able to access what I need and ensure they’re properly protected as we also use Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EM+S).

Gone are the days of saying, “I don’t have that as it’s on my machine at home.”  I’m also able to use the “right device” for the “right experience” when performing given tasks.

I don’t write heavy content on my phone, but I do respond to emails, add comments to documents in Microsoft Teams, and review/update my schedule.

With Skype of Business Online (that’s right, we do ALL of our communications in the cloud), I can make calls, hold meetings, and interact with people in real time on any of my devices.  Yes, Teams is getting even better and I expect this to be an even better experience. Regardless, I’m getting all that I need and more without an old PBX hanging out in our office.

For an Executive moving to Office 365, here’s my recommendation on what you should have in your life:

  1. Desktop

    1. If you’re mostly in email, Office documents, and use mostly web/SaaS applications, then I don’t think you need a separate desktop.
    2. If you “burn out” laptops, work with heavy graphics, do some coding… you get the picture, you’re a Power User Exec! Then I’d suggest a really great workstation.
  2. Tablet

    1. If you’re not using a desktop, then I’d suggest either a Surface Pro (latest version) or Surface Book (latest version). This also depends on how powerful of a device you need.  You can always go with Lenovo, Acer, HP, or Dell laptops (my preference is in that order).
    2. If you DO have a desktop, then I’d strongly recommend the Surface Go (don’t forget to order the keyboard. It’s in the picture but doesn’t come with the device).  It’s gives you a killer experience.  You might want to turn off S Mode (it’s allowed.  It’s an “app” via the Microsoft Store app).  Even better, update this to Windows 10 Enterprise via “Microsoft 365” and you’ll have Windows as a Service and more.
  3. Phone

    1. iPhones and Androids are almost all the same. If Office 365 and EM+S is supported, then you’re in great shape.  If not, then get a new phone.
    2. Desk phones are still around if you need to have pre-defined contacts at the touch, then there are good options around. However, the best experience will be a headset and Skype for Business/Teams on your desktop.
  4. Microsoft Cloud Services

    1. Basic: Office 365 E3 + EMS E3
    2. Ideal: Microsoft 365 E5

Once you have your services, software, and devices all configured, don’t forget that it’s YOU and your CULTURE within your business that makes a truly Modern Workplace.  Having all of this and still doing everything in email, writing your notes on paper, storing content on local file locations that are NOT synced to the cloud, etc. will just put you in the same spot.

If you’re a CEO or executive and have a Modern Device/Workplace setup, please reach out via LinkedIn.  I’d love to see it and share it (if you’re cool with it).

Conrad Agramont is CEO of Agile IT and also both a Microsoft and Marine Corps veteran.

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