Crayon’s Blueprint: Pioneering AI and Cloud Innovations for Transformative Business Efficiency

11 Jun 2024

Companies that leverage advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud computing are being watched as industry leaders -- especially by companies that are ready to leverage new tech. Crayon, a global leader in IT optimization and AI services, has helped countless organizations navigate the complexities of digital transformation and achieve significant business outcomes.

One of the key leaders driving Crayon's success is Aaron Sandeen, Executive Leader and VP of Technical Services. With extensive experience in the technology sector, Aaron’s expertise spans across AI integration, cloud optimization, and strategic IT consulting. His leadership and vision have positioned the company as a trusted advisor in the tech industry.

Courtesy: Crayon

Crayon is recognized as a leader in integrating generative AI into workplace technologies. Can you share a specific example where your AI solutions have significantly transformed a client’s operations? What were the challenges, and how did your innovative approach address them?

Generative AI is the hot topic with customers right now! Although AI and Machine Learning (ML) are not new concepts for businesses, they are often associated with unattainable, lengthy, and expensive IT projects. Many times, businesses don’t really know how to use or implement projects like these. GenAI has brought the AI/ML game to the masses. Crayon has a 10+ year history of partnering with customers to deliver production AI & ML solutions, and over the past 18 months, we’ve helped dozens and dozens of customers implement GenAI solutions that drive impact.

Recently, we partnered with a consumer goods company experiencing massive organic growth and new brand acquisitions. Such rapid success can cause chaos in managing brands, products, descriptions, media assets, offers, pricing, distribution channels, and more. GenAI allows for the writing of one product description and a system that leverages our customer's branding to match the description to dozens of marketplaces where they do business. Instead of repetitively writing thousands of different descriptions and corresponding images necessary to meet the unique requirements of all distribution partners, GenAI can do the heavy lifting. This is just one example of practical applications for GenAI!

With your robust expertise in cloud services, including multicloud solutions from Microsoft and AWS, how does Crayon approach cloud optimization differently than other tech consultants? What strategies have you found most effective in helping businesses achieve seamless integration and enhanced productivity?

Crayon partners with leaders to understand their business needs, prioritize impactful use cases, and leverage capabilities to deliver value. Using cloud capabilities is table stakes to running their business effectively. We help operationalize these capabilities while identifying cost savings within their existing IT spending to fund other innovative capabilities that AWS and Azure provide. We're obsessed with helping our customers get the most out of technology, reduce risks, and innovate. Crayon’s real value comes from developing deep relationships with our customers, increasing our intelligence about their business and their technology assets, and always advocating for what is best for them.

AI readiness is crucial for businesses looking to fully integrate AI into their core operations. What does Crayon’s consultative approach involve, and how do you ensure that your clients are not just adopting but are truly ready to leverage AI for maximum impact?

Crayon starts by meeting our customers where they are in the AI journey. Some leaders are new to the AI conversation while others have robust data and AI teams already driving value. We focus on understanding their business, identifying challenges, and defining specific actionable use cases—all while educating about capabilities, benefits, risks, and costs so we can make informed investment decisions together. Next is a clearly defined and focused Proof of Value (POV) project. Upon successful completion of the POV, we roll the solution into production and move to the next priority use case.

Success leads to more success!

Digital transformation is a significant undertaking for any organization. From your perspective as a customer-first tech leader, what are the common hurdles companies face during this transition, and how does Crayon support them through these challenges to ensure long-term business transformation?

It’s hard to believe that Digital Transformation has been around for more than 20 years now! At its core, Digital Transformation is how organizations use technology to change how they operate to be more competitive and successfully scale their business. Sounds simple enough, but there are some significant challenges, including technical readiness, implementation, and change management. Crayon assists leaders in analyzing their current systems, identifying risks, maximizing cost savings, and freeing up precious resources (people and dollars) to invest in building the new! Next, we help accelerate the change by providing skilled experts to deliver high-quality projects and increase our customers’ skills through the process.

Most importantly, we know that culture eats strategy for breakfast, and change is not always fun, so we focus on the impact, clear communication, and collaboration, and share what we’ve learned in helping thousands of organizations around the world.

Looking ahead, what emerging technologies or industry trends do you believe will be critical for IT optimization over the next five years? How is Crayon preparing to keep its clients at the forefront of these developments?

These next five years are going to be an innovator’s dream! AI is going to be better, faster, smarter, more affordable, and accessible. Essentially, it will be found everywhere. These technologies will be crucial for IT optimization, offering new levels of efficiency and innovation. More than ever before, it is going to be critical for businesses to get serious about privacy and security. As always, Crayon will continue to bring a high level of expertise to our customers, talk about the art of the possible, and make sure our customers are secure and prepared for the future.