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Authors Posts by Ashley Gatehouse

Ashley Gatehouse

I am the Group Chief Marketing Officer at Crayon. My team are focused on driving enhanced lead generation campaigns and nurturing for our sales organisations across multiple geographies though the utilisation and coordination of all online and offline communication channels. We are driving increased brand awareness in the business's core competency areas of Software Asset Management (SAM), cloud and volume licensing solutions and associated consultancy services. I have over 20 years of senior business leadership experience within direct marketing/direct sales and mass distribution businesses, in both the B2B and B2C markets serving on the boards of both private and public multinational corporations.

As AI moves beyond experimentation to deployment, those in the boardroom are already realising the benefits it brings in terms of innovation, automation and more advanced workloads, says Ashley Gatehouse

AI Taking flight within the Enterprise

Much has been made of the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the enterprise. In recent months the subject has been much debated everywhere from boardrooms to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

As the British Prime Minister, Thersea May, told those recently gathered in Davos, “We are only at the beginning of what AI could achieve,” explaining that in the UK new AI startups were being created every week.

May went further though, suggesting the echoing of moves from within the enterprise, as she said she was prepared to “bring AI into government” as part of a wider strategy to ensure the UK was seen as a leader in this area – one reason she intended to press on with plans for the world’s first national advisory body for AI, committing £9m to the cause as it also announced that the UK will join the WEF council on AI.

As we know, many enterprises are already moving well beyond the experimentation phase to deployment, with recent research from Infosys confirming that AI deployments have already altered the way they operate. Indeed, having asked the question of more than 1,000 CXOs with decision-making power around AI, 90 percent said it had already had an impact on their organisation, with almost three quarters of those questioned stating it had transformed the way they went about their business.

These changes in such a short space of time also suggest that those firms not making provisions or plans for AI within their enterprise strategy would be making a grave mistake. With 80 percent of respondents recognising that AI would have some part to play in shaping their future strategy they indicated that they would almost certainly have to follow suit or be left behind.

And whereas once there was caution and scepticism when AI was mentioned – particularly around jobs and how they would be affected – there has been a general shift in mentality on the subject with enterprises making moves to harness such technologies to work in parallel with human masters to achieve things not possible just a few years back.

Consider the impact artificial intelligence and automation brings to various industries; the barriers it breaks down. Rather than replace, it fosters many new ways of working, bringing in other disciplines and human skillsets to help manage the process. In that respect the innovation and automation it is rapidly ushering into areas such as product design, engineering, predictive modelling and decision making itself, means it will certainly help to create jobs in other areas such as compliance.

Let’s not forget the innovation AI can bring when it comes to optimising insights and things like consumer experience. According to Infosys 80 percent of IT decision makers at organisations in later stages of AI deployment reported that they are using AI to augment existing solutions, or build new business-critical solutions and services to do this. By forcing us to think in new ways AI is helping firms to make rapid gains in both productivity and efficiency when deployed within the enterprise.

At the heart of this data remains the most precious of assets, but in some cases, for the moment, an obstacle. While the technology has moved swiftly on to allow enterprises to use it in a multitude of new ways, almost half of IT decision makers have reported that they’re not quite there in terms of being able to support the new technologies and this is forcing them to invest in data management as they bid to harness the benefits it will bring.

However, once there, AI will help to lessen the load for CIOs and IT directors and open up business intelligence (BI) and data analytics to a whole new stream of non-data professionals within firms. In turn that will allow for new insights when it comes to BI, whilst reducing the reliance on custom build solutions as AI reduces the barriers between data formats opening it up for analysis and application alongside machine learning for new and profitable areas such as data discovery, cleansing and curation.

Of course, the next generation of cloud tools are already here for enterprises to start developing new strategies and methods of IT delivery. Witness the application of Microsoft’s Azure ecosystem and how this is helping firms to handle more advanced workloads, such as big data analytics and AI-enabled applications.

Indeed, today’s intelligent cloud and edge solutions allow organisations to harness enterprise-grade AI infrastructure running AI workloads anywhere at scale, something few would have imagined just a few years ago. And that can only be a good thing for those within the enterprise.

Crayon Strengthens Presence in Middle East Following Strategic Contract Win With the Government of Dubai

Oslo, 29 November 2017: Crayon Group Holding ASA (OSE: CRAYON) today announced the signing of a major IT service agreement with the Government of Dubai (RTA) for the provision of Software Asset Management (SAM) services.

The scope of the agreement includes the use of Crayon’s own IP, SAM-iQ and SAM framework and is for an initial contract period of one year. 

Torgrim Takle, Crayon Group CEO commented: “This agreement will help Crayon to materially accelerate our business within the UAE market and manifests Crayon’s position in the Middle East as the leading SAM and cloud economics player.”   


Investor Relations Contact:

Magnus Hofshagen, FP&A Director


Mobile: +47 48 49 91 95


About Crayon:

Crayon Group Holding ASA is a global leader in technology and digital transformation services. Crayon is a trusted advisor to many of the world’s leading organisations. Through its unique people, tools and systems Crayon helps optimise client ROI from complex technology investments. With deep experience within volume software licensing optimisation, digital engineering and predictive analytics, Crayon assists their clients through all phases of the digital transformation process. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, the company has approximately 1,100 employees in 43 offices worldwide.

NOK 300m set aside to fuel expansion and drive growth of world’s largest independent Cloud Economics business

Crayon Listed on the Norwegian Stock Exchange

Today is a proud moment for the whole Crayon team, from our founders who set up the business back in 2002, to each and every one of our 1,100 teammates working across three continents and 21 locations worldwide today.

Our listing on Oslo Børs marks the next step in the evolution of the Crayon business and will enable us to accelerate our focus on driving value for our customers, partners and teammates as we continue our mission to help international industry and commerce optimise investment in complex technology.

It marks a significant achievement for the business that we have reached this point with revenues growing from 2,047 NOKm in 2012, to 6,015 NOKm in 2016. Indeed, during the past five years we grew by a remarkable compound annual growth rate of 31% and now provide services to over 81% of the global addressable IT market. In that time, we more than doubled the number of teammates as NOK 280m (€30m) was invested in new intellectual property and growth.

This significant geographic expansion has been driven both organically and through acquisition and has led to Crayon developing deep relationships with all the major global software publishers. We are one of Microsoft’s top ten global managed partners and last year helped the Redmond firm generate $1Bn USD. In 2017, Crayon also became one of only three global Microsoft GDPR partners, offering data compliance and risk mitigation solutions to businesses as a natural extension to its heritage in Software Asset Management (SAM).

Following intensive investment in its own IP and consultancy business, Crayon now boasts over 60 service areas including IOT and Machine Learning, alongside its established cloud economics practice. What makes us unique in the market is that we underpin all this with our deep understanding of SAM and use that as the intelligent foundation to map out the customer’s digital transformation journey, ensuring that their technology ecosystem remains optimised.

Torgrim Takle, CEO, Crayon, says: “This is a proud moment for all of us associated with the business, one that firmly puts us on the map in terms of visibility, but that also takes us to the next level in terms of our financial flexibility to compete at the highest level in the global marketplace. It really is an exciting day for all of us and I’d like to thank everyone for all their hard work in bringing us to this point.”

Experts in Risk Assessment and Technology Optimisation Planning to drive compliance with GDPR for businesses worldwide

London July 10th – Crayon, the global leader in Risk Assessment and Technology Optimisation Planning (RATOP), has launched GDPR services based on Microsoft technology to help ensure businesses comply with the new European regulations arriving next year.

With the GDPR coming into force on May 25th 2018, businesses of all shapes and sizes handling data on EU residents must comply with new rules on the protection of this and its privacy across EU member states. However, this is further complicated by regulations also applying to anywhere where EU resident’s personal data is processed or monitored. Should that data become compromised, then businesses must also report any data breaches within 72 hours. Failure to do so could see them being fined €20,000,000 or 4% of their global annual turnover in the preceding financial year, depending on which is higher. The GDPR also introduces a statutory basis for the role of data protection officer (DPO).

To meet these demands Crayon’s specialist team of GDPR practitioners will advise and assist businesses consuming Microsoft solutions on their strategy and approach when it comes to complying with GDPR via its new GDPR Governance Service, a comprehensive GDPR management and risk mitigation solution. Furthermore, Crayon will offer managed services and training for DPOs around GDPR for clients and partners alike.

Already trusted by many of the world’s leading organisations as the go-to experts for Software Asset Management (SAM), the move is a natural extension for the Crayon business in deepening customer engagement en route to compliance and technology optimisation.

By undertaking a full risk assessment analysis with Crayon and utilising the embedded data governance qualities in Microsoft solutions such as Azure, Office 365 and SQL Server, businesses will be able to address areas of risk in their IT environment, with Crayon’s specialist GDPR team providing the expertise to bring those areas into compliance.

Says Torgrim Takle, CEO, Crayon Group: “By providing businesses with detailed insight into areas of risk and risk mitigation in relation to their IT environments, Crayon’s team of GDPR experts can help make the road to GDPR compliance a smooth journey.

“However, GDPR compliance should be part of an overall governance strategy and not seen as an end in itself. We believe cloud services, such as Azure, can offer a more streamlined way for customers to meet their GDPR compliance obligations.”

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If you want to get a head start on the competition, this guide will show you what you need to know to create enterprise-class database applications with the new software.

Getting started with SQL Server 2016

With the release of SQL Server 2016, Microsoft has added a ton of new features to make it easier than ever to create enterprise-grade applications. These features can help in organising (structured, semi-structure or even unstructured) and transforming data from raw into actionable knowledge.

With that in mind, let’s start by spinning up a virtual machine running SQL Server 2016. This provides an isolated environment that will allow us to get to grips with how SQL Server 2016 works. It is also quicker and easier than running it on local hardware.

Creating a new SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Virtual Machine 

You can create a new virtual machine running SQL Server on Azure. For more details on how to do that, click on this link. Note that SQL VM images include the licensing costs for SQL Server into the per-minute pricing of the VM you create. As we are getting started on SQL Server 2016, we should use the SQL Server Developer, which is free for development/testing (not production) or SQL Express and free for lightweight workloads (less than 1GB memory, less than 10 GB storage).

You can then configure basic settings (i.e. unique virtual machine name, a username for the local administrator account on the VM and provide a strong password). You will also need to type a name for a new resource group in the Resource group box. A resource group is a collection of related resources in Azure. Then you can choose a location for the deployment and click on OK.

The purpose of the virtual machine is to experiment with features, but not assess performance characteristics. Once this virtual machine is created, you can then connect to it through a RDP session or from your local SQL Server Management Studio client.

Uploading sample databases

When getting started with SQL Server 2016, you can use the AdventureWorks sample databases. These have new features already implemented, such as Always Encrypted, Row Level Security, Dynamic Data Masking, and so on. These sample databases can be found here. There are two relational databases and a zip file of samples to be downloaded.

You can then use the SQL Server Management Studio client to restore these backup files to the SQL Server instance running in the virtual machine. The SQL Server Management Studio can help in creating databases, tables, functions, views, stored procedures and other database objects using the GUI or with T-SQL code.

There is also a new Wide World Importers Inc. samples to upload and experiment with. These can be found here.

Working with sample databases

The AdventureWorks samples contain snippets of the following: Advanced Analytics (R Services); Always Encrypted; Data Masking; In-Memory Analytics; In-Memory OLTP; JSON; Polybase; Query Store; Row-Level Security; Stretch DB; and Temporal. There is a readme file that shows you the location of documents that detail how each new feature works and how to use them. These documents and the samples are a fantastic way to get to grips with the new features of SQL Server 2016.

These databases can be useful in testing new functionality. These include: Query Store, which is used to keep track of query performance; Temporal tables to keep track of the history of reference data; JSON to enable AJAX calls to some of the key tables; and In-Memory OLTP to optimise performance of table-valued parameters (TVPs) and consumption of sensor data, to name but a few.

Once you have read through the documents and tried out the features, remember to halt the virtual machine you are working on in order to prevent incurring additional charges.

As a global cloud and software expert, Crayon works with many of the world’s leading organisations to optimise their investment in complex technology. For example, after a 15-year absence, we’re helping Burger King re-establish itself in France by providing the firm with a technology optimisation strategy to support the rapid roll out of over 600 restaurants across the country. To read more about this or other Crayon projects click here or call one of our experts today.  

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We’re very excited to announce that Jan Rylund is now an official Speaker at Inspire 2017 – the Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference in Washington.

On 12th July, Jan will be presenting his thoughts on who we are, our strengths in the international market and our strong position at Microsoft.

Find out how we’re working with customers to form a deeper understanding in Artificial Intelligence and advanced analytics.

Also, be introduced to our project based on Homomorphic Encryption which we are working on with the Norwegian Cancer registry in co-operation with Microsoft Research. The session will be led by Tom Lawry, Director of Health Analytics in Microsoft Corp who will be interviewing Jan.

Looking forward to telling our story!

Register your attendance here

For further info on Inspire, take a look here

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In the count down to Inspire 2017, Crayon are delighted to invite you to the hottest, CRAZIEST event at this year’s Inspire.
Back by popular demand, the winner of ‘Last Comic Standing’, star of ‘Wait Wait…. Don’t Tell me!’, Headline act at ‘It’s showtime at the Apollo’ and previous celebrity guest on ‘The Tonight Show’, Alonzo Bodden will be tearing it up all over again!

Join us on Tuesday 11th July from 9.30pm.

Register your attendance here

Check out our web page here


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Join us at Microsoft Inspire and attend our Intelligent Cloud Power Briefing.

Supercharge Your Cloud Business in 60 minutes….. Plus Get Free Office 365 Migration!
Join us for this one hour power briefing specifically designed for Cloud Service Providers, Hosters and SI’s to learn how your enterprise can drive more value, more easily with less hassle from the Cloud.
Register your attendance here
For more information take a look here

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To protect systems from ransomware it really pays to know what’s going on within your infrastructure

Five ways a clear SAM strategy can help prevent you from becoming the next ransomware victim

When the WannaCry ransomware attack started in mid-May, in the UK much focus was on how the malware attacked and locked up computers in the NHS. Many computers within the NHS were still running XP, an operating system that hasn’t been supported by Microsoft for a good few years now.

The ransomware had targeted vulnerabilities within XP to lock up PCs and display a note demanding a ransom in Bitcoins, with the widespread nature of the problem led to Microsoft making the unusual move of offering a patch for computers running XP, the first in many years. Most media reports talked much about the NHS running out of data XP computers and a general lack of investment in IT by the world’s biggest healthcare system. An organisation that stopped paying Microsoft for XP patch support two years ago, due to “efficiencies” imposed by the Department of Health.

But this isn’t the whole story. And what followed is a timely reminder of why organisations need to know just what is going on within their infrastructure.

Not knowing which systems are really affected

As said, the focus was on XP, but it later transpired that almost all (98 per cent) of affected systems were running Windows 7 – an operating system whose end of expected support is not until 2020 (mainstream support for this operating system ended in 2015, but Microsoft still issued security updates).

However, enterprises around the globe were affected too. Indeed, many other organisations (such as Nissan), also suffered from the same attack, but presumably had newer systems in place than those found in the NHS.

Getting to grips with the problem is greatly helped if you have detailed reports of what systems are running where. That kind of visibility is the first step in securing your infrastructure.

Having the time to patch

The vulnerability that enabled WannaCry to wreak havoc was posted in mid-March, yet two months passed without some firms patching. A problem for many organisations (including the NHS) are that they have developed proprietary software that sits on top of XP and other outdated operating systems. Upgrading to Windows 10 would mean unpicking those apps and systems – it’s time consuming, perhaps up to 100 days can be lost testing third party apps at scale.

With a clear Software Asset Management (SAM) strategy in place, organisations have earlier visibility of such problems and this can allow a little more time to have solutions in place to fix or mitigate such proprietary software. At worst, knowing of such software through SAM discovery can allow organisations to quarantine systems on a closed network as a safety stopgap measure until updates take place.

Unlicensed systems download no patches

Another danger for organisations is the problem of unlicensed software. Not only is this a problem when an audit crops up and a vendor imposes fines for unauthorised installations – the same vendors may also prevent such software from receiving updates to those installations.

According to the Business Software Association 2015 rates of unlicensed software installation in the UK were at 22 per cent. Even in very regulated industries unlicensed use was surprisingly high. The survey found the worldwide rate is 25 percent — a full quarter — for the banking, insurance, and securities industries. Nearly half of CIOs identified security threats from malware as a major threat posed by unlicensed software, according to the research.

Much of this unlicensed software never gets updated as businesses don’t want to get “caught out” by vendors, something that leaves them wide open to malware infection by hackers.

While a software asset management system won’t actively sniff out security vulnerabilities, finding unlicensed software in the enterprise is a good indication that it may also be unpatched and vulnerable. This sort of intelligence is extremely valuable to an enterprise’s IT security team who can then use that data to target the potentially most vulnerable software in the infrastructure and remediate. This can significantly reduce the window between knowing of a flaw and patching it.

Avoiding shelfware to avoid ransomware

All too often organisations do have the correct licences to upgrade systems to the latest operating system and applications but for some reason do not. Knowing, through a software asset management system, where you have out-of-date software can allow IT managers to partially block access to the network from vulnerable machines until steps are taken to update them. This approach means that companies can avoid having shelfware and by doing so can also avoid ransomware affecting those PCs.

SAM and Security working together

Deploying SAM strategically alongside a software vulnerability manager allows the IT security team to work with the asset management team and narrow the gap between disclosure and remediation. Indeed, such tools can help in discovering, tracking and fixing flawed applications before they lead to an expensive hack.

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Mit Microsoft Secure Productive Enterprise können Sie Unternehmensdaten schützen und die Zusammenarbeit und Produktivität von Mitarbeitern optimieren

Stärken Sie Ihre Mitarbeiter mit Lösungen von Microsoft


Sicherheit ist für Ihr Unternehmen ebenso wichtig wie das Bremssystem für ein Auto. Sicherheitsvorkehrungen halten Sie auf dem Weg zum Ziel nicht unnötig auf, vielmehr helfen sie Ihnen dabei, schneller und sicherer ans Ziel zu kommen.

In der Secure Productive Enterprise Suite von Microsoft sind Sicherheitselemente kein Bremsklotz für produktives Arbeiten, sondern ermöglichen Mitarbeitern vielmehr ein besonders effizientes Arbeiten mit Schutz vor Cyberangriffen und Abwehrmechanismen zur Verhinderung eines Diebstahls geistigen Eigentums.

Secure Productive Enterprise umfasst Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise und die Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite. All diese Elemente tragen dazu bei, dass Ihre Mitarbeiter produktiver arbeiten und effektiver zusammenarbeiten können. Außerdem profitieren sie von erhöhter Mobilität und erhalten Zugriff auf wichtige geschäftliche Erkenntnisse. Zudem können all diese Vorteile innerhalb eines sicheren Frameworks genutzt werden.

Secure Productive Enterprise ist aus der Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) hervorgegangen, die vor einigen Jahren von Microsoft auf den Markt gebracht wurde. Damit sollte der Kaufvorgang für Organisationen vereinfacht werden und Mitarbeiter sollten von einem erweiterten Funktionsumfang für optimales Arbeiten profitieren.

Secure Productive Enterprise umfasst Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise und die Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite in einem einzigen Lizenzangebot. Außerdem erhalten Mitarbeiter so stets Zugriff auf die neuesten und fortschrittlichsten Technologien.

Ein großer Teil dieser erweiterten Technologielösung wird über innovative Sicherheitstools wie Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection zur Erkennung von Sicherheitsverletzungen an den Endpunkten, Microsoft Cloud App Security zur Steuerung der von Mitarbeitern verwendeten SaaS-Apps, Azure Information Protection zum Schutz von Daten im Unternehmen und Office 365 Advanced Security Management für mehr Transparenz und Kontrolle über die Office 365-Umgebung einer Organisation bereitgestellt.

Sicherheit ist ein entscheidender Aspekt, doch Mitarbeiter müssen auch über Tools verfügen, mit denen sie ihre Arbeit gut erledigen können. Secure Productive Enterprise bietet Mitarbeitern viele interessante Funktionen wie z. B. Office 365 Delve Analytics zur Analyse der persönlichen Produktivität. Office 365 Advanced e-Discovery ermöglicht Ihren Teammitgliedern ein Auffinden erforderlicher Informationen. Zudem können sie Microsoft Power BI für Datenanalyse und -visualisierung nutzen. Skype for Business PSTN-Konferenzen und Cloud-PBX bringen Sprachfunktionen in die Cloud, sodass Benutzer besser mit Kollegen und Partnern zusammenarbeiten können.

Sicherheit und Mobilität

Sicherheit endet nicht am Netzwerkrand einer Organisation. Mitarbeiter arbeiten zunehmend von außerhalb des Büros und müssen deshalb auch unterwegs auf Informationen zugreifen können. Doch auch mobil muss der Datenzugriff auf sicherem Wege erfolgen.

Microsoft hat die Enterprise Mobility Suite in Enterprise Mobility + Security umbenannt. Diese Version bietet mehr Sicherheit für die Verwaltung mobiler Geräte im Unternehmen.

Zum einen schützt Azure Active Directory Identity Protection das „Eingangsportal“ zu den Apps und Daten Ihres Unternehmens, indem es risikobasiert bedingten Zugriff auf Anwendungen und Daten Ihrer Organisation, inklusive mehrstufiger Authentifizierung, bietet. Azure Active Directory Privileged Identity Management hilft darüber hinaus, privilegierte Konten und deren Zugriff auf Ressourcen zu schützen.

Microsoft Intune Mobile App Management (MAM) hilft Organisationen dabei, Datenverluste auf mobilen Geräten zu verhindern, indem es die mobilen Office-Apps auch ohne Geräteregistrierung verwaltet.

Attraktive Funktionen in Windows

Windows 10 Enterprise ist nun in den zwei Varianten E3 und E5 verfügbar. Beide Varianten sind auf Organisationen ausgelegt, die sensible Kundendaten handhaben, in regulierten Branchen tätig sind oder geistiges Eigentum erstellen bzw. damit Einnahmen generieren. Beide Varianten verfügen über Sicherheits- und Verwaltungsfunktionen auf Unternehmensniveau wie Device Guard, Credential Guard und Managed User Experience.

Windows 10 Enterprise E5 bietet darüber hinaus Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection sowie erweiterte Verwaltungsfunktionen für die IT-Administration. So kann sichergestellt werden, dass Mitarbeiter vor Angriffen auf das Netzwerk geschützt sind, die ein produktives Arbeiten verhindern können.

Lösungen von Crayon für starke Unternehmen

Microsoft stärkt Unternehmen, indem es optimierte Technologien zur Verfügung stellt. Crayon hat sich darauf spezialisiert, Organisationen bei der Optimierung komplexer IT-Systeme zu unterstützen, um eine Kapitalrendite (ROI) sicherzustellen. Mit Secure Productive Enterprise kann sich Ihre Organisation eine Mischung aus den E3- und E5-Paketen sichern, die exakt auf die Bedürfnisse Ihrer Mitarbeiter zugeschnitten ist. Wir können Sie dabei unterstützen, eine geeignete Mischung für Ihre Organisation zu finden.

Als global agierender Cloud- und Softwareexperte arbeitet Crayon mit vielen der weltweit führenden Organisationen zusammen, um deren Investitionen in komplexe Technologien zu optimieren. So helfen wir beispielsweise Burger King nach 15-jähriger Abwesenheit bei der erneuten Erschließung des französischen Marktes, indem wir für das Unternehmen eine Strategie zur Technologieoptimierung bereitstellen, um ein schnelles Rollout von mehr als 600 Restaurants im ganzen Land zu unterstützen. Wenn Sie mehr über dieses oder andere Projekte von Crayon erfahren möchten, klicken Sie hier oder rufen Sie noch heute einen unserer Experten an.