Forecast 2024: Sunny With A Chance Of AI

Without a doubt, 2023 has been the year AI broke through in a big way, especially with the rise of ChatGPT and other generative tools. Now that we’ve had a bit of time for the dust to settle, we reached out to two leading industry experts—Nadir Merchant, general manager of IT operations products, Kaseya, and Robin Ody, senior analyst, Canalys—to get their insights and impressions on this highly relevant topic.

Nadir Merchant
Robin Ody

MSP SUCCESS : Do You Think AI’s For Real Or Overhyped?

NADIR: It’s real, however, the question is, can people do truly meaningful, commercial things with it? Think about an AI chat application. Even if the conversation is 95% perfect, you’re still going to know it’s a bot, and you’re going to be frustrated. You want AI to be useful without needing extra human intervention.

That’s the thinking behind the Cooper Intelligence Engine we’ve built into Kaseya. It helps you better utilize our software by giving tips on things you could do differently or capabilities you use to get better outcomes.

Cooper will actually say, “It looks like you need to do this thing that I can do for you” and create an interactive experience where a technician can control the AI and allow it to do the tasks. It’s a much more integrated approach to AI as part of the whole operational environment.

ROBIN: It’s definitely real and has applications today that are useful, but they’re in their infancy.

OpenAI has been in the background for the last three years but came to the forefront with Generative AI via ChatGPT, which is primarily text based.

If you look at ChatGPT, it’s incredibly advanced, but it’s still at the stage where if you’re using it for research or content generation, you want to be a subject matter expert to be able to fact-check the response you get and to be able to edit whatever you get back.

MSP SUCCESS: What Risks Do You See With This Technology?

NADIR: There are massive legal considerations, especially when you’re talking about open-source or publicly available AI technology. If you give it access to any data or systems or API that you manage or control, what does that mean for you? What sort of ownership rights does that infer on the person whose technology you’re using or on your own? Are you even entitled to use this thing the way you’re using it?

Different licenses have different commercial implications. So, really understanding licensing is massively important because there’s a ton of risk we open ourselves up to in those sorts of situations.

ROBIN: We’re starting to see researchers and professors from places like MIT suggesting putting guardrails around AI. And that’s interesting because when we say it’s real, it’s because of the amount of data these tools have access to. That’s why people are now pushing back.

A lot of people who would stand to benefit from AI tools are privately worried about where this could go, but they can’t say it publicly because they don’t want to be seen like Luddites. So, it certainly does have its dangers if we’re not careful.


NADIR: Leverage your vendors and peer groups to get up to speed. The overwhelming majority of organizations barely use 20% of the features they’re already paying for, so there’s a ton of additional value you can unlock just by learning to better utilize these technologies. At Kaseya, for example, we offer free services to help with this including training and certifications at all of our big events, like Kaseya Connect Global. We also make one-on-one phone calls to help our customers better utilize our software. And our partners want longer-term, more structured training. We can do that through a professional services organization.

People often have the best intentions of learning on their own, but they get busy or there’s a fire to fight. Then three months later, you realize, “Oh yeah, I forgot to finish that course!” Tools like Cooper Bots help because it exists to solve that exact problem.

ROBIN: As a CEO, you need to have a strategy. Talk to trusted sources, industry analysts, distributors, key contacts, and other MSPs. Learn what other people know and get updated on what your peers are doing. Talk about what this means for training your techs and what this means for your business.

Don’t make this a solo venture. There’s a whole community of people out there asking the same question. Make it collaborative because AI represents potential opportunity.

MSP SUCCESS: What Do You See Down The Road?

NADIR: People won’t necessarily be doing the same rudimentary tasks. Instead, they’ll be doing more advanced things . . . and more human things.

Say I’m a technician and I can crush 15 tickets in a day manually, but with AI tools, I could crush 500 tickets. Why not spend that time talking to customers and learning how technology can better help their business?

As AI enables your business to get more effective, providing that level of service will become a bigger differentiator for what you as an MSP can provide. A computer can’t yet have a relationship with a human being. And business and serving customers is all about the relationship. AI won’t replace that.

ROBIN: We primarily think about AI as automating processes, replacing people, or as a threat. What we don’t hear quite so much is how people can use it to build and grow businesses. How AI can improve the sales process, particularly the lead generation process.

The worst thing you could do is to use AI to thin your business down. Instead, you should use it to expand, employ more people, and certainly to make the jobs of those people that are currently there more interesting.

Businesses will use AI to employ more people, make them more efficient and happier in their jobs.

MSP Success Magazine is a print and digital publication dedicated to helping the CEOs and owners of managed IT services businesses build strong, profitable, growth-oriented businesses. Written and published by Robin Robins, founder of Technology Marketing Toolkit, this magazine is uniquely focused on the topics of marketing, client-acquisition, sales, profitability, leadership and personal development.



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