How MSPs Can Harness AI Demand to Boost Revenue

MSPs that integrate AI into services they provide customers can look for better efficiency, observability.

Dux Raymond Sy, Chief Brand Officer

March 15, 2024

3 Min Read
MSPs and AI
Alexander Limbach/Shutterstock

Artificial intelligence (AI) will transform — and already is transforming — how businesses operate, but many managed service providers have yet to provide a full suite of services that will support their transition and increased usage of AI. Last year, MSPs using AI saw increased efficiencies (53%) and cost savings (48%) as their top returns from the technology last year.

But beyond business efficiencies, MSPs should start integrating AI into their solutions to provide better services to end customers . CompTIA also revealed that, today, only 17% of MSPs are aggressively pursuing AI solutions, but the opportunity is vast for building services around this technology. Here's how and why it needs to be part of your road map and investment for 2024 and beyond.

Businesses Demand for AI Spans All Organizations and Business Sizes

AI usage continues to grow among businesses of all types and sizes. In fact, LinkedIn's Future of Work Report 2023 revealed that 77% of early users of Copilot for Microsoft 365 don't want to return to working without it. Regardless of industry or size of organization, CompTIA finds that 52% of companies anticipate using AI to automate IT operations, while 46% eye automating workflows. Similarly, 49% expect to reduce time spent on tasks with the use of AI, while 44% seek deeper data analysis. Interest in AI is so high to the point that 3 out of 4 C-suite executives think they could go out of business if they don't scale their usage of AI in the next five years, Accenture's research found.

Most businesses that want to roll out AI solutions effectively need a support system in ensuring their infrastructure is ready for this new technology; and this is where MSPs' services come in.

Businesses Need Support in Understanding Their Data First

While 82% of businesses outsource some or all their IT, according to Canalys, and MSPs are in the prime spot to provide the support companies need as they utilize AI more frequently. Case in point: Accenture revealed that 84% of business leaders believe they need AI for growth objectives, but 76% acknowledge they are struggling with scaling AI across their business.

Before they can implement AI, companies have to form the proper infrastructural foundation for AI operations. A solid data management and classification foundation is necessary for advanced data activities, otherwise organizations will suffer from the age old "trash in, trash out" problem.

With cleaner datasets, end-users can use AI more effectively and accurately. But as CompTIA showed that over one-third (36%) are seeing challenges with collecting and preparing the datasets needed for input into AI algorithms, MSPs can help companies by providing services to manage their information and eventually use AI at scale.

Data Protection Is Still Key

The importance of cybersecurity has inflated due to the increasing interest of companies in deploying AI. According to Deloitte, 72% of organizations have standards specific to cognitive technologies, such as AI, to promote safe usage. And yet, nearly a quarter (22%) of individuals are most concerned about data privacy when it comes to generative AI.

In addition, CompTIA's findings saw that only 44% have well-defined governance processes for cybersecurity and data. And when it comes to protecting company data, having a robust, automated governance strategy is essential. However, companies still fail to put governance at the top of their priority: only 5% of organizations put governance as part of their cybersecurity strategy. This shows that MSPs can be partners to companies that need to strengthen their cybersecurity measures as they prepare their infrastructure for utilizing AI in their organizations.

Ultimately, MSPs are uniquely positioned to leverage the escalating demand for AI usage across their end-customers — and the time is now. As a result of building services specific to AI, you'll deliver necessary end-customer value, leading to increased retention and overall revenue growth.

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MSPsChannel Research

About the Author(s)

Dux Raymond Sy

Chief Brand Officer, AvePoint

Dux Ramond Sy is AvePoint's chief brand officer. He applies his more than 20 years of business, marketing and technology experience to lead brand strategy at AvePoint. He wrote the book, "SharePoint for Project Management," and is recognized by Microsoft as a regional director (RD) and most valuable professional (MVP). He also hosts the #ShiftHappens podcast about technology-driven personal and organizational transformation stories.

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