The artificial intelligence market is growing fast. According to Stanford University’s AI Index, there’s been a 14X increase in AI startups since the year 2000. Jobs requiring AI skills have grown 4.5X since 2013. Forward-thinking companies are considering how AI fits in their organizations, and many of them have a defined AI strategy already. For many businesses, AI may be one of the biggest competitive advantages of the century. Although large enterprises have the benefit of teams of experts to guide their approach to AI, small and medium-sized businesses do not. That’s where the friendly neighborhood MSP comes in. As an IT pro, you’re uniquely positioned to help clients take advantage of the latest AI trends.
Is AI as a Service Your Next Big Offering?You’re probably already offering packaged services for things like active management, backups, and so on, but where does AI fit? As with other services, providing AI solutions is first a matter of discovering the value it can bring to clients. Just look at the way many MSPs sell backup and disaster recovery. It’s not about taking backups; it’s about preventing costly downtime. Uptime is valuable to clients, which makes backup and DR an excellent service. AI works the same way. Think less about providing AI and more about the specific benefits AI can provide. Below are a few ideas you can get started with right now.
Helping Clients Enhance CXAccording to Accenture, bots can handle 80 percent of customer service interactions. By providing your clients with AI-powered chatbots, you can help them reduce labor costs, improve response times, and increase satisfaction among their customers. Getting clients up and running is simple since vendors are already providing white-labeled chatbots you can resell. Offer these solutions for a small monthly fee, and you get a low-maintenance, AI-powered revenue stream.
Powering Better Data ProtectionCybercriminals are beefing up distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) using botnets powered by sophisticated AI and machine-learning systems. Thanks to these tools, it’s easier than ever for cyber baddies to launch an attack. Luckily, AI can also offer a few remedies. For DDoS attacks, AI can spot abnormal network activity and automatically take actions that prevent a DDoS attack from succeeding. Many current antivirus and anti-malware solutions also rely on artificial intelligence to scan files, identify threats, and eliminate those threats without human intervention. Further, many app security and firewall solutions leverage AI to keep networks safe and sound. Take a look at the latest in cybersecurity and consider whether AI-equipped solutions can enhance security and provide extra value to your clients.
Creating Business IntelligenceIn the past, we’ve discussed the potential of data analytics services for MSPs. Done well, data analytics solutions can turn MSPs into oracles thanks to intelligent algorithms that make raw data useful. When businesses combine mass amounts of data with artificial intelligence, they get faster ways to make smart decisions. By reselling white-labeled analytics solutions, you can position yourself as a provider of data analytics services for your clients and help them cash in on the explosive growth of big data.
Developing Custom ApplicationsWhile many MSPs aren’t equipped to do it, developing custom AI applications can be profitable. First, discuss your client’s goals. What does the client want to accomplish and how can a custom app help? With a plan in mind, your team can leverage open-source AI and machine-learning platforms like TensorFlow, Theano, and Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit. These platforms allow developers to create neural networks that can automate tasks and processes, and even power better decision-making for your clients.
ConclusionAI is still a niche market for MSPs but the potential is growing. By educating your team and starting with some basics now, you position yourself to capitalize on opportunities as they become available. Some of your clients will want the competitive advantages AI can offer—will you be ready to help when they need it?
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