Can AI Save Managed Services?

As a general statement, artificial intelligence (AI) has not had much of a role to play in the birth or growth of the managed services profession. MSPs have long been considered an evolutionary business model to the break/fix and professional services IT consultants of the 1990s.

Break/Fix business models relied on technology and human intervention. Time and materials billing models were standard in this business model, which is one of the reasons break/fix companies wanted to become MSPs. The allure of touching more customers, delivering more services, and achieving higher margins and revenue using the same headcount was, and is still today, very powerful.

The New MSP Growth Barrier

Today, MSPs are dealing wiht a new obstacle in their quest for growth: human capital. Along with tightening labor markets across most sectors of the economy, IT specific unemployment is very low. A tight IT labor market means acquiring new human talent is becoming challenging, at the very moment where demand for managed services is increasing globally.

MSP expansion and growth within a tight labor market might seem challenging. We have explored options for MSPs to deal with this labor shortage in other articles. What I would like to explore today is the idea that AI could become one possible solution for MSP scalability.

AI in a Managed Services Environment

The impact of AI in a managed services environment are considerable and diverse. The presence of AI in a NOC and help desk could unleash tremendous scalability and expansion of the MSP's reach. The following are just a few of the areas where AI could help an MSP.

  • More efficient monitoring of managed objects
  • Increased accuracy of event correlation
  • Faster times for ticket response
  • Increased ticket resolution times
  • Fewer NOC technicians required per managed customer

Unless MSPs figure out a way to implement AI themselves, these advancements will likely have to come from the vendor community. Specifically, the RMM and ticketing vendors may need to invest in AI capabilities for their platforms to unleash new potential for their MSPs.

AI functionality is a perfect match in an MSP service delivery environment. MSPs have a lot of customers with even higher numbers of objects to manage. Extending a managed services team with AI technology can both bring capability and growth, as well as an enhanced customer service experience for the customer.

Now, all we need to do is make it happen!

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