Artificial Intelligence or AI is one of the biggest buzzwords for 2020 in the IT industry. At the enterprise level, AI is being used to analyze big data, for interactive voice-based customer service, and to build more efficient logistics. At the consumer level, we see AI at work in our mobile assistants, home assistants, and shopping recommendations at big retailers. But the MSP industry has been slow to see the adoption of this technology for themselves or for their SMB clients. What should MSPs know about AI?
Let’s get one thing out of the way first; AI is not going to become self-aware and take over the world. Yet. All of the AI systems available to the public now are what is called Narrow AI. Narrow AI is what we see at work in chatbots, Siri, email spam filters, IBM’s Watson, and self-driving cars. Narrow AI is capable of performing specific tasks for which it is programmed and can do this very well. It cannot, however, perform tasks outside of its programming and even with limited learning capabilities cannot learn beyond what it was programmed to learn.
Like with any software, it matters what you put into it. If you put garbage into it then you can expect garbage out. AI is not a magic wand that will solve every problem. But if you select the right tool, feed it good signals, and have realistic expectations, then AI can be a powerful enhancement to your processes and services.
We see AI at work in some of the tools available to us today. The security companies like Webroot use AI to more accurately identify threats and potential threats based on millions of signals and patterns.
We also see AI at work with Triafy. Their software uses AI to assist dispatchers and first-level support personnel in solving customer issues faster without having to use level 2 and 3 resources.
ServicePulse uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP) to identify customer interactions that may need review by a service manager. We also categorize tickets automatically based on the contents of the ticket without having to rely on our support staff to categorize manually. Using our algorithm, you’re able to save time reviewing tickets because our software will tell you the tickets that need to be reviewed. This application of AI is a powerful example of how AI can be used to improve efficiency.
The three things MSPs should know about AI are:
- AI is well suited for specific tasks like natural language processing, voice recognition, and pattern recognition. This application is called Narrow AI and is not to be confused with General AI (which has not been achieved). Narrow AI can be reactive-only or can have limited memory (e.g. how Google knows how to finish your search terms).
- AI can be a competitive advantage for MSPs that leverage the power to be more efficient or offer better services. ServicePulse helps you be more efficient by spending less time reviewing tickets.
- Help educate your customers about how AI can improve their business. Every industry that relies on technology is being disrupted by AI. Do some research and see how AI can apply to your customers’ business. (Here is an article for the legal industry)