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Can AI help MSPs improve margin?

Can AI help MSPs improve margin?



Artificial intelligence (AI) is being touted as a magic elixir – whatever the problem is, AI is the answer. Unfortunately, it is not quite ready to do many of the more advanced things that people want to do. However, in previous pieces, I have detailed a few ways in which AI can help managed service providers (MSPs) in their dealings with customers.

Now, we come to the biggie – how can AI be used to improve margins?

Elevating MSP efficiency

At its most basic level, AI can be used to provide advanced analysis of data across the entire platform to provide a far more granular means of managing resources. Most MSPs already have methods of managing resources, but these are mostly centered on simple rules-based constructs.

AI can make things a lot more effective and can kick off actions based on complex event processing (CEP). For example, although an MSP’s platform can use simple analytics to ensure that resources are applied to workloads on an as-needed basis, spinning down resources into deep sleep or off modes to save energy is mainly based on using simple time-out actions.

It can also identify patterns both against historical and real-time data. This enables resources to be removed and put into a deep sleep or off mode immediately. It can also do the same to spin up resources ready for use. For an MSP, even a few percentage points of energy usage savings can lead to major cost savings.

Optimizing MSP operations with AI-driven automation

Part of this leads to how AI can help with other automation. Most MSPs will already have orchestration suites that help them automate many tasks, such as provisioning, patching, and upgrades. AI can bolster these tools by applying additional intelligence to ensure that running services maintain high levels of availability. It can also make sure patches are applied on time and only against services that can take the patch, and that roll-back to a known configuration can be quickly and effectively managed should there be any problems on the platform.

This enhanced management of the platform will improve margins. Higher availability will enable more actual work on the platform. Automation of tasks will reduce the need for human intervention. Indeed, applying AI to the help desk to weed out common requests. For example: “I’ve forgotten my password”, “How do I carry out this repetitive and simple task?” can be removed from the human aspect of the help desk completely, with AI-created responses being generated and routed to the user. It should be noted that AI systems are very close to being able to lead users through many of the issues that they come up against in real-time, rather than just using generative AI to send a textual response – this will help in providing opportunities for margin optimization through only using help desk staff for the really difficult issues.

Stay tuned for the second part where I delve into how AI can identify orphan usage and enhance customer management.

Photo: 3rdtimeluckystudio / Shutterstock

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