COLUMN: A New Era Of AI-Based MSP Automation

Steven Burke

CRN Executive Editor Steve Burke says the time is now to leverage AI to reduce costs and scale your business.


The biggest factor for MSP success in the years ahead will ultimately be determined by just how effectively partners are implementing AI-based tools to run their business and serve customers.

The AI-based MSP tools arms race is on, with vendors moving fast to provide partners with the technology muscle to scale their business at a rate that was simply unimaginable just several years ago.

This is not just about Microsoft moving quickly to capture the AI high road with ChatGPT or Google battling back with Google Bard. This is about a new wave of MSP tools and AI-based services that are rewriting the rules of the MSP market.

Case in point: Pia, an AI-based service desk automation tool featured at CRN parent The Channel Company’s XChange conference last month. The Pia software is driving a 20 percent to 30 percent reduction in labor. Pia said it also is leading to eight times faster service ticket resolution and a 50 percent workload reduction.

[RELATED: Pia Looks To Score In North American MSP RPA Business]

One of the most highly regarded companies in the IT automation race is, of course, ServiceNow, which is bringing AI technology to process optimization in its new Now Platform Utah release. That enabled ServiceNow itself to identify 70 inefficiencies across 900 business processes and speed up time to resolution by 40 percent. It also powered a 30 percent productivity gain.

Given the benefits of AI-based services automation, it is no surprise that Hewlett Packard Enterprise just acquired OpsRamp, which is considered one of the premier AI tools used by MSPs.

David Stinner, founder and president of US itek, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based MSP standout, called the HPE OpsRamp acquisition a “game-changer” for HPE and its GreenLake pay-per-use cloud service.

“HPE has found a vendor who is highly integrated with meeting all the needs of both enterprises and MSP clients,” Stinner told CRN. “This makes HPE interesting as an MSP vendor. They have been off my radar, but I will now look at the OpsRamp platform. We currently use an AI platform called and we are about to roll out a new feature that will take incoming tickets and assign them based on the skill set of our technician, schedule them, and then follow up if the tickets go unattended.”

Stinner said he expects most of “the mundane stuff” MSPs have been doing for the past 15 years like checking for missed security patches will be automated with AI in the next three years.

The AI revolution will be powered by MSPs like Stinner. AI-based vendors would be wise to remember that as they develop their go-to-market models. Far too often, vendors are so AI obsessed they fail to take that MSP influence into account. Recognizing the high-value managed services MSPs provide means supporting them with internal use rights and the ability to price products and services as they see fit.

As for MSPs themselves, the time is now to get into the AI game to scale your business, reduce your costs and make you and your customers more competitive.

Steven Burke

Steve Burke has been reporting on the technology industry and sales channel for over 30 years. He is passionate about the role of partners using technology to solve business problems and has spoken at conferences on channel sales issues. He can be reached at

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