Managed services News

For MSPs, Customer Demand For AI Is Already Here

Wade Tyler Millward

‘It’s going to bring opportunities, especially opportunities for industries like ours, because this stuff is already voodoo witchcraft for our customers,’ says TrueIT CEO Zac Paulson.

Zac Paulson, CEO of TrueIT and Danny Perry, managing partner and chief of operations at ITCubed
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Artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation aren’t just in the realm of science fiction, and they aren’t technologies reserved for the largest enterprises and largest vendors, two MSP executives told an audience of their peers.

They are technologies in use today by MSPs and their customers, even if they don’t know it, Zac Paulson, CEO of Fargo, N.D.-based TrueIT—a member of CRN’s 2022 MSP 500—and Danny Perry, managing partner and chief of operations at Houston-based ITCubed, told a crowd at CRN parent The Channel Company’s XChange NexGen 2022 conference in Orlando, Fla.

“We’re already in the AI market,” Paulson said. “We’re already doing this. You’re seeing it each and every day. … [And] in an inflationary market, we’re going to see that driving faster and faster.”

[RELATED: 10 Hot Products And Services We Saw At XChange NexGen 2022]

What Is AI And ML?

Kelvin Justice, COO of Dallas-based GLF Group, said he attended the talk because he is interested in AI, although finding the time to dedicate to adopting new automation tools for his company is a time- consuming task.

“One way or another, it’s coming,” Justice said of ubiquitous AI and ML in business.

Paulson has observed automation in his everyday life—in autocorrected text messages, in predictive typing in email services and even when his daughter speaks to a computer to turn speech into text for a class, he told the crowd.

Along with the perhaps better-known automation tools from large vendors—IBM Watson, Oracle AI and Microsoft’s Power Automate, for example—plenty of tools exist for MSPs to add more automation to speed up their work, Perry told the crowd.

Crushbank aims to help MSPs with data organization, and MSPBots.AI is for service technician efficiency. IronScales, Proofpoint and SentinelOne all offer automation around threat protection. In addition, MSP Toolshed offers automated client on-boarding, and ServicePulse can be used for identifying and assessing customer interactions. Rewst can help with ticket, security and operations automation. And multiple remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools have built-in automation.

Perry’s own company has used automation tools aimed at MSPs to speed up ticket resolution and for tracking customers’ past IT issues, he said.

“Our clients already utilize AI, machine learning, automation, obviously, at some level,” Perry said. “If they are using it heavier and heavier in the future, what are their expectations of us going to be from the perspective of support, from the levels of expertise that we will need as MSPs in order to manage their workloads using machine learning, AI and automation?”

AI can raise concerns about replacing workers. But even in IT, customers will still want a human touch, Paulson said.

“As the bot makes the decisions, where do the warm fuzzies for the human come from?” he said. “So there’s another great example of how we’re going to offload one workload, but we’re still going to need the things that only humans have. … Like most disruptions, it’s going to bring opportunities, especially opportunities for industries like ours, because this stuff is already voodoo witchcraft for our customers.”

Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at

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