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generative AI

We are still in the early days, but it’s apparent that generative artificial intelligence (AI) is about to have a major impact on how IT service and support is delivered. Just about every IT vendor is already racing to expose some type of large language model (LLM) to the corpus of documents they rely on to provide service and support. The goal is to provide customers with access to a natural language chat interface through which they can resolve routine issues. For example, generating a summarization that enables them to self-service their issue better.

Naturally, that capability is going to have a profound impact on how service and support teams are constructed. It will also affect a much wider swath of the first tier of support services being provided will be increasingly automated as fewer requests for support are made to a help desk.

AI will elevate, not replace, IT service and support

Given the complexity of IT environments, it’s not likely service and support teams will be replaced by AI. Though they most certainly will be reconstituted. The need for fewer individuals to provide the first-tier support means more of the budget allocated to these tasks can be allocated to hire IT professionals to resolve problems that typically arise any time platforms and services from multiple vendors are integrated.

Any recommendation made by a generative AI platform given certain proclivities to hallucinate still needs to be vetted by humans. As more customized LLMs are trained on a narrow set of data, such as a knowledge base created by service and support teams, the accuracy of the output being generated will improve. That capability will not only make technicians more efficient it. It will also substantially reduce the amount of time required to onboard new.  Each new member of the team will be able to launch natural language queries to understand the extent of the crisis at hand instantly. IT support teams, thanks to various types of co-pilot tools built using generative AI platforms, should also be able to resolve more incidents faster.

A number of AI options

Generative AI is, of course, only one type of AI that managed service providers (MSPs) will be applying with increased frequency in 2024. Ultimately, the goal is to provide better customer service in a way that should ultimately make MSPs more profitable.

Each MSP will need to determine what level of investment in AI is appropriate. At this point, it’s not a question of if but rather to what degree to make that investment. Most MSPs are, at the very least, experimenting with AI. The challenge now is determining how to operationalize AI at scale in a way that consistently drives reliable outcomes. Most customers are not going to tolerate an AI experience that winds up being worse than what they currently expect and enjoy. MSPs need to move forward with care.

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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