Sherweb’s Michael Slater believes AI, specifically for MSPs, is very practical.
Slater, head of sales for Microsoft and cybersecurity at the Quebec-based IT distributor, discussed the 2024 channel outlook for MSPs, AI and Microsoft at the XChange NexGen 2023 conference in Houston this week hosted by CRN parent company The Channel Company.
He highlighted Microsoft 365 Copilot, which is an AI assistant feature for Microsoft 365 applications, services and Windows and teased what’s to come for the “everyday AI companion.”
And it’s all about opportunity.
[Related: Sherweb Launches Microsoft-Backed Black Partner Growth Initiative]
“Is it going to be, ‘I’m just going to use AI to fix some of my clients’ problems? Is Security Copilot going to make things more secure? Is Dynamics going to give more access to more information?’ Not necessarily,” he said. “I think the future of AI, very short term over the next year, is extremely practical.”
He said that AI is for adults as AI is not something MSPs can throw at every customer. For those customers that are ready to take the next step using AI, MSPs can have that conversation of the next steps.
“This is a great opportunity to have a discussion and offer most clients something special and [MSPs] can potentially double the revenue per user,” he said. “The name of the game is AI readiness.”
Sherweb’s goal is not to just be a marketplace where MSPs buy tools, but rather a place where it can help MSPs grow their business and be a consulted partner in their growth.
“[Microsoft] is a great software company, they’re not a great dealing-with-people company,” he said. “They scale through us to reach that midmarket.”
He said Microsoft has done “a pretty good job” growing a “very small side business” of cloud into their main flagship feature.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth…all utilizing Microsoft’s engine for that because it’s gone up so much,” he said. “We think that there’s going to be a massive opportunity for that going into the AI cloud.”
In a post digital transformation world, AI will be at the top of everyone’s minds and used in almost every platform, like Microsoft, and Sherweb is here to help MSPs along their journey.
Brent Yax, CEO of Troy, Michigan-based MSP Awecomm Technologies, said there’s a lot of “hype” around what Microsoft Copilot will be able to do. “But in terms of how that’s going to roll out to clients, it’s unknown right now,” he said.
For his business, he said it will be similar to ChatGPT in that it can “peel off things” that are typically outsourced, like marketing campaigns or proposal writing.
“The exciting part is that it integrates with all the Microsoft tools,” he told CRN. “So all of the data you have in the Microsoft ecosystem is going to be digestible or consumable by Copilot.”