Unlocking AI

AI is the future of work and Tim Britt, director of sales and channel, EMEA, Dropbox Business, explains how MSPs and resellers can be the guiding light for their customers.

There’s no question AI is a hot topic. So, it’s no surprise that every company is looking at ways in which they can embrace AI models.

However, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and resellers need to ensure the models they’re investing in adhere to upcoming regulation, as well as their own values. As the intermediaries and third-party advisories that customers look up to, it’s important to be the continuous and steady guide, that can lead customers forward in the new age of technology.

Remote and hybrid working has elevated the importance of using the right technologies, especially when businesses are having to be savvier than ever when it comes to investing and prioritising costs. This is largely due to the global economy’s slow recovery from the pandemic, which has been burdened with ongoing geopolitical tensions.

AI and regulation

The race for companies to create their own AI models and keep up with the ‘ChatGPT arms race’ is well and truly on. As a result, it’s important for businesses, especially MSPs and resellers, not to get lost in technology and fall behind when innovating against competitors.

It’s important to understand how new AI laws, including the EU AI Act, can change businesses and how to prepare for this. Yet often, big adjustments in how technology can be used throughout businesses can be overwhelming and companies may not be aware of the steps they need to take to overcome this challenge.

The shifting focus towards regulation is already starting to affect MSPs and resellers. Now, they need to ensure that they’re prepared to help guide vendors and customers in making decisions about AI that are right for them.

Adapting AI

MSPs and resellers can adapt to AI in the workplace in a few ways. First, they should have clear ways of working – both internally and for their customers. Businesses need to have streamlined processes when it comes to tackling challenges in the digital world.

MSPs and resellers need to ensure they have clear ways of working – both for their employees and for their customers, allowing for technological innovation. Resellers provide their customers with simplified ordering processes, whilst offloading procurement and order processing tasks.

Whereas MSPs often handle management services on a daily basis, so customer organisations can focus on improving their services without worrying about extended system downtimes or service interruptions.

Next, channel companies should have a personalised plan in place. In some cases, businesses wrongly consider technology as a silver bullet and try to see it as the answer to every problem.

At Dropbox, we believe that AI has the huge potential to unlock a more productive way of working - but only if the technology is applied intentionally, and in the right way. The best way to achieve this is by implementing a personalised plan for AI development that works towards clear goals and in line with the businesses budget and existing systems.

Finally, channel companies should root their AI development in values. MSPs and resellers need to keep in mind that AI isn’t the solution to everything. If used incorrectly it can result in poor user experience, an ineffective use of resources, and in some cases, it can produce incorrect information. This can cause a lack of efficiency and a negative effect on employee productivity.

To use AI in the right way, MSPs and resellers need to root tools in principles that are consistent with their company values. This will help to get the foundations right at the start of their AI journey, to ensure that its being used in the right way, from the get go.

This thoughtful approach, combined with the right AI-powered technology, has the power to revolutionise businesses for the better. For example, when deployed effectively, AI-powered universal search that is personalized to your content, has the ability to change how we work.

By connecting all of your tools, apps and content into one single search bar, people can quickly search and organise all of their information and tools, as well as summarise information at the drop of a hat.

In doing so, there’s a huge opportunity to save precious time - and that’s why, embracing this new era of AI products will enable people to work smarter and faster, with a positive input back into businesses.

What comes next?

It’s easy for businesses to feel overwhelmed as AI takes a larger focus for many industries. Generative AI has shown enormous economic potential and could boost global labour productivity. Its potential scale is reflected in anticipated investments in technology, which are expected to amount to around $200 billion globally by 2025, according to economists at Goldman Sachs.

However, with the right knowledge and understanding of individual customer needs, MSPs and resellers can step up to navigate their customers and their business through AI journey. Together, channel companies and their customers can unlock the full potential of AI and create a better workplace for all.

This opinion piece was included in our October 2023 print issue. You can read the magazine in full here.

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