Exploding AI demand creates new opportunities for UK MSPs

By Chris Shaw, Manager UK Channel, Avepoint.

  • Wednesday, 3rd July 2024 Posted 2 weeks ago in by Phil Alsop

In 2024, demand for AI has continued to rise to unprecedented levels across the UK. In fact, according to a new report, over 80% of organizations plan to expand their use of AI in the next year. This explosion of demand has led to substantial new investment in AI hardware and software. It’s also created exciting new opportunities for MSPs, with £118 billion in available services projected to be on the table, per Jay McBain of Canalys. 

As the AI revolution accelerates, more UK MSPs are engaging with AI to better serve their clients. This means providing both the technical support to enable AI, as well as the technical support systems that are necessary for its continued success. In this article, I’ll talk about how and why MSPs are helping end users do more with AI all around the country and world.  

AI demand is broad across UK industries, regions 

Government research recently found that 68% of large businesses in the UK use at least 1 AI technology. According to the 2024 AI and Information Management Report, ChatGPT is still the most popular AI tool, followed by Microsoft Copilot and then Google Gemini. Many other organizations, meanwhile, have created bespoke tools that don’t require software from an external vendor.  

With use and availability expanding rapidly, it’s become clear that demand for AI transcends industry and region, which is good news for MSPs and their customers. Research finds that most AI-adopting organizations are using the technology to streamline business operations (64%), enhance customers insights (57%), and enact cost reduction and resource optimization (55%). These activities don’t just apply to one industry—they're broadly applicable objectives that work across industries and regions.  

 

As more businesses and organizations adopt AI, they’ll need greater support to get the technology running to its fullest, and that’s where MSPs come in. By providing essential services and support systems, MSPs can help their customers succeed while making significant advancements toward their own business goals.  

Information management is critical 

Research shows that organizations with a mature information management strategy are 1.5x more likely to realize the full benefits of AI, which highlights the importance of information management to AI-adopting organizations. And yet, in spite of this, over 50% of companies are using AI without an acceptable use policy in place—a  basic component of any information management strategy. In addition, only 5% of organizations put governance as part of their cybersecurity strategy. This suggests that many companies have not properly prepared their organizations or enterprise data for the arrival of AI.  

 

To craft mature information management strategies, companies should implement automated processes, consistent classification, and structured governance across the board, which means a curtailment of manual processes, inconsistent classification, and ad-hoc governance. In the UK, MSPs can help aid this transition by providing customers and end-users with the technical support and support systems that they need to ensure that AI tools run smoothly.  

Cybersecurity concerns linger—MSPs can help 

When it comes to adopting and using AI, more organizations are paying attention to AI-related cybersecurity concerns. While AI is a powerful tool, it does have risks that can be exploited by bad actors. Data breaches and exposures, privacy violations, and cybersecurity attacks all loom as potential sources of risk. For example, 45% of organizations experienced at least one instance of data exposure during AI implementation. By providing customers and end-users with complete support and technical systems, UK MSPs can help ease data exposure concerns and limit cybersecurity risks before, during, and after AI implementation.  

Moreover, AI software vendors understand the substantial value of working with MSPs and are doing so in greater numbers. According to Canalys, MSPs now operate in a £400+ billion market, which means that they have a greater role than ever to play in both the evolution of AI enterprise technology, and the evolution of enterprise technology more generally. As AI becomes even more widely and maturely used across industries, the opportunity for MSPs and their customers will only continue to grow.  

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