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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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News & Articles

May 5, 2023 | Pedro Pereira

MSPS Can Use ChatGPT to Drive Business Efficiencies

Automating customer service inquiries, providing virtual tech support, and handling repetitive tasks are just some of the ways MSPs can utilize ChatGPT.

CHATGPT HAS BEEN THE TALK of the internet for months. With its ability to ingest gobs of data and deliver human-like responses to questions, the chatbot captures imaginations and fuels fears. On one hand, educators worry students will pass off ChatGPT’s work as their own, and cybersecurity professionals fret that threat actors will use it to create more believable phishing emails. On the other hand, ChatGPT could help make MSPs’ businesses more efficient.

One reason ChatGPT is generating so much buzz is that it caught the attention of tech giant Microsoft. So far, the software behemoth reportedly has pumped $10 billion into ChatGPT creator OpenAI to continue refining the tool. Microsoft’s Azure is the exclusive cloud provider for ChatGPT.

Jay McBain, chief analyst of channels, partnerships, and ecosystems at Canalys, envisions plenty of opportunities for MSPs to put ChatGPT to work.

“MSPs can potentially use ChatGPT for various purposes, such as automating customer service inquiries, providing virtual technical support, and handling repetitive tasks. Additionally, ChatGPT can be used to generate reports, summaries, and other written content for MSPs,” McBain says.

Paul Parisi, founder and president of MSP SaviorLabs, in Boxford, Mass., says he has been experimenting quite a bit with ChatGPT. “We are using it to validate source code that does not work and check for bugs,” he says. “We have also experimented with writing easy-to-understand, nontechie, end-user documentation.”

How well does ChatGPT work? “Astonishingly well for such a young piece of software,” Parisi says. “The answers are almost always very good. Certainly better than someone with less than 10,000 hours of experience in the subject matter.”

ChatGPT Limitations

ChatGPT is one of the most powerful language-processing AI models available, using 175 billion parameters to generate answers. Still, it isn’t without flaws. The quality of results hinges largely on how questions are worded, users say. That’s because the model uses connections between different data it ingests to provide answers.

“Changing one word in the question can produce a markedly different answer,” says Parisi. “ChatGPT uses a predictive algorithm to decide each word of the answer and then predicts the next word to output, all based on the connections it learned from ingesting its data.”

Amy Babinchak, owner of MSP Harbor Computer Services in Royal Oak, Mich., has used ChatGPT to satisfactory results when asking the chatbot to write variations of social media content. But when she asked ChatGPT to write her bio, the chatbot was less successful.

“Asking it to generate its own content was not great,” Babinchak says. However, she adds, “That will change quickly. We have to remember that we’re working with limited beta code.”

Microsoft’s Investment

Babinchak believes Microsoft has big plans for the tool. “Microsoft will use ChatGPT to improve everything it does,” she says. “It will help people write, design, and communicate more effectively and with more authority. We’re going to find it in every Microsoft product.”

Parisi agrees that Microsoft will integrate the tool into all of its products. And it just may give Google a run for its money in the monetization of search. “It is said that someone will always know how to outrun the frontrunner,” he notes.

McBain says that while Microsoft hasn’t specified its intentions for ChatGPT, the company “may be using or plan to use ChatGPT for various conversational AI applications such as chatbots, virtual assistants, or customer service bots.”

In the future, Babinchak expects AI models such as ChatGPT will help MSPs wade through massive data volumes. “Our tools produce [a] vast amount of log information—far too much for the unaided to digest,” she says. “AI has been used in this area for a long time, but I think that we’ll see a vast improvement in its ability to identify behaviors and trends and follow a case through to the end. We have it today, but it is really in its infancy.”

PEDRO PEREIRA is a New Hampshire-based freelance writer who has covered the IT channel for two decades.

Image: iStock / BlackJack3D


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