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

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January 8, 2024 |

How AppDirect’s New AI Bot Creator Empowers MSPs in a Fast-growing Industry

AppDirect AI Marketplace simplifies the process through a user-friendly, consumer-like interface that covers all aspects of building and enabling a bot.

B2B subscription commerce platform AppDirect is in the beta phase of a new solution that will allow IT services providers to harness the power of artificial intelligence by easily creating personalized AI bots, offering a key revenue-boosting opportunity.

Creating generative AI bots typically has been a challenging task for managed services providers, demanding specialized coding expertise that is not commonly available. But the AppDirect AI Marketplace solution, which is set to roll out this year, offers users a secure platform that does not require any coding skills. AI bots can be created based on a choice of popular large language models – including ChatGPT, Llama, Bard, or Cohere – and then shared on a secure platform, effectively monetizing bots in various marketplaces, AppDirect announced last month.

Peush Patel of AppDirect

Peush Patel

In the past, MSPs may have avoided embarking on this effort because of the difficult, labor-intensive, and time-consuming process required, said Peush Patel, AppDirect vice president of product management. However, AppDirect AI Marketplace simplifies that process through a user-friendly, consumer-like interface that covers all aspects of building and enabling a bot, Patel noted.

“It requires no programming or technical expertise, allowing users to set up a bot in mere minutes. Creators interact with the AppDirect Marketplace through an intuitive interface, following prompts to select key bot elements, including contextual understanding, building the knowledge base, selecting the bot’s personality, and setting sharing parameters. The AppDirect Marketplace seamlessly handles the intricate backend work of AI bot creation, including data extraction and formatting for the LLM, streamlining the entire process.”

Addressing MSP Needs with AI Bots

There are several ways MSPs can leverage the AI Marketplace, Patel explained. A couple of examples include:

1. Streamlined knowledge sharing

MSPs often possess extensive hands-on expertise in diverse software implementations, configurations, customizations, and hardware installations. They frequently seek to document and share this knowledge with staff, especially new hires, for training purposes. By employing a Gen AI-powered bot on AppDirect’s Marketplace with access to this knowledge repository, MSPs can streamline the knowledge-sharing process, making it readily accessible on demand.

“Users can build a custom knowledge base for their AI bot. This capability makes it simple to specify relevant information for the AI so it can deliver accurate and useful responses,” Patel said. “Users can source the data for retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) from various locations, including local storage like Google Drive or Microsoft Azure. To train the AI, users can also opt to add images, specific websites, or URLs as part of the knowledge base.”

Employees can pose questions to the chatbot about specific topics and receive prompt responses. They can ask questions like, “What are the steps for migrating a VMs from AWS to Azure? Which tools are available to assist with such migration? What are the important prerequisites that I should consider?”

2. Efficient Document Creation

MSPs regularly have to produce statements of work for their client projects, a process that is time-intensive and demands specialized understanding of various elements, such as the scope of work, resource allocation, legal terms and conditions, and pricing. AI – particularly systems powered by LLMs – is adept at creating such documents and contracts when provided with an ample knowledge base, Patel explained.

“These AI systems can do more than just draft documents; they can also be trained to assist in certain negotiation scenarios.”

In addition, the solution offers robust enterprise-grade, role-based access controls. Users can determine who has access to their bot, whether that’s a specific user, all users within a certain group or organization, or the general public, Patel said. Additionally, any documents uploaded for the bot’s data use are securely stored in a Microsoft Azure environment, ensure no backend user has access to the data, he said.

And none of the data is shared directly with OpenAI; rather, GPT models are hosted on the Azure platform, he said.

Revenue Generation and Business Growth

The AppDirect AI Marketplace is well-timed, as the demand for AI tools is surging.

In fact, generative AI products are projected to grow to a $1.3 trillion market by 2032, Bloomberg Intelligence reported last June. This puts AppDirect in a position to assist the global B2B landscape to leverage and reap the benefits of AI’s possibilities, like improving operational efficiencies and creating opportunities for monetization through digital commerce and distribution, according to the AppDirect news release.

“Combining our marketplace expertise, digital commerce platform capabilities, and the massive application of AI, AppDirect is in a distinct position to accelerate and democratize AI adoption for non-technical users that buy, sell, and manage technology,” AppDirect Chairman and CEO Nicolas Desmarais said in a prepared statement.

Additionally, the GenAI bots created through AppDirect AI Marketplace can do more than just answer user inquiries, Patel elaborated.

“These bots eventually will be equipped to autonomously perform tasks such as initiating installations, applying configurations, sending SMS messages, and dispatching email notifications, among other actions. They will effectively serve as co-pilots for MSP consultants, enhancing efficiency and reducing redundancies. This, in turn, will lead to increased revenue and improved profit margins.”

As AppDirect AI Marketplace continues its rollout in 2024, it will address IT services providers’ specific needs. By simplifying bot creating, ensuring robust security measures, and offering revenue opportunities, MSPs are well-positioned to thrive with these innovative solutions.


Image: DALL-E


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