ConnectWise was the first of the big technology service provider (TSP) platform companies to commit to working with OpenAI and its ChatGPT platform, announcing its plans in February.
There’s plenty of hype around ChatGPT and OpenAI since the generative AI beta was first released in late 2022. An essential question for managed service providers (MSP) is this: Is ChatGPT just a toy, or can it be used to generate real business value? And if it can generate real business value, what are the use cases that MSPs should explore?
What Can Generative AI do for MSPs?
ConnectWise made that early bet that generative AI such as ChatGPT could be used for business value. ChannelE2E caught up with ConnectWise CTO Raghu Ram Bongula and ConnectWise GM of monitoring and management Ameer Karim to talk about ChatGPT and the potential value it brings to managed service provider organizations.
“AI has been something that Raghu and I have been modeling and playing around with for quite some time,” Karim said. “Maybe the industry saw this as a surprise, but everyone has been trying to assess when the right time is to launch AI. We felt it was further along than what we originally thought.”
Why Integrate OpenAI With ConnectWise?
What was the goal of adding OpenAI generative AI technology into the ConnectWise experience for MSPs?
“We wanted to figure out how to use AI to make an MSP more efficient,” said Bongula, who joined ConnectWise as CTO in October 2022.
ConnectWise is using the Azure OpenAI version, which is more of a commercial version of ChatGPT, according to Karim. Karim and Bongula believe the integration could turn into a valuable time saver for technicians.
An MSP Technician Use Case for Open AI
For instance, a technician could ask the AI to write a PowerShell script to “show me every endpoint in my client’s environment running Windows 11 that has a battery life of 50% or less.” The AI would generate the PowerShell script in a few seconds and the technician could then deploy the script to get the results.
At a time when the technology talent market is so tight and it’s difficult to hire skilled IT pros, being able to automate this kind of work and save time for technicians could be a huge benefit.
Because this is also new technology, ConnectWise is proceeding carefully. For instance, there is some built-in moderation included in the platform.
“Users cannot put in whatever they want. For instance, no abusive language,” said Bongula.
What About Security?
“Security is at the forefront,” said Bongula. “From protocol to hardware to every layer. Everything we do is proactive.”
The integration of OpenAI with ConnectWise will be an iterative process. Bongula said that ConnectWise will refine models over time. It will be an ongoing process.
“We are going to learn and have it become more efficient,” he said.
That’s also one of the missions that ConnectWise has for MSPs, to help make them more efficient. Karim said that one of the ways to do that is by taking repetitive tasks and automating them so technicians can focus on the more difficult jobs.
“In the case of RMM, we’ve started with script building, how tickets are managed, how backups are managed,” he said. “We are also doing the same thing evaluating for business management products and cybersecurity.”
When Does ConnectWise OpenAI Roll Out?
Hundreds of ConnectWise customers signed up for early access to this AI capability. The company was set to begin turning it on for some of those customers the week of February 27.
“We’ll use most of March to get partner feedback and tune the model,” Karim said.
ChannelE2E will report back with updates to ConnectWise's OpenAI efforts.