Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have existed in some form or fashion ever since the computer became mainstream. Their relevance rose sharply in the 1990s but really took off in the 2000s with RMM software allowing remote monitoring. But where is it going in the future? Despite numerous speculations, the future of MSPs remains bright and promising.

There has been talk for many years about how MSPs are going away and how they are an old-fashioned way of doing business. There was a time when Microsoft started Lighthouse, and everyone stated that they didn’t need MSPs anymore as Microsoft was taking over. Now, with AI, people are saying that in the future, AI will take over everything.

The ongoing debate about AI is intriguing. While it serves as a valuable ‘assistant’ for many, it’s clear that we’re still years away from fully replacing human jobs. In the business world, AI is a tool, not a replacement for people. This distinction is crucial when considering the future of MSPs.

AI and automation can handle many tasks efficiently, but the human touch in managing and solving complex IT issues remains irreplaceable. They are, in fact, a great asset for many tier 1 techs as the basic information can be found readily online by ChatGPT. The answers are straightforward in most cases, or ChatGPT can provide some basic troubleshooting steps that may be common knowledge for tier 2 or tier 3 but are new and unknown for many tier 1 techs.

The second part of why AI can’t replace tier 1 tech support at this point is that the human interaction part is wanting. Everyone has had that user who doesn’t know what a browser is or requires you to sit there and look at it with them. Those types of scenarios with the current AI cannot be resolved easily by AI. A secondary would-be issue that requires the de-escalation of an angry client. At this point, the AI does not know how to handle those types of situations either, as even the current latest-gen AI sounds soulless. There are obviously more, but we will have to come back to this discussion in 20 to 30 years, which is plenty of time for everyone to retire at a beach with a cool margarita.

Despite the numerous speculations, MSPs are here to stay. The slow pace of technology adoption and the enduring value of human interaction in all aspects of business reaffirm this. Remember, while automation is beneficial, it’s the human touch that truly distinguishes a great MSP.