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Channel Partners AI Symposium Packed with Expertise, Opportunities

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The Channel Partners Conference & Expo and MSP Summit, March 11-14, in Las Vegas, will feature several keynote and conference sessions that compose the AI Symposium, helping partners to understand this quickly evolving technology and predicting how AI will benefit the channel in the years ahead.

The AI Symposium will cover transforming tech support, cybersecurity, sales and marketing, and overall business success. There’s no hotter topic in the channel right now than AI.

On March 11, Chris Carter, chairman and CEO of Approyo, will present “Revolutionary AI Technology Transforms Tech Support for Faster, More Efficient Solutions for IT Departments.”

Attendees will learn how AI technology enables tech support to offer faster and more efficient solutions for IT departments. IT departments can gain real help alongside their staff, and help them use staff to leverage AI's capabilities, rather than replacing workers.

Also on March 11, Raffaele Mautone, founder and CEO of Judy Security, will present “AI Symposium: How Will AI Change the Cybersecurity Landscape?” He’ll outline ways the technology could affect cybersecurity, including efficiency and scalability, proactive threat detection, reduced downtime, better decision making and more.

AI Symposium Addresses CX, Sales and Marketing

On March 12, Jason Lowe, senior solution architect of CX and AI at Telarus, will moderate “Navigating the Future: Customer-Centric AI Strategies for Business Success.” The  panel will unveil the transformative impact of AI on customer experiences. Panelists will explore how AI-driven insights reshape interactions between businesses and customers.

And on March 13, Allison Bergamo, principal of Bergamo Marketing Group, will lead “Harness the Power of AI to Supercharge Sales and Accelerate Revenue Growth.” She’ll demonstrate how you can tap into AI's potential to help your sales teams sell more.

These are just a handful of the sessions that comprise the AI Symposium at Channel Partners.

Approyo’s Chris Carter said when it comes to tech support, an AI-based tool can be the first line of defense to proactively, rather than reactively, collect data and support an application.

“Here’s an example: You have an ERP system and that ERP system needs updates,” he said. “They need to have updates in order to stay compliant with regulations. As such, our AI-based tool could proactively let you know weeks or months in advance when those updates come out for the system, help you to test those updates, then seamlessly implement those updates throughout your network.”

When it comes to adding AI to IT departments, “absolutely do it, do not wait, do not think that it’ll get easier to install,” Carter said.

“Take small bits of the IT department applications and start with a small application, and keep growing to more and more applications and more and more of your landscapes do it,” he said.

Individuals using AI will be smarter, Carter said.

“They will understand more, they will get more out of their time and they will get more out of what they’re doing for the company,” he said. “They will spend less time doing the trivial activities and will spend more time supporting their growth and the company’s growth. AI is here to help you, not take away your job. It will make your job more efficient and more effective.”

Judy Security’s Raffaele Mautone said when it comes to cybersecurity, think of AI as a vital asset for your security team.

“It's incredibly efficient at sifting through large amounts of data quickly to pinpoint security threats, making it a huge time-saver,” he said. “However, AI's real power is in its advanced pattern recognition capabilities, allowing it to detect anomalies that could signal a cyberattack. This proactive detection is essential in staying ahead of potential threats. Plus, AI plays a key role in strengthening password security and employs advanced strategies to outmaneuver cyber adversaries. For software developers specifically, AI is like a knowledgeable advisor, guiding them toward creating more secure software. Essentially, AI is a versatile tool that significantly boosts the effectiveness and sophistication of cybersecurity efforts.”

AI can help cyber defenders better protect against cybercriminals also making use of AI, Mautone said.

“Think of it as a high-tech game of chess,” he said. “When cybercriminals use AI, they're making smarter, faster moves. But if the defenders also use AI, they can predict and counter those moves quicker. AI in cybersecurity isn't just about keeping pace, it’s about staying a step ahead, understanding the attackers' moves, and preparing defenses even before the attackers strike.”

The simplest way to fully leverage AI in cybersecurity is by adopting a comprehensive AI-enabled, all-in-one solution, Mautone said.

“This strategy ensures that your organization's threat detection, response and prevention systems are all AI-enhanced, leading to more efficient management and automation,” he said. “By integrating such a solution, you benefit from a streamlined cybersecurity operation. Advanced, automated threat detection and response capabilities become part of your security infrastructure, significantly enhancing your organization's overall security posture.”

In this approach, the focus shifts from traditional step-by-step integration to a more holistic adoption of a solution that inherently brings together all the necessary AI capabilities, Mautone said.

“This all-in-one solution is designed to fit seamlessly into your existing IT ecosystem, minimizing disruption and maximizing efficiency,” he said. “It's tailored to adapt to your specific security requirements, offering a customizable and scalable approach to cybersecurity. With this type of solution, your organization can stay ahead of evolving cyber threats and maintain a robust defense mechanism in an ever-changing digital landscape.”

Telarus’ Jason Lowe said AI can transform customer experience in many ways.

“While some enthusiasts might see targeted advertisements as a boon to their shopping efficiency, AI extends its utility far beyond merely curating ads for consumers,” he said. “AI's potential encompasses direct customer engagement, and significantly bolsters the quality of interactions between customers and service representatives. Modern conversational AI virtual agents boast enhanced capabilities, managing a broad spectrum of tasks independently, thus diminishing the reliance on human agents. This efficiency is further amplified by generative AI, ensuring that the assistance provided is both relevant and effective.”

In scenarios where a representative engages with a customer, AI steps in to offer multifaceted support, Lowe said. And post-interaction, AI's role becomes even more pivotal.

“Instead of relying on random sampling, which may not accurately reflect performance trends, AI can scrutinize the entirety of an agent's interactions,” he said. “This comprehensive analysis allows for a precise assessment of their effectiveness. Moreover, AI's ability to sift through interactions and identify trends, patterns and emerging issues enables organizations to respond swiftly and more adeptly to customer needs, enhancing the overall customer experience. This strategic deployment of AI not only streamlines operations, but also enriches the customer service landscape with a blend of efficiency and personalized care, retaining a touch of human warmth amidst technological advancement.”

Organizations that overlook the integration of AI into their operations will undeniably find themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage in comparison to those that leverage AI to elevate the customer experience, Lowe said. AI's paramount benefit lies in its capacity to conserve an increasingly precious asset for customers, their time.

“AI emerges as an indispensable ally in bolstering customer retention and enhancing brand affinity,” he said. “It plays a crucial role not only in maintaining a strong customer base, but also in captivating the hearts of prospective customers. Employing AI strategically positions companies to forge deeper connections with their audience, ensuring a seamless, responsive and personalized customer journey that stands out in today's competitive landscape.”

Bergamo Marketing Group’s Allison Bergamo said incorporating AI is crucial for organizations to accelerate sales and boost revenue growth.

“Marketers were among the earliest adopters of generative AI tools last year,” she said. “However, sales teams are rapidly catching up to them. For example, sellers are experimenting with free AI-powered tools to create customer-facing content on their own, often without their managers’ or IT teams’ knowledge. This practice can pose risks around data security and privacy. It can also result in customers receiving content and messaging that hasn’t been reviewed for accuracy, personalization or alignment with the company’s brand and values.”

Sales enablement teams should invest in generative AI literacy to help sellers understand how to use AI effectively, responsibly and ethically, Bergamo said. The training and resources they create should address the following:

  • Company-approved AI tools.
  • Usage policies.
  • Data and analytics.
  • Prompt crafting.
  • AI ethics and responsibility.
  • Guidelines and guardrails.

Sales and marketing professionals often have to distill complex technologies into value messaging that makes it more relatable and easier for their customers and prospects to understand, Bergamo said.

“I upload long-form technical content such as white papers and solution briefs into Anthropic’s,” she said. “By inputting the right prompts, Claude can summarize the content and highlight the solution’s features and benefits. This has reduced the time it takes me to create a blog post by more than 60%."

Unlike other large language models (LLMs), doesn’t train on the data you input, Bergamo said. However, you must always use caution and good judgment when entering data into any LLM.

“Descript is a great tool for writing, recording, transcribing, editing, collaborating and sharing videos and podcasts,” she said. “Marketing and sales teams can use it to create customer success videos from a Zoom call or produce a ‘Live From Channel Partners 2024’ highlight reel they record from their smartphones.”

Collaborating with your IT teams is essential to successfully integrating AI tools into your existing tech stack, Bergamo said.

“They can help you solidify your desired AI use cases, provide insights into what executive decisions have been made about AI investments in your organization, and guide conversations around tech integration, and data privacy and security with prospective AI vendors,” she said.

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