Harnessing the Power of AI: Embrace the Opportunity, Not the Threat

By Ideas @ AppDirect / June 21, 2023


Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) something that technology advisors should be wary of? Or is it only going to make things better?

It’s a question that has been asked across multiple industries over the past few years—perhaps more so with the launch of ChatGPT, the popular chatbot from OpenAI, which set a record for the fastest-growing user base since its launch.

In the May State of the Union webinar, we welcomed two special guests to talk about AI and what it means for advisors and their clients. Nick Prosser, Founder at Atlas IP, and Bob Chvatal, CEO at GoExceed, explain ways technology advisors can use AI and why embracing AI as an opportunity rather than a threat is the best way forward.

Why AI is an opportunity

Jump to 28:40 in the webinar to hear more

The apprehensions surrounding AI are prevalent, especially in an era where data privacy concerns and the threat of potential job displacement loom large. However, Bob Chvatal, CEO at GoExceed, and Nick Prosser, Founder at Atlas IP, have a more optimistic view on the role of artificial intelligence.

As Bob says, it’s all down to perspective. You can either see AI as a challenge or an opportunity. By viewing it as an opportunity, you can look beyond the disruptive nature of AI and benefit from the value it adds.

They point out that if you look at the ultimate value and purpose behind AI, it’s all about enhancing efficiency. Whether it’s streamlining workflows, mitigating human errors, enabling advanced analytics, or empowering informed decision-making, advisors can use these capabilities to their advantage.

Nick believes that AI can open up a lot of opportunities for advisors in terms of the solutions they can bring to clients, but also internally. His company is leveraging AI to become better advisors but also to refine Atlas IP’s internal workflows. Bob’s company is using it to automate a lot of manual tasks, ultimately giving his team more time to focus on higher-level, revenue-producing tasks.

Nick’s platform, Temo, a contract management and cost optimization tool, began to work with AI to automatically extract data. Using AI it analyzes IT and telecom costs to uncover opportunities to optimize customers’ IT spend. It tracks contract expirations and builds a complete inventory of services across all locations to give customers a clear idea of what they’re spending, and to identify areas to optimize costs.

This was a task that was previously done manually.Using AI functionality within Temo saves a huge amount of time and ensures all the data is captured and stored accurately.

For Bob, his company’s product called Mobil(X), utilizes machine learning and custom APIs to interpret and reduce monthly wireless charges. He explains that Mobil(X) can reduce client costs with existing mobile carriers like Verizon by interpreting data and making changes accordingly.

“The reason why we're able to save clients 40 percent out of the gate without changing the contract is that we load the contract, and it interprets it. And then it determines what's important, what's not important. And then based on our mathematical algorithms, it's able to make the changes.”

How using AI can result in big wins for clients

Go to 39:32 in the webinar to hear more

Bob shared an example of how his team helped a client that had been using a competitor’s solution for five years with 4,000 cellular devices on Verizon. While the competitor had access to the same data that GoExceed did, he came in with the Mobil(X) platform, leveraging Microsoft Power BI and ChatGPT.

Cutting client costs by $1M

In the first year, Bob’s team was able to reduce this client’s mobility costs by $1 million. He explains that the client was in the midst of a complex ERP implementation, with all team members working at maximum capacity. Because of this, there were no resources available to dig into the company's mobile spend or to identify and build system integrations to improve efficiencies. With such exceptional results, the client hired GoExceed to look for other opportunities to optimize spending across the business using business intelligence and AI models.

“Not only did we automate the plans and the discount structure based on their existing contract, we integrated into their help desk ticketing system, we integrated it into their MDM, we integrated it into their ERP system,” Bob says. “So now what happens is we're automating not only the costs, we’re automating a lot of the data integrity and the process flow.”

Sell more using GPT models and generative AI

During the webinar, AppDirect CEO Nicolas Desmarais also talked about new ChatGPT capabilities that will soon be available within the AppDirect Marketplace.

Jump to 20:15 in the webinar for a live demo!

Overall, generative AI models like those available from OpenAI, give applications the ability to create human-like text and content and answer questions in a conversational manner.

Nicolas shared an exclusive demo showing how the functionality will soon be able to help advisors search for the most relevant technology solutions to offer customers, depending on a client’s specific needs. The results generated will pull specific products and recommendations from the AppDirect catalog.

As an example, Nicolas used the chat assistant functionality within the Marketplace to ask ‘What are some of the top categories of top security products?’ The application returned a list of seven types of cybersecurity products as well as top vendors for each category, including:

  1. Antivirus software

  2. Firewall software

  3. VPN software

  4. Password managers

  5. Security awareness training

  6. Endpoint protection

  7. Cloud security solutions

‘What are the top benefits of Bitdefender

Then to dig into the results further, he asked ‘What are the top benefits of Bitdefender’ and the application generated results outlining the high-level benefits of the software. Through the chat interface Nicolas then chatted, ‘What enterprise edition of Bitdefender should I recommend to my client?’

What enterprise edition should I recommend?’

From here the application described typical factors to consider when determining what type of license is most applicable for a business, such as:

  • Size of the organization

  • Type of devices

  • Level of protection needed

  • Budget

As part of the demonstration, Nicolas asked for recommendations for a client proposal for Bitdefender. The application then generated a client proposal for an enterprise edition of Bitfender. Nicolas recommends that advisors think of AI as a member of the team, using it as a tool to complement your work and empower you to grow your business faster.

“This [GPT model and generative AI tool] is really for our partners so you can save time and find solutions faster, so you can have all this information at the tip of your fingers to be able to work with your clients.”

Why AI isn’t coming for your jobs

Go to 41:38 in the webinar for more

The common worry shared across many industries is that AI will replace the need for human workers. After all, computers are faster, less prone to error, and less expensive than human workers.

However, as the speakers emphasized, such fears fail to acknowledge the intrinsic value that humans bring to the table. It is in the realm of relationships that artificial intelligence falls short. It can't replicate an advisor’s emotional intelligence or the value you deliver. Clients, at their core, seek advisors who they can trust, individuals who possess not only expertise but also a commitment to finding the tailored technology to solve their business challenges.

Emanuel Bertolin, Chief Revenue Officer for AppDirect, sums up that idea perfectly.

"You can’t automate trust.”

AI is a tool in your tool box

Bob and Nick agreed that AI isn’t here to replace advisors, instead, it’s here to complement your strengths and the services you already provide. AI is a tool that can help advisors do their jobs more effectively by delivering high-quality data and reducing time spent on manual processes. Ultimately this empowers advisors to help customers make decisions based on data and to free up time to spend on delivering higher-value tasks. Nick believes that in many ways, AI can help advisors get back to doing more of what they love—helping clients solve business problems with technology.

“The relationship is not going anywhere,” Nick said. “It's about leveraging these platforms to enhance that relationship to provide better deliverables, better insights to your clients, and to do a better job for your clients. But we all know that the channel is evolving, and it's important to stay up to date with the latest trends as advisors. And I think AI platforms really allow us to do that.”

For advisors who are new to experimenting with AI, Nick’s advice is to sign up for ChatGPT and start playing around with prompts. There are also online courses you can take at the likes of Udemy to learn more about AI and how you can utilize it to become a better advisor to clients.

For more insights from industry peers, listen to the full webinar now. Stay in the know– sign up for our monthly State of the Union webinars.