TubbTalk 154: How to Use and Sell Microsoft Copilot for MSP Growth - Tubblog: The Hub for MSPs

TubbTalk 154: How to Use and Sell Microsoft Copilot for MSP Growth

TubbTalk 154: How to Use and Sell Microsoft Copilot for MSP Growth image

Eric Östlund-Folkeryd is the go-to market lead for Microsoft AI at Pax8 EMEA. He’s the business lead for Microsoft Copilot and other AI tools. He’s worked in commercial AI and SaaS roles at multiple organisations, which makes him the ideal person to help MSPs make the most of the latest tools.

An Interview with Eric Östlund-Folkeryd

The Opportunity for MSPs with AI

As AI is more readily available, and in an MSP-friendly format, Eric says it’s cool to see what can be done with it. “You could tell a customer about what it can do, but you can do more than just sell a product.

“Instead, why not have a discussion around the outcomes your clients would like to get with AI? They might not all be available right now, but you’re getting things started.

“Now, MSPs can get into the business of providing outcomes. You sell peace of mind, productivity and future-proofing. Because those are the things that your clients really care about.”

What is Microsoft Copilot?

A simple description is: it’s like ChatGPT, but it’s safe and usable for your work. But as Eric admits, that’s reductive. It adds generative AI and has the ability to generate new content for users.

Furthermore, Eric says: “It helps you to pull information together, connects the dots and presents the results clearly to you. And it works in every Microsoft product interaction you have.”

It’s evolving all the time, but the best way to think of it, says Eric, is to imagine it’s a junior assistant in your business. It’s available to everyone and you can offload tasks to it. It makes you a more-rounded professional.

The Challenges in Integrating AI Tools Like Microsoft Copilot into Your Existing Stack

For many MSPs and their SMB clients, it feels like AI came out of nowhere. That’s not strictly true, says Eric, but it did arrive quicker than many expected. He adds: “It’s probably the most customer driven product that I’ve encountered. Clients want to know how to use it.

“As an MSP, you want to be seen as the trusted expert who knows everything about the technology before you deploy it, and that can be a challenge. But while that’s a problem, it’s also a huge opportunity. When else do clients ask for help like this?

“There’s no defining playbook, because we don’t have years of experience to draw on. That means that MSPs have to experiment with AI tools. Look at how you can use and integrate it, and then help your customers do the same. It’s a learning curve.”

How can #MSPs use #AI tools such as Microsoft Copilot to grow their businesses and support clients? Eric Östlund-Folkeryd of @Pax8 tells Richard Tubb. Click to Tweet

Surprising Ways You Can Use Microsoft Copilot

Eric explains that he uses Microsoft Copilot for a range of work tasks. “When I have to prepare a presentation, I use it to help me craft an outline and produce a basic PowerPoint slideshow.

“Or, when it comes to research, I give it a basic command. Then, I give more information in the follow-up prompts and refine my requests each time. I can also ask it to present the results in a table or as a report.

“But what has really been a surprise is with the Copilot for Work interface. You can use Prompt Buddy to help you to create better prompts. For instance, you can ask it to summarise your upcoming work day. It can look through emails and Teams communications to highlight what to follow up.”

How Microsoft Copilot Ensures Compliance and Security for MSP Client Data

For MSPs to keep their clients safe, Eric suggests in a premium licence for Microsoft Copilot. “If you do so, you have access to the full toolset. And you can manage who can access what, which data is shared, where and with who.

“If you want to provide a robust solution for clients’ problems, you need full data awareness, even if they don’t. You might restrict SharePoint search, for example, or give Copilot access to a few areas that are safe.

“You don’t need the client to be 100% data secure before they start with Copilot, but take it as an opportunity to help them to get organised. And there’s an ongoing benefit, because you can access their insights. Plus you can fix it when things go wrong.”

Why AI Isn’t a Magic Wand to Fix Business Problems

Many MSPs will have clients with data stored all over. And they probably won’t have the right privileges and security practices in place. So you can’t slap AI on top and say ‘Only allow the people we want to see the things that we want. Before that can happen, you need to do some data sanitisation.

This can be done in parallel with the integration of AI tools, but Eric encourages MSPs to help their clients be selective about what they share with AI tools. “You might restrict access to what the individual can see in SharePoint instead of everything stored across the company networks.

“But the really exciting use cases are those where a company has all of its data set up and securely stored. Because then you can safely reference all of the organisation’s knowledge and do some heavy lifting with AI to help you.”

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RICHARD TUBB

Richard Tubb is one of the best-known experts within the global IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) community. He launched and sold his own MSP business before creating a leading MSP media and consultancy practice. Richard helps IT business owner’s take back control by freeing up their time and building a business that can run without them. He’s the author of the book “The IT Business Owner’s Survival Guide” and writer of the award-winning blog www.tubblog.co.uk

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