Spiceworks, an established forum for IT professionals seeking advice, software tools, and alternate paths to tech support has embraced the concepts of data mining and analytics to bring more value to its membership. The company has developed its platform to bring insights to its three core member communities: IT pros, service providers and technology vendors.
At SpiceWorld 2019, which was held in Austin, Texas, founder Jay Hallberg announced that "Spiceworks is now using artificial intelligence to mine its data to provide the Spiceworks community members with more insights into the market, business, technology and personal insights."
The new offering, which is called Account Intelligence is powered by artificial intelligence. It can bring together brands, customers, and service providers to fuel collaboration and potentially sales. One notable capability is the offerings ability to create a prioritized list of businesses currently in the market for a brand's products and services, information on purchasing intent trends, and competitive insights. The product is currently being beta tested and is expected to be available early next year.
Solution providers offering services may benefit from the intelligence offered when it comes to locating businesses and IT pros that may require their services. What's more, the data gathered can potentially indicate trends, help with troubleshooting queries, and identify vendors that may prove to be the best fit for a particular partnership.
"There is a lot of potential here to develop new business." said David Tan, CTO of Chips Technology Group, Plainview NY-based MSP. "The insights offered could also help with partnering with vendors, identifying trends, and even let us know what support issues are being talked about." added Tan.
According to Manish Dixit, Spicework's SVP of products and engineering, the account intelligence offering will work using an easy to understand dashboard, which will be interactive with the member. The Dashboard will support queries, as well as offer insights on particular subjects as identified by AI.
"The idea is to bring together data from ITPros, Vendors, and Service Providers, and offer that information in an easy to understand format." Said Dixit. "However, we are well aware of the sensitivity of some data and will sanitize the data to remove personal or proprietary information."
For many MSPs, the service provider matching tool available in the Spiceworks community portal will prove immediately useful. ITPros seeking help will be able to investigate a technology, locate a service provider based on their location and then describe their IT help needs in detail. The system will provide them with potential service providers and allow them to communicate through a private message. .
"There is no cost to service providers and other channel partners to be included in the listings." said Dixit. "To get into the database, channel partners can go to the Spiceworks website and register their business. They can create a detailed profile of their work, including the services they offer, as well as their business focus on customers from SMBs to enterprises."
Dixit added "Many of the partners listed in the portal so far are services companies that have been participating for some time in the user-fueled Spiceworks community"
"The ability to demonstrate a certain level of expertise to a group of potential customers should create several opportunities." said Tan.
Spiceworks is building its portal to address several different "insights" as the company likes to refer to the delivered data. The portal will offer:
- Personal Insights: Gathered data on a user's expertise
- Business Insights: Data gathered on business operations, such as the help desk
- Technology Insights: Built from thought leadership interactions on the platform
- Market Insights: Identified trends based upon potential needs of the market.
While that may be an oversimplification of the portal's capabilities, Dixit said, "The system will quickly evolve and leverage NLP and AI to create additional insights."
Spiceworks is a professional network of more than seven million members who use the company's online user support forums on a regular basis. Spiceworks, which is often referred to as the Facebook of the IT world, offers a variety of free help desk and other services that are widely used by businesses of all sizes. The free services are provided through an ad-supported business model.
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