New Report: SMBs Reliant on Partners for Artificial Intelligence Projects

New global research by Channelnomics and Pax8 finds that small and midsize businesses are leaning on resellers, integrators, and service providers to support their AI projects.


A recent global survey conducted by Channelnomics, in collaboration with Pax8, the leading cloud commerce marketplace, sheds light on artificial intelligence (AI) buying trends among SMBs and the critical role managed service providers (MSPs) play in facilitating successful implementation.

The survey reveals that an impressive 88% of SMBs have already implemented at least one AI system, signifying the growing recognition of artificial intelligence as a business imperative. However, the path to realizing the full potential of AI is not without its challenges. SMBs face hurdles such as insufficient infrastructure, data hygiene concerns, and security risks, which hinder the seamless integration of AI into their tech stacks.

SMBs are acutely aware of the transformative impact artificial intelligence will have on their competitiveness. The survey found that more than 80% of global SMBs acknowledge that neglecting AI adoption could jeopardize their market position, while nearly one-half admit that failing to keep pace will place them at a disadvantage. The perceived long-term benefits of investing in AI (87%) and its ability to enhance meeting business objectives (74%) further underscore the urgency for SMBs to embrace this technology.

SMBs aren’t shying away from the AI revolution, with 96% ready to purchase more AI systems and tools within the next 12 months and 64% planning to expand their AI implementation within 24 months. The driving forces behind this surge in adoption include the desire for faster adaptation to market shifts (53%), reducing operational costs (51%), and breaking into new markets (41%).

However, the road to successful artificial intelligence integration is fraught with complexities. SMBs face challenges such as insufficient infrastructure (42%), concerns over data privacy and security (40%), integration with existing systems (38%), and a lack of in-house skills and expertise (33%). This multifaceted nature of AI integration highlights the need for expert guidance and support.

Enter the crucial role of MSPs. As trusted advisors, MSPs are pivotal allies for SMBs looking to maximize the full potential of AI. The survey reveals that 58% of SMBs work with a solution provider to implement AI systems. The complexities involved in successful AI implementation are driving SMBs to seek external expertise, with 68% of North American businesses citing technical integration as the primary reason for working with a service provider, followed by support services (64%) and training (53%).

MSPs bridge the gap in technical expertise and serve as strategic advisors, delivering tailored AI solutions and comprehensive support. By partnering with MSPs, SMBs can navigate the complexities of artificial intelligence adoption, ensuring that the necessary infrastructure, data hygiene, and security measures are in place. MSPs also provide the training and support needed to empower SMBs to harness the full potential of AI, ultimately transforming their business operations for a digital-first future.

As the AI landscape continues to evolve rapidly, SMBs that embrace the support and guidance of MSPs will be well-positioned to thrive in the era of AI-driven business transformation. The “AI Buying Trends for SMBs in 2024” report serves as a clear call to action for SMBs to forge strategic partnerships with MSPs, enabling them to navigate the complexities of AI adoption and unlock the vast potential of this transformative technology.

The Channelnomics-Pax8 SMB artificial intelligence survey collected data from nearly 500 businesses in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The complementary report is available at


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