In an era defined by digital information, few companies are as synonymous with data as Western Digital. Decades after pioneering early floppy disks and calculator chips in the 1970s, Western Digital has cemented its global leadership in data storage, powered by a workforce of roughly 65,000 employees.
Like any company of similar size, Western Digital faced substantial obstacles on its path to better support its employees. A workforce spanning the entire world, for instance, means that urgent IT issues arise day and night, rendering real-time support a challenge. Ultimately, to set the gold standard for efficiency and experience in the workplace, CIO Steve Phillpott decided that automation had become essential.
Adding to the complexity of Western Digital’s IT operations was its history of mergers and acquisitions. Stewart noted that—after integrating three different Fortune 500-sized companies—the result was 65 separate login systems, which caused “extreme” password fatigue for employees as well as constant work for the help desk. But while some CIOs might have hesitated to implement AI and machine learning in such a complex environment, Phillpott found that doing so proved to be a crucial step in the right direction.
“Machine learning, by definition, is an iterative process; it’s a journey,” said Phillpott. “What I’ve learned is that every day you wait to start that journey with Moveworks is a wasted opportunity to transform how your business works.”
In April 2019, Western Digital officially launched the Moveworks AI chatbot—known to the company’s employees as DigiBot—on Microsoft Teams. Right away, Western Digital’s employees were able to self-service a wide range of IT issues in just seconds, straight on the Teams collaboration hub, with no intervention from the help desk.
To get support, all employees need to do is describe their issue to DigiBot in natural language, just as they would to a help desk agent. Moveworks handles the rest: leveraging advanced natural language understanding (NLU) to determine what the employee wants, then triggering a back-end workflow to resolve the issue in real time. From accessing software to ordering hardware, answering troubleshooting questions to resetting an expired password, DigiBot turns frustrating IT problems into non-events.
“Before Moveworks, we were manually addressing about 60,000 IT tickets each month,” Phillpott said. “Today, we’re down to approximately 40,000 tickets and falling. There’s no way that happens without genuine AI.”
Although AI had already proven to be a powerful force multiplier for Phillpott’s team before the COVID-19 outbreak, it was during the switch to working from home that DigiBot became indispensable. Faced with a massive uptick in demand for tech help, the team relied on Moveworks AI to answer employees’ questions and resolve their requests autonomously—freeing up time to focus on urgent infrastructure changes.
For employees, DigiBot on Teams was both an easier and a faster route to IT support during the transition to work-from-home. The number of active Moveworks users jumped by 180% in the first month of the COVID event, which signaled an enduring shift to DigiBot and away from the IT help desk walk-up bar.
“Working from home means employees have to be more self-sufficient when they encounter tech issues because an IT person isn’t standing right beside them to help,” said Todd Stewart, VP of IT Operations at Western Digital. “That’s why our employees’ usage of Moveworks has skyrocketed since COVID-19 began. The bot provides the IT help they need, regardless of where they are and when they ask. That experience is quickly becoming our new normal.”
CIOs tend to focus on what AI can’t do. But my recommendation, based on the results we’ve achieved, is to focus on what AI can do. Because—at least when it comes to Moveworks—what it can do is incredible.Steve Phillpott, CIO, Western Digital