What we’ve learned about providing essential work-from-home support

Bhavin Shah, CEO and Founder

March 17, 2020

When we launched Moveworks to deliver autonomous IT support from within messaging tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams, we couldn't have imagined how extensively our platform would be used in situations like the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Almost overnight, the IT service desk has become mission-critical to every department, in organizations across all industries. And as the rapid transition to working from home floods these service desks with high-volume requests, our AI is playing an unexpected role in alleviating their workloads by resolving remote employees’ support issues, wherever they are and whenever they ask. Moveworks is committed to assisting those impacted by the current crisis, and we quickly realized there was more we could do to help. 

After speaking with dozens of our customers to better understand the challenges they’re facing, we’ve released dedicated capabilities to resolve IT support requests related to COVID-19, from questions about their companies’ response policies to help configuring video conferences. In this post, I’ll discuss both new and existing use cases for Moveworks that we’ve started to see streamline the switch to WFH—allowing employees to stay productive, augmenting the firepower of the IT team, and ensuring business continuity for the organization as a whole.

An unprecedented test for IT teams

We’ve spent several years partnering with IT teams across market verticals as they’ve sought to ensure their employees can work as smoothly from outside the office as they do while on-site. In their journeys toward achieving this goal, which has become more important than ever before, they’ve come to recognize that IT services, applications, and communication tools must be available not only from anywhere but also at any time, since work-from-home schedules are often erratic. Moreover, because of the recent trend toward physical, in-person help desks, many employees don’t know where to go for support when they’re out of office. Many end up simply emailing all their questions and requests to IT.

For all these reasons, providing rapid, 24/7 support to a remote workforce is not a realistic possibility for human agents alone, particularly given the increasing volumes of tickets. At Moveworks, for instance, we’ve already observed significant spikes among our end users in requests for collaboration apps, in how-to questions pertaining to those apps, in VPN setup and troubleshooting queries, in orders for devices and peripherals, and in clarifications around company policy, among other tickets. We expect these trends to continue or potentially intensify as the situation develops.

zoom-accessFigure 1: As employees transition to working from home, IT teams are handling a growing number of requests for software, which Moveworks can automatically provision on their behalf. For instance, requests for Zoom were up 140% from March 4-14, month-over-month.

To address these challenges, the Moveworks bot converses with employees in natural language straight on the messaging tool they use every day—driving them to submit their IT issues on our platform rather than over email. And even if they do send an email, Moveworks intercepts it and updates the submitter on the messaging tool. Moveworks then determines what an employee is asking for using a combination of machine learning models, before autonomously resolving the issue via deep integrations with other software. Our AI can also search your entire knowledge base to find the most relevant, snippet-sized answers to employees’ questions, such as those about COVID-19 preparedness. In fact, our internal Moveworks bot, which we call “M8,” has been indispensable during our company-wide shift to work-from-home. 

Below are four primary components of our ongoing efforts to aid our customers in their response to COVID-19:

Broadcast capability to spread awareness

Moveworks’ broadcast capability was a roadmap feature that we’ve now made ready and available to customers. It enables IT leadership to send out mass communication to either the entire company or to targeted groups based on their seniority, the risk-level of their location, and so on. Whereas mass emails tend to get lost in the inbox—with only about 1% engagement—broadcast messages sent through Moveworks average a 30% engagement rate. And because Moveworks fields employees’ questions, communications sent via the bot don’t end up flooding the IT team with requests for clarification.

m8-flow

Figure 2: Moveworks can disseminate broadcast announcements from the IT team on messaging tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams, and then provide those teams detailed analytics on employee engagement.

Answering COVID-19 questions

Moveworks’ semantic search scours your company’s entire knowledge base to match employees’ questions with snippet-sized answers. Semantic search was originally optimized to answer IT questions, like how to add virtual backgrounds on Zoom meetings. But thanks to significant work from our engineering team, we can now answer COVID-19 related questions as well—and even supplement your existing knowledge base with the resources we’ve created.

M8-semantic-search

Figure 3: Our internal Moveworks bot, M8, demonstrating how semantic search answers employees’
COVID-19 questions.

Moveworks Channel Resolver

As IT tickets submitted through conventional avenues have risen, so too have messages posted in IT support chat channels on Slack, threatening to overwhelm the IT team. Moveworks’ Channel Resolver reads each message posted in these channels and jumps in when it’s confident it can help. The bot then messages the channel once the issue is resolved and keeps tabs on everything, so the IT team doesn’t have to worry about falling behind.

12_MW_Blog_Content_ZoomRequestsFigure 4: We’ve seen a flurry of activity that looks just like this across our customers’ IT support channels on Slack. Moveworks ensures that not a single message gets lost in the shuffle.

Emphasis on availability of core service

We’ve scaled up our infrastructure and increased our monitoring coverage across all our product offerings, recognizing that core Moveworks functionalities—like helping employees get instant access to software—will prove to be crucial. We’re standing by to guarantee our customers prompt assistance on any issues or questions, in addition to working with their IT leaders to implement new capabilities as needed.

Moveworks is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely to assess what else we can do to support our customers. Above all, we hope you stay safe and healthy in the weeks ahead. While we may be physically separated from our colleagues, we must all pull together and look out for one another during this time.

 

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