- Moveworks is a cloud startup that uses AI and natural language processing to process enterprise IT tickets faster and more efficiently.
- Moveworks says it can resolve within minutes problems that typically take days to resolve.
- The idea, the company says, is to augment the most repetitive tasks performed by an IT department, not to replace them.
- The company has raised $30 million from VC investors, including Bain Capital and Lightspeed.
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Bhavin Shah and his co-founders at Moveworks spent most of their careers finding ways to use technology to do things faster and more efficiently.
They decided to start the AI company, which has raised $30 million from such VCs as Bain Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners, to take on a field that can be frustratingly slow and inefficient: tech support.
It’s the world of support tickets, emails or chat messages employees send to their company’s IT team when they need to unlock an account, to access a file, or to upgrade a program on their laptop that they forgot they needed to be done before a big trip.
Moveworks uses AI and natural language processing to do those tasks faster, fixing basic problems that typically take three days to resolve in minutes, even seconds.
Shah said enterprise IT tickets may seem like "one of the most dull topics" for a startup, but he said: "This is an area of need that hasn’t been solved because we continue to use people and workflows to keep employees productive."
The tool is integrated into a company’s email or a messaging platform, such as Slack or Google Chat. In most cases, the company boasts, all an employee has to do is send a message on the issue. The Moveworks tool, using natural language processing, is able to quickly determine the problem or request.
The tool can automatically resolve basic requests or issues, such as unlocking an account, gaining access to a document or being added to a distribution list. Other tasks that require specific approvals may take a bit longer, but are still processed faster than if they were part of a queue managed by an IT staff, the company says.
Shah cited the example of a client company’s executive who sent an email requesting access to a report. He sent the email on a Saturday not expecting a response until Monday. But the Moveworks tool quickly gave him access to the document in question.
The technology is already used by prominent tech companies such as Autodesk, the design and engineering software company, the storage maker Western Digital, and chipmaker Broadcom.
Shah said Moveworks is addressing a key area for businesses, one that chief information officers and IT teams "have to manage but hasn’t seen much innovation."
"Because there is an explosion of technology solutions in the workplace, there are lots of systems that we all have to navigate," Shah told Business Insider. "When everything is working perfectly, it’s great. You’re hyperproductive."
But a minor glitch or a change, such as a new piece of equipment or a software upgrade, can throw things off or employees, he said. Suddenly, "there’s a lot of unfamiliarity," Shah said. "How do I do that again? What was the setting to do that?"
Moveworks was launched three years ago and just came out of stealth mode a few months ago. Shah, the company’s CEO, is a serial entrepreneur whose last startup, Refresh, an app which offers insights into people in your network shortly before a meeting, was acquired by LinkedIn.
He said he has one thing in common with his co-founders: "We’ve been spending chunks of our careers focusing on making things really, really fast."
One of them, Jiang Chen, was part of the Google team that developed the search feature that quickly served up a response snippet to a Google search question. The feature was based on natural language processing technology that Moveworks is also using. Another co-founder, Varun Singh, helped Facebook streamline recruiting through machine learning.
Automating these processes through AI leads to profound improvements in productivity, he said. Moveworks currently resolves 20% to 35% of issues for current customers, up from 10% to 15% a year ago, he said.
Shah said he and his co-founders — which includes Vaibhav Nivargi, another tech entrepreneur — developed the technology by consulting chief information officers.
"We sat down with several dozen CIOs and we started conversations with them about what they were working on," and what were the key issues they were dealing with, he said.
Those conversations and their analysis of IT ticketing data from different companies led to a key insight: IT teams deal with generally the same issues and technologies.
For example, most issues related to video teleconferencing involved vendors like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Webex and BlueJeans. Hardware issues typically involved problems that come up with Apple’s MacBooks, or with Windows PCs manufactured by Dell, Lenovo, or Hewlett-Packard.
Having that data meant they could actually develop a technology focused on key areas and tasks of IT support that have not been addressed meaningfully despite the rise of new technologies.
Giving CIOs a hand
"Everyone is solving the same problems," Shah said. "We felt that this was a huge opportunity to take something off the plate of the CIOs…they and their teams don’t want to do these mundane tasks. They want to work on other things like maybe a big upgrade or maybe a new data center or something that’s more exciting."
One such customer is Autodesk. The company’s chief information offier, Prakash Kota, said Moveworks helped his team rapidly deal with basic IT problems that used to take several hours to solve. With Moveworks’ tool, issues are resolved "within minutes," Kota told Business Insider. "It started giving simpler experiences to employees," he said.
Moveworks’ technology benefits CIOs and IT teams in another way, Shah said.
"CIOs have to keep the lights on," Shah said. "They have to keep the system running. In fact, their reputations are largely based on employees’ perception of how fast IT is. If IT is slow and it takes five days to get something done, the CIO can be amazing and keep the company secure and no one hacked the system and deploy new stuff all the time, but if it takes four days to get a license for Docusign, employees are like, ‘Well, this IT team isn’t any good.’"
Of course, the innovation Moveworks offers could mean reducing the need for IT staff to deal with the issues that today are still addressed by people. In other words, smaller IT teams and fewer jobs for IT people. Shah offers a different view, as he downplayed the widely-shares worries that AI would lead to major job losses in tech.
"The reality is there is more IT work than there are IT workers," he said. "That’s why the process to get simple employee issues resolved is so slow.We’re automating routine tasks that IT workers don’t want to do. This is enabling IT workers to focus on bigger enterprise initiatives."
Got a tip about Moveworks or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at email@example.com, message him on Twitter @benpimentel. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.
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