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Chatbots have a checkered past of often not delivering the performance their providers have promised. This is especially true in the IT service management (ITSM) and multilingual NLP spaces, where service desks found support teams deluged with complaints — yes, about the support chatbots.

Just getting English language nuance right and how enterprises communicate often require chatbots to be custom programmed with constraint and logic workflows supported with natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning. If that sounds like a science project, it is, and IT users are the test subjects. Because of their complexity, chatbots were contributing to already overflowing trouble-ticket queues.

Moveworks’ announcement this week about supporting French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese languages on its platform broke through this multilingual NLP barrier. The company thinks its approach to scaling languages in an enterprise context — using no scripting or system-integration prework — is the future of conversational AI in the workplace.

Moreover, the platform goes well beyond translation to understand support issues in any language, leveraging bespoke natural language understanding (NLU) models trained to make sense of enterprise jargon. To resolve requests end-to-end, Moveworks employs techniques such as cross-lingual information retrieval, which ranks all available answers according to their relevance.

Flowchart of how Moveworks matches responses to the users' preferred language, in this example either English, Portuguese, or German.

Above: Moveworks uses context to surface the most relevant answer to each employee in their language of choice.

Multilingual NLP at scale

Moveworks took a different approach than its competitors when creating its AI platform. The company designed it to streamline workflows and break down the barriers holding companies back from automating many common support issues. It based its approach on an intelligence engine that serves as the foundation of the conversational AI platform; the multilingual NLP package includes a series of machine-learning models synchronized around the nuance and meaning of words in an enterprise context. That is tedious and hard and to do reliably, which is why no one else has accomplished it yet with an AI platform.

Rest assured that a lot of companies are trying. The following gaggle of vendors from Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Natural Language Technologies, 2021, has developed chatbots for production: Amazon, Amelia, Cognigy, Google, IBM, Kore.ai, Microsoft, Nuance, Pypestream, ServisBot, and Uniphore. There are certainly others working on this functionality.

One factor contributing to the checkered track record of conventional chatbots is the amount of setup and training involved; it’s yet another new system that service desk IT staffs need to configure and employees need to learn. By contrast, Moveworks’ approach learns each company’s terminology on the fly and factors in an employee’s location, department, and language preference without requiring any setup or training.

Moveworks uses 250 million issues to train its machine-learning models. This technique, among others, enables the Moveworks AI platform to adapt to language preferences in real time and ensure natural back-and-forth communication, the company says, even when requests include multiple languages. In addition, Moveworks employs machine learning to decide when to adjust and switch between languages to get users a solution as quickly as possible. The result, the company claims, is a real-time response to any employee, across any communication channel, at any time, in their native language.

A diagram of the Moveworks bot adjusting to the stated and implied needs of a French-speaking Canadian user named Jeanne.

Above: The Moveworks Intelligence Engine uses machine learning to determine the underlying structure of employees’ support issues, across multiple languages.

Real-world results

The truest tests of any conversational AI platform are the adoption rates, interactions, and cost savings the platform delivers to enterprise accounts. Moveworks has successfully developed an approach that provides enterprises the ability to track their platforms’ contributions — a core requirement for becoming part of the ongoing workflows of any business. Leading customers include Broadcom, DocuSign, and Western Digital.

“As a global company, we need to provide the same quality of support to every employee at Albemarle to empower their potential, no matter which languages they speak,” said Patrick Thompson, CIO at Albemarle, a global specialty-chemicals maker. “Moveworks gives our people 24/7 help in their native language, just by having a natural conversation with the bot. Now, they can get support right away, without us needing localized service desks in each location.”

In addition, LinkedIn, Palo Alto Networks, Slack, Hearst, Autodesk, Broadcom, and other Moveworks customers are deploying multilingual support. Albemarle is among the pilot customers to first deploy support.

Additional customer results include the following:

  • Palo Alto Networks: More than 90% of employees use Moveworks, and they have 122,000 interactions per day with its Moveworks bot, Sheldon.
  • DocuSign: It boasts 89% employee adoption of Moveworks. Its bot, Hearo, handles the workload equivalent of eight full-time help desk agents, freeing them up for high-impact projects. Saran Mandair, its VP of global IT, said, “Moveworks provides the automation we need to focus on the challenging projects that matter.”
  • Unity: Ninety-one percent of its employees express satisfaction with Moveworks, and Unity has 92% adoption. Its bot, Ninja Unicorn, allowed CIO Brian Hoyt to expand support to 45 offices worldwide, “keeping up the same quality and speed without increasing headcount.”
  • Verisk: Verisk boasts 96% adoption of its Moveworks bot, Vic. David Lewis, AVP of computer services, said, “Moveworks has meant so much more than cost savings. The bot has completely changed our employee experience; it’s easily the best business decision I’ve made.”

Gartner Research senior director analyst Annette Jump wrote in a whitepaper, “Emerging Technologies: Top Use Cases for Conversational UI,” (May 2020): “Despite the growing proliferation of CUI uses, Gartner research indicates that the two most mature and prevalent use cases are chatbots for customer support (phone, mobile and a variety of online platforms) and call centers.” These are the two markets to which Moveworks is bringing multilingual support.

Gartner analysts Steve White and Venkat Rayapudi wrote in an ITSM best-practices report last March, “Solutions such as ServiceNow and Moveworks offer intelligent routing capabilities natively. These tools leverage natural-language understanding and ML to process structured data from machines and/or unstructured data from humans to automatically classify and route incident tickets to the assignee or invoke the automation with the greatest likelihood of being able to resolve the incident.”

Conclusion

Conversational AI needs to be just that: conversational. To support a global workforce, companies must ensure that their AI is as easy to use in multiple languages, with no system integration or expensive customization needed. With six languages launched and more on the way in 2022, Moveworks is a company to watch for any enterprise with an international presence.

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