IT Vanguard wins with automation

Tracy Dupree
September 25, 2019

Did you know AI and IT Automation can lead to customer happiness?

The two worlds of IT and customer happiness rarely collide. Afterall, who reaches out to the IT department because they are happy? We recently met a man who magically threads these two worlds together and thought you should meet him, too.

Meet Chris Chagnon, an application and web developer at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts. What’s special about Chris is how he’s changing the daily-life experience for customers and employees at WPI through his mix of innovation, creativity and practicality. And it’s these traits and his willingness to help others that make Chris a 2019 IT Vanguard Award winner!

IT Vanguard winner Chris Chagnon 

In addition to working at WPI in the IT group, Chris is a PhD student researching new and innovative ways to extend IT service Management (ITSM) and IT processes into new areas at WPI. Among the many projects Chris has worked on, two have made significant impacts in transforming IT operations and reducing issues on user service calls. As a result, he created a world-class customer experience! This all seems great, right??... but what’s really impressive is his approach to achieving these impacts.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1865 to create and convey the latest science and engineering knowledge in ways that are most beneficial to society. Through his projects, Chris has exemplified the WPI way, bridging the latest in cutting edge technology - leveraging his research on Artificial intelligence (AI) and IT Automation - to create easier access to information and better overall user experience.

It became clear that WPI’s existing self-service IT portal wasn’t making the grade. Users were struggling to find the right information and ticket volumes were skyrocketing. Chris and the IT team discovered nearly 30 repositories for knowledge and documentation, while each user’s approach to self-help varied in style, tone, accessibility, and usability differences.

Diving in, Chris developed a data design based on his work and knowledge in AI and IT automation to tie together all the disparate content. With this focus, he collaboratively led a team to develop a new portal that provided a global, 24x7 presence and enabled the IT team to provide support outside of the 9-5 scope.

In a short three months, the creation of this portal enabled IT to work better, and better-serve users. The portal works across-devices, and is 100% accessible and compliant, allowing more users than ever access. As a result, IT helped WPI users experience quicker ticket response times AND improve the quality of life of tier-1 technicians on the front-lines of ITS. Chris continues to experiment: Using new technologies from his research, Chris accesses older tickets to help process incoming tickets, providing the service desk new insight into ticket processing and resolution, while making sure the technicians are getting the tasks most aligned with their skill sets.  

Kudos to Chris for making a difference, where he works and for his customers! His willingness to help others, and to push IT boundaries is key to his emerging as an industry leader. You can read more about Chris and his award-winning projects and other IT Vanguards at

Tracy Dupree

Tracy Dupree

Ambassador of Customer Happiness, ALE, North America

Tracy Duprée is the Ambassador of Customer Happiness at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise in North America. Her passion lies in storytelling, social media and assuring all are having a good time and experience along their journey of life.

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