Incapsulate: Innovation Captured

Ajay Batish, CEO Ajay Batish, CEO of Incapsulate is an innate problem solver. With a broad background in software development, working across a number of industries, he was quick to notice a problem that persisted in the enterprise realm: “Often, smart people work on what ends up being ‘one-off solutions,’ which solve a single problem for a single client. And then they are off to re-invent the wheel for the next client,” says Batish. To him, this was an absolute waste of creative energy and limits their ability to make a lasting impact. “I wanted to develop products that tackled the problem for many clients, but not through cookie cutter way that forces everyone to the same solution. I was looking to balance flexibility with repeatability,” says Batish. This idea marked the genesis of Incapsulate, a company that blends product development skills with management consulting to become what could be a “force-multiplier.”

Headquartered in Washington, DC, Incapsulate pairs deep technical capabilities with domain-specific expertise to help their clients across government and commercial sectors improve their services and streamline operations. Incapsulate has provided solutions to all levels of government agencies, from the White House to state and local government.

Batish credits a major part of Incapsulate’s success to their partnership with Salesforce. As a long standing Salesforce partner, Incapsulate has used agile DevOps-based methodologies to implement more than 50 enterprise-class Salesforce-based solutions, the major one being 311.

Building with Salesforce

Incapsulate’s Salesforce-based ‘Capsule,’ as they call it, extends the core Salesforce platform to provide 311-related capabilities to clients. Similar to 911, 311 services provide citizens a community information service directed to non-emergency municipal call centers in cities and counties throughout North America and beyond. “Today, cities constantly need to innovate; the agencies are on the front lines when it comes to providing services to citizens,” says Batish. “311 assists cities in building a better citizen response platform.” Common inquiries made to 311 call centers include questions about citizen services, the reporting of debris in a roadway, notifying city officials of broken street lights or asking questions about trash pick-up, bus schedules, or other local services. Some of the largest cities in the U.S. are using the Capsule or are in the process of implementing it, including Washington DC, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Boston, and Orange County California.

“Markets like the public sector or education are vast, and the Capsules take a more fine-grained approach to specific business problems within those markets,” Batish adds.

We have Capsules built for 311 and early education licensing solutions and are looking to release the 311 Capsule on the Salesforce App Exchange 2017 mid-summer

“311 and Licensing are so far the most relevant markets.” In addition to 311, Incapsulate has built Capsules for early education licensing solutions and are looking to release the 311 Capsule on the Salesforce App Exchange 2017 mid-summer.

By providing the ability to configure 311-specific functionality, the Capsules eliminate the need for unwieldy customizations. This increases speed to market and simplifies maintenance. Ultimately, the Capsules put more power in the hands of business users versus IT staff. “The Salesforce platform allows us to more directly engage our clients and the end-users—in the development process, working side-by-side as true collaborators. Instead of ‘telling’ them what we plan to do, we can be ‘showing’ them what we are doing,” says Batish. The company is also building a Capsule called TalkBack that will allow 311 clients to gather feedback and opinions from their constituents—residents, tourists, and city employees.

Customization is Not Always the Answer

A major focus of Incapsulate is to help clients leverage the full potential of the Salesforce platform. “Striking the balance between configuration and customization is a challenge we frequently hear during our engagement with clients,” says Batish. “This tension comes from business owners who want their current processes replicated in a new system,” he adds. This can lead to heavy coding and highly customized solutions that don’t take advantage of the Salesforce platform, making it hard to upgrade and costing fortunes to maintain,” says Batish. Incapsulate is religious about configuration-centric delivery. “We have seen large cities hamstrung by customized solutions that leave them stuck with the system as it was day one, with no ability to update in response to changes in their citizens’ needs.” Batish and his team avoid “paving the cowpath,” which is taking an existing system and replicating it in Salesforce. Instead, they use Salesforce to reimagine how services are delivered—this was, in fact, the genesis of the Capsules.

On numerous occasions, Incapsulate has been of valuable assistance to government customers such as Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the General Services Administration (GSA), Washington DC’s Office of the Mayor, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Education in developing, implementing, and operating Salesforce-based solutions to better connect with customers, streamline internal business processes, and improve the delivery of service.
Highlighting the multi-faceted capabilities of Incapsulate that go beyond Salesforce, Batish shares the success story of helping the White House launch an IT Dashboard that provided unprecedented transparency into all ongoing projects. “This resulted in savings of more than $4 billion based on in-depth reviews of troubled and underperforming projects,” he adds. What’s more, they launched the dashboard in 60 days, which is unheard of for a project of that magnitude in the public sector. “We closely collaborate with our client-facing teams, but with the freedom and space to explore without interruption. This way we know their real need and how we can solve the complication,” adds Batish.

"Markets like the public sector or education are vast, and the Capsules take a more fine-grained approach to specific business problems within those markets"

The configuration-based approach also allows Incapsulate to release new features every few weeks and help clients push the envelope of productivity and agility. This, of course, requires a team that is passionate to solve business problems and not simply build software. “It is easier to start with someone who understands the business and make them a Salesforce Administrator than the other way around,” says Batish. “To us, Salesforce certifications are just pieces of paper. They tell you can pass a test, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can deliver for a client and solve real-world problems. I look for go-getters.”

Investing for the Future

Incapsulate continues to invest in the Capsules, as it also grows its workforce with strategic hires who have lived and breathed 311 for most of their careers. “We also have Incapsulate University, a program focused on helping our staff learn the Salesforce skills they need to get their certification and better serve their clients,” adds Batish. “We hold weekly ‘office hours,’ led by our senior Salesforce experts, where staff can get answers to problems, enhancing team learning.”

The company is also relentless about tracking outcomes. “Ultimately, individuals excel when they can see how their efforts make a difference,” says Batish. “For example, before we launched our licensing solution for child care in Massachusetts, it took on average 30 days for providers and parents to know if facilities were safe for kids. It now takes them only three days. That’s an outcome we are very proud of.”

Batish clearly knows that not everything is an opportunity to innovate. Hence, the company focuses their creativity on the meaningful problems instead of the routine issues where tried and true is preferable. “It goes without saying we want to deliver solutions that exceed clients’ expectations,” says Batish. The company aims to fulfill client needs, not just by delivering the end result, but also making that an experiential journey, making Incapsulate a true winner.


Washington, DC

Ajay Batish, CEO

A long-standing Salesforce partner providing management and technology consulting services from ideation to implementation