Automation ITechnology Interviews

ITechnology Interview with David Karandish, Founder & CEO at Capacity

ITechnology Interview with David Karandish, Founder & CEO at Capacity

“Finding the right balance of communication tools is the key to success with a dispersed workforce.”

Hi David, please tell us about your journey in the technology industry. What inspired you to start Capacity?

I wanted to start a company to address challenges in communication, processes and workflows to empower employees to do their best work. In the modern office, most people waste so much time looking for information. I was tired of spending large chunks of my day digging for information or waiting on answers. I saw an opportunity to build a platform that would connect an entire tech stack so that employees could instantly access the information they need, wherever it lives. We created Capacity with the goal that all of a company’s intelligence — apps, documents and the knowledge of your team — can be accessible everywhere. With Capacity’s support, teams can reclaim wasted time and get back to using their talents for high-level tasks.

How did you stay on top of your game during the COVID-19 months? Which tools / technologies did you use to manage your remote workplace activities?

We were already big proponents of digital communication tools, and those definitely helped us empower team members in the swift transition to working from home. Internally, our team uses Capacity, Slack and Zoom to stay connected and to easily collaborate on projects. Capacity also created a free chatbot so any organization could quickly add it to their website to help business leaders answer FAQs about COVID symptoms, company safety measures and changes to work policies. The first few months of that rollout revealed the importance of updating corporate policies to answer changing circumstances. That need for constant reflection and realignment won’t go away with COVID — it will become an ongoing part of operations.

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What is the most contemporary definition of SaaS-based support automation and work management in the modern context of IT modernization?

The modern IT stack involves three layers – your systems of record (Helpdesk), systems of engagement (Websites, Bots) and systems of intelligence (Workflows, Automations and AI). The modern SaaS-based support automation uses all three of these layers to provide self service, rapid escalation and built-in learning to reduce emails, phone calls and tickets.

How does Capacity digitally transform automation processes for its customers?

The platform uses the power of AI and a centralized knowledge base to automate processes for users. Internally, team members can build custom workflows that use robotic processing automation (RPA) to streamline work processes. Workflows initiate a series of actions, including sending emails, uploading records and creating action items to guide the trajectory of a task seamlessly, all while ensuring the right team members, documents and processes are engaged. Intelligent document processing functions alongside workflows, so a team can create and follow templates for different kinds of documents, then batch upload them for processing. Capacity classifies the documents according to the templates, mines the data and escalates to a human expert to address any missing information. Teams provide feedback on the processing, so the system improves with use. The more documents are uploaded, the better the AI gets at sorting. And team members can initiate all of those actions by using our conversational chatbot.

Could you highlight the biggest challenges in hybrid working culture? How should CEOs better prepare for hybrid working models in the post-COVID era?

The biggest challenges we saw centered on facilitating effective communication, maintaining a work/life balance, and nurturing company culture. Finding the right balance of communication tools is the key to success with a dispersed workforce. Too many can overwhelm the day with interruptions, while too few might mean things fall through the cracks. Scheduling meetings in blocks and creating a virtual communication policy can go a long way toward keeping your team informed and on track.

While maintaining a healthy work/life balance is a continual focus of ours, we had to reimagine what it looked like to support a team working without the boundaries of the office. Team members adjusting to a remote environment without a designated stopping point for their day can hurdle toward burnout. Business leaders need to keep a pulse on their team’s well-being and find innovative ways to help. For Capacity, that meant encouraging breaks throughout the day, scheduling time for teams to talk about their lives outside of work and even suggesting teams separate themselves from their workspace to create a distinction between home and work.

A well-defined, positive corporate culture is critical to your team’s success, and it goes far beyond the walls of your office. But many of the strategies used to strengthen that culture don’t transfer simply to hybrid work environments. Leaders can start by taking stock of what’s worked in the past to nurture their team, then translate those wins into new solutions to meet changing needs. At Capacity, we traded in perks like unlimited snacks and work-late dinners at the office for Zoom happy hours and virtual baking contests. We also encouraged team members to recognize others’ accomplishments — whether big or small. And finally, you have to bake team-building into your workflow.

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Tell us more about your AI ML offerings?

Capacity’s support automation platform was built from the ground up on machine learning. Our proprietary algorithms, natural language processing, Expert Finder and intelligent document processing are all supported by state-of-the-art machine learning models. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are powered by a significant volume of data. But Capacity’s learning models don’t need your sensitive data to work, so nothing is stored by our platform without your permission. And the platform improves with use. That means your team can provide feedback if Capacity surfaces an outdated piece of information, and the system can learn your customers’ likes and dislikes.

What’s the product roadmap for Capacity in 2022:

Our roadmap is filled with making sure every product within our platform talks seamlessly with each other. So chatting with the bot can launch a Guided Conversation, a Guided Conversation can kick off a Workflow and the Workflow can create a ticket in the Helpdesk. And all of this should be templatized so you can easily repeat it.

What kind of integrations / partnerships do you offer to customers to improve automation experiences?

Capacity integrates with more than 50 apps, including Salesforce, Google Drive, HubSpot, ServiceNow and Jira. The apps we integrate with span calendar, email, CRM, ticketing, analytics, cloud drive and other functions, making it easier to share knowledge across your most essential tools. Once an app your team uses is integrated, the data you store there becomes part of your company’s knowledge base, and it can be easily located by asking the chatbot a question. In addition to the integrations we offer, Capacity also interfaces with communication tools, including Slack and Microsoft Teams, so you can ask Capacity questions just like you’re asking a colleague.

PREDICTIONS SERIES 2022

One event in 2021 that influenced your thinking:

I heard a great talk from Greg McKeown (author of Essentialism). One of the things he talked about was how societies tend to fall not based on the specifics of the problem at hand but due to the overhead needed to manage the complexity of the society. I think a similar phenomenon is happening at organizations across the globe, which is why I believe that simplicity is the killer app for support automation.

Your predictions for the industry in 2022 that you think would drastically affect enterprise tech integrations: Why do you think so?

Enterprises will end the use of support email inboxes. As organizations start to implement AI and automation into their everyday workflows, the need for company-wide help or info support email inboxes will recede. We will see companies use AI and automation to handle requests that can be answered through their knowledge database, eliminating the need for individuals to manage incoming requests manually. In doing so, these tools will deflect the need for inboxes to be a catch-all for communications, leading companies to eliminate their inboxes and upskill the employee that monitors and responds to all incoming communications. This transformation will expedite all internal and external stakeholder responses.

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Thank you, David! That was fun and we hope to see you back on itechnologyseries.com soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com]

David Karandish is Founder & CEO of Capacity – an enterprise artificial intelligence SaaS company headquartered in St. Louis, MO. Capacity’s secure, AI-native support automation platform helps teams do their best work. Prior to starting Capacity, David was the CEO of Answers Corp. He and his business partner, Chris Sims, started the parent company of Answers in 2006 and sold it to a private equity firm in 2014 for north of $900m. David sits on the boards of Create a Loop (a computer science education non-profit tackling the digital divide by teaching kids to code) and Prepare.ai (a non-profit providing educational resources and strategic guidance about Artificial Intelligence to individuals, communities, and companies). David was also an early investor and board member at Nerdy (NYSE: NRDY), an on-demand, real-time learning platform in the ed tech space.David lives in St. Louis with his wife, Erin and four kids. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and playing ukulele

Capacity Logo

Capacity is an AI-powered support automation platform that connects your entire tech stack to answer questions, automate repetitive support tasks, and assemble solutions to any business challenge.

We have a rapidly growing customer base across several verticals, particularly financial services, HR, healthcare, and education. Our customers include Newell Brands, USA Mortgage, West Community Credit Union, Total Access Urgent Care, Maryville University, Framecad, and EXL, among others.

Capacity was founded in 2017 David Karandish and Chris Sims, and is part of the Equity.com incubator. We’re proudly headquartered in St. Louis.

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