An Interview With The ClearGov Data Onboarding Team – Part 1
This week, we’re excited to highlight ClearGov’s Data Onboarding Consultants (DOC) team. Many of the rockstars on this team have a lot of industry insight and experience in the public sector. They held various positions in local government finance, so they have the inside scoop and a unique advantage when it comes to onboarding new ClearGov customers.
While we would have loved to get the team together face-to-face à la Rolling Stone, the beauty of our business model is that we employ experts from all over the country. So in typical remote-work-style, we gathered ’round the webcam’ for a good old-fashioned Zoom meeting.
ClearGov Demand Generation Specialist, Brayden Bonnesen, broke the ice by asking some highly personal questions, and let’s just say we have some very interesting characters on the team! From secretly loving the Winnie the Pooh ride at Disneyland, to brewing beer, binging Schitt’s Creek, and just connecting with family and friends in special places, the DOC team knows a thing or two about work-life balance.
But now let’s find out why our consultants are so good at what they do, starting with what positions some of them held in local government prior to joining ClearGov.
Turns out we have some former finance directors and finance committee members in advisory roles, as well as a team member who held some interesting internships for different legislative functions, like lobbying for renewable energy. Then we pretty much have the entire “analyst” category covered: budget analysts, research analysts, management analysts, financial analysts, administrative analysts, personnel analysts… Detail-oriented analysts clearly make stellar data onboarding consultants!
Okay, but transitioning from government to the private sector can be a significant change, so we were curious what motivated some of our consultants to join ClearGov.
In her former government position as Senior Administrative Services Analyst, Kelley Mattos implemented ClearGov and trained her staff on it. “Seeing the way this team works together and the way ClearGov staff supports each other and its clients motivated me to look into an opening with the company (It’s important that I note it was voluntary; ClearGov did not recruit me!). I really felt like this was a company that listened to what we were saying, because I saw things get updated and implemented that we asked about. I thought it was a very unique opportunity to be able to help other local governments going through that same process,” said Kelley.
Lauren Shank was also a ClearGov client prior to joining the DOC team. “I just had such a positive experience with my onboarding. I felt like I could make a bigger impact with ClearGov for more municipalities and organizations versus just staying at one trying to make a difference,” said Lauren.
With so many analysts on the team, we asked how the transition from the public sector influenced their take on data management.
As a former budget analyst, Jason LaBarbera was accustomed to working in ERPs with giant budgets and the headaches that came with it. “One of the common things that I see is that a lot of local governments are overwhelmed with managing these ERPs and other data tasks, like software and API changes. Combined with budgetary issues, it tends to impede technological innovation. So the system seems like it’s constantly working against you,” said Jason.
He goes on to say that streamlined processes and affordability are key when it comes to innovating. “I think coming to the private sector has opened my eyes to how you can create a streamlined process that works with every ERP. It’s pretty crazy, pretty mind-blowing to me, that it doesn’t have to be such a headache,” he said.
Adam Wade, a former Budget and Management Analyst has a similar experience. “I found most of my work in the public sector revolved around archaic and siloed information systems. There wasn’t really any kind of cutting-edge technology or pushing the boundaries of what technology could do for you. Coming from a legacy-type system of, ‘This is the way we do things,’ kind of forced me to be creative, find information on my own, and create my own systems,” said Adam.
It turns out, some of these more “memorable” moments of their time in the public sector ended up shaping their work at ClearGov.
A former Finance Director, Lauren, says an ERP implementation was the ah-ha moment for her. It gave her a more robust understanding of how reports are created, how they pull data, and how a chart of accounts is built out. “Going through the process of understanding the segments and mapping and crosswalking old accounts to new, made it easier to understand that even though some organizations have the same ERP system, it doesn’t mean that their canned reports were set up the same way. You could literally run the same report in two different organizations and get different information,” said Lauren.
Kelley, had a similar experience as Adam when it came to getting creative. She talked about an IRS reporting project with a giant potential fine attached to it. The problem was, nobody had done the work. “I had to go through all the personnel data, read the IRS instructions, and figure out where the data lived and how to set up tables to extract the report correctly. It wasn’t really in my wheelhouse, but it had to be done, so I just figured it out!” said Kelley.
These types of experiences are exactly what makes our DOC team members so adaptable when it comes to helping ClearGov customers onboard their data. As Kelley puts it, “These are the kinds of things that go on with our ClearGov clients too, having multiple parallel projects going on, so my experience has helped me understand the importance of good preparation.”
In the same vein, we were curious what one skill or lesson was carried from their government days that has been valuable in their role as a data onboarding consultant with ClearGov.
Ruth Rivard, a former Vice President of Finance and long time Finance Committee Member, revealed a lesson that didn’t surprise us: people who work in local government work very hard and are stretched thin managing competing needs with limited resources. “Most of them really want to do a good job, but they just need a break. They need help representing their communities and allocating tax dollars, but they’re often not current in technology,” said Ruth. “I know how meaningful it is when we can help them with their jobs and get their messages across to constituents more clearly. I understand that, and I love to be able to help them from this side of the desk,” she said.
Our team member, Tiffany Rurut, a former Financial Analyst, says her time management, prioritization, and multitasking skills are what she leans into when onboarding multiple ClearGov clients. “While this is my first client-facing role, I was responsible for ensuring department budgets were accurate and constantly communicating with those department heads. So in a similar way, instead of working with just one budget for the city I worked for, I’m helping multiple clients meet their budget deadlines,” said Tiffany.
The interview continues next week in part two! Stay tuned to learn more about the DOC team’s day-to-day, key factors for success, and some of the most common issues they run into during onboarding.