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An Interview With The ClearGov Data Onboarding Team – Part 2

An Interview With The ClearGov Data Onboarding Team - Part 2

If you missed the first part of the interview with our data onboarding consultants team, check it out here. This week, we’re taking a deeper dive into the team’s day-to-day and how they help ClearGov clients succeed.

We were curious, what does a typical day in the life of a Data Onboarding Consultant (DOC) team member look like? What are some of their primary responsibilities during the implementation process?

For Tiffany, her time management skills are put to work first thing in the morning. “I’ll take a look at my tickets for any meetings that came in or were added to my calendar. I check the Slack channels we’re part of to see if there are any product issues. From there, I’m prioritizing based on urgency — and there may be multiple! This could run from a client who has a budget meeting and needs a very quick turnaround for an upload, to helping out in the data queue if there’s a remapping that has a priority,” said Tiffany.

“Most of the day will consist of formatting Excel spreadsheets, uploading data to our onboarding tool, mapping data to compare to an existing budget book if they have one, and ensuring all the dimensions line up. The rest could involve client check-in calls to ensure we’re on the same page, clarify any onboarding questions I send in that they’re just confused about or may need some help understanding, or mapping reviews once again to make sure the data is in the right space. Otherwise, I’m working on product reviews to showcase all the hard work that we put in!” concluded Tiffany.

Quite a lot goes into the day-to-day! So what are the key factors involved in a successful data onboarding experience?

For Ruth, one of the first factors in a successful onboarding experience is to have clean, well-defined data. “If it’s in a format that’s easy for us to transmit, then that’s a plus, but if not, we can work around that. If they don’t have well-defined data, then just having a coordinated team on the other side that can be responsive to us and get the information back to us when we ask for it is really helpful,” she said.

“It’s also important to have a team that collectively knows what they want to get out of the process. Sometimes we get competing information from clients, and that can slow things down. So good data, a coordinated effort, and quick response make for a smoother onboarding experience,” said Ruth.

Fortunately, the number of clients that have all of those elements in order is pretty high! But are there any common issues the team runs into during onboarding?

Ruth says some clients simply don’t know what they want. If they’ve never done a digital budget book, and they’re not sure what messages are most important for their council and constituents, it can take some additional discussions and collaboration to figure it out. “While this adds a bit of extra time to the process, it’s really helpful to the client to work through as well,” said Ruth.

For Lauren, some sticking points are reports that aren’t easily formatted for their onboarding tool and an inconsistent chart of accounts. “Clients go very in-depth when reviewing their chart of accounts during the onboarding process. Sometimes it’s eye-opening when they realize their chart of accounts doesn’t really make sense when seeing it in ClearGov. Some clients are accommodating; they realize that revising their chart of accounts and accounting structure is the right thing to do, and simply make the changes on their end. In other cases, it’s more challenging to fix the inconsistencies,” said Lauren.

In true analyst style, Alex Thiel, a former Senior Financial Analyst, shared similar concerns about “messy” data. Fortunately, the DOC team has mad “data wizard skills” and can make pretty much anything work! For Alex, a bigger snag is responsiveness. “A lot of times clients are signed on during the budgeting process, and they’re already very busy. Trying to get them to jump on our calls and get us the data we need sometimes stretches out the onboarding process in these cases,” said Alex.

Mapping is also a challenge in some cases. According to Lauren, some clients don’t know how to interpret the data they’re seeing and the DOC team needs to take it one step at a time to make sure they understand the layout of their data and ensure everyone’s on the same page. “I share my screen a lot, and I think that that has definitely proven effective. We also make PowerPoints to show them examples of what we’re asking them to do and what it will look like in ClearGov. I also double check things clients tell me — like if they claim all of their objects have the same description, but turns out they don’t. This prevents double work and remapping efforts in the future,” said Lauren.

There’s also a lot of techy behind-the-scenes stuff that the team’s onboarding tool does to facilitate smoother mapping. But because the team’s primary goal is a seamless onboarding experience for the client, who probably doesn’t care about the tech, we won’t get into dimensions and schemas and such here.

Stay tuned for part three of the interview next week! We talk big picture, vision, memorable “ah-ha” moments, and why our DOC team loves what they do.

January 18, 2024

Matt Benati

Matt Benati is Vice President of Marketing for ClearGov®, the leading provider of Budget Cycle Management software for local governments. Matt is passionate about helping organizations modernize their annual budgeting process by automating workflow, increasing collaboration, and improving transparency between governments and citizens.