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An Interview With The ClearGov Data Onboarding Team – Part 3

An Interview With The ClearGov DOC Team Part 3

If you missed any of the interviews with our data onboarding consultants, you can catch up with part one or part two. This week, we’re talking about the big picture and why the DOC team loves what they do here at ClearGov.

Looking at the bigger picture, ClearGov aims to make government data more transparent and accessible. How does the Data Onboarding Consultant (DOC) team contribute to this mission?

“That’s a lot!” said Kelley. “But the DOC team contributes directly to the mission of transparency with local governments because we are helping the client categorize their data and get more familiar with their general ledger and with their account structure and with what their data looks like. I think what makes this product unique is that the client gets a more in-depth understanding of their information, so I think it actually helps them in the budget management part of it and be more transparent in that way,” said Kelley.

When it comes to success stories, the proof is in the pudding. While the team is always receiving positive feedback, Kelley shared her personal experience of implementing ClearGov where she used to work. “After we implemented the ClearGov platforms, we had feedback from our citizens’ financial committee, which is typically very adversarial in the way that we present the budget book. It was the first time they gave positive feedback, and they said the budget book and the information was the easiest to understand that they’ve seen. They also really liked the transparency and the digestibility of the data. Our city council also gave feedback that it was the best budget book they’ve seen, and they really appreciated the formatting and consistency,” said Kelley.

CALLOUT: There are loads more ClearGov success stories if you want to check them out. Just filter our Resource Center by “Case Study.” Many of these case studies start right here with our DOC team!

What about collaboration? What memorable experiences show the DOC team’s commitment to teamwork — both internally and with clients?

Alex said, “One of the strong points of our DOC team is that we have such a variety of backgrounds. All of us have worked with different ERPs, not only here but also at our previous jobs, and that really helps us understand our clients’ systems and helps us learn how to work around certain challenges. Our different backgrounds also help our teamwork. When a question comes up that we know we’re not strong on, we just ask each other, and somebody out there either has experience or knows someone who does.”

Speaking of background, is there anything about the DOC team members that  might surprise our readers?

No scandalous secrets here… But Ruth chimed in on what she thinks is the team’s secret sauce.

“I think it’s been established that we all have government experience in some way, shape, or form, but I think that what might not be known is how we have diverse and complementary experiences. Before my experience in government, I worked for 16 years in wealth management. So I think that we represent different profiles of the population, different profiles of experience, and that all comes together to bring unique experiences that we can all learn from and share. I feel like in some companies or departments, you get a certain hire, and then you see that same profile replicate across the department. But I really feel that in our group, there’s a lot of diversity of age, experience, and knowledge, and that all comes together to bring a wealth of information that we use to serve our clients,” said Ruth.

Looking to the future, we were curious to know the team’s vision for the future of government budgeting and how ClearGov supports that.

Transparency is the biggie here. While many local governments have a desire to be more transparent, the team agrees that simply putting their budget numbers out there isn’t enough. There has to be context and narrative, and it has to be easy for constituents to understand where their money is going and why.

“As governments strive to be transparent in budgeting, a lot more people are going to keep their eyes on it. ClearGov using AI to start the narrative and provide a description of a government’s budgets is in part where budgets are going in the future. It makes it easier to be more transparent and be able to explain to citizens what is actually going on with their money,” said Alex.

As we wrap things up, we invited the team to share an “ah-ha” moment in their journey as a data onboarding consultant when they realized the true impact of their work on both ClearGov and the clients they serve.

Ruth recalled how she worked with a client whose data required a lot of categorization and mapping before launching it into ClearGov. “I will never forget when I showed the client… her “ah-ha” moment when she lit up and just couldn’t believe that with a click of a button, she could summarize so much information! She even talked about sharing it with other communities that she’s talked to over the years about shared budgeting challenges. She said, “This is going to help so many people.” And just to see it all come together like that is really satisfying for us, for me,” said Ruth.

Kelley recalls a similar experience where a client exclaimed, “Oh look, Christmas came early!” upon seeing their data in ClearGov.

The team also shared some unique projects they’ve brought to the table during their time at ClearGov.

For Alex, he needed more of a visual process for onboarding and requesting data from new clients. “I created a ‘Data Discovery PowerPoint’ that reiterates the items we go over in the kickoff call, as well as the specific data we needed and why. I include visuals of examples of the data to show them how it will look in their Digital Budget Book. Understanding how the data will be used makes clients feel more informed. There are fewer questions to answer and the onboarding process has become much smoother for me,” said Alex.  

And finally, why do our data onboarding consultants do what they do? Why do they like helping governments?

For Adam, the answer was an easy one. “Why do I like helping local governments? Because I’ve been there. I’ve been in their shoes. I understand the pressure of all the overlapping and parallel projects and the importance of the data and the numbers being correct, and the way that that impacts public trust, council, and internal budget contributors. I understand where they’ve been and what they’re trying to do. So that’s why I enjoy helping them, because with everything else that they have to do, ClearGov makes one part of their job easier,” said Adam.

Where Kelley lives, local governments have struggled with budget deficits, and a lack of transparency. “Sometimes an attempt at transparency is just a 400-page export from their ERP. People have no idea what they’re looking at. It’s the reason why I got into government, to help as many people as I could. It’s also why the opportunity to work for ClearGov was so exciting for me. Having tools, like ClearGov, to simplify budget data and engage constituents helps governments explain how every dollar is spent toward bettering their community. Everything in a municipality is touched by the budget in one way or another, and in this role I’m able to help more communities with that,” said Kelley.

We hope you enjoyed learning the vital role our data onboarding consultants play in the success of our clients! The team’s blend of diverse backgrounds, government experience, and a shared passion for innovation and transparency is truly the backbone of their success. Their journey from public sector challenges to private sector solutions demonstrates their commitment to not just simplifying data onboarding, but also empowering local governments with tools for better transparency and civic engagement. It’s this unique combination of personal dedication and professional excellence that truly sets the ClearGov DOC team apart.

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January 25, 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.