ETO software is a powerful system that can be overwhelming for some administrators and users, especially in the early days when the system is initially being rolled out in your organisation. You may achieve a better return on your time and your investment in the software, as well as reduce staff stress, if you enlist the help of an ETO consultant rather than trying to do everything internally.
An ETO software consultant has knowledge and expertise that your internal users may not have. They can help you get the most from your ETO database while also proactively watching out for any potential challenges that you may face before they become too problematic. They can also translate ETO’s technical language, features, functions, and solutions into language and processes that match your organisation’s needs. Using an ETO consultant can therefore ensure that you can focus on what you do best – service delivery, and they can focus on what they do best – ETO implementation.
This post outlines 7 key ETO tasks where you may need the expertise of an ETO consultant to increase the capacity and capability of your ETO software.
1. ETO software implementation
A successful implementation is one of the first important steps in your journey with ETO. Usually, organisations seek guidance from an implementation specialist when initially rolling out the software, however, some organisations do underinvest in implementation services and choose to implement themselves, which can lead to a variety of post-go-live challenges.
An ETO consultant who has implemented ETO for a variety of different organisations can help you navigate through common challenges during the implementation process to ensure success in the short and long-term.
It’s also important to invest appropriately in the implementation process and avoid implementations that are quick-start, fast-paced, or cut out necessary steps like training, reporting, and post-go-live support.
2. Updating an existing ETO database structure
Over time, your organisation will grow and evolve, resulting in the need to update your ETO database to better reflect changes to program designs, services, outcomes, reporting requirements, and organisational structure.
Altering the existing ETO database to accommodate these changes can be a complex task, so you might want to consider working with an ETO consultant who can help you work through these structural changes by assisting with the following processes:
- Evaluating the existing data structure and building a new blueprint or map
- Defining the required changes and vision for the future data structure
- Translating the existing data structure to the new data structure and determining required actions
- Extracting existing data based on the existing data structure and archiving or preparing for a data migration
- Cleaning up and modifying extracted data (as applicable)
- Building the new data structure
- Conducting a data migration of the existing data structureto the new data structure (as applicable)
- Conducting training on the new data structure for existing and new users
- Producing user guides and documentation for the new data structure
- Providing support for users and administrators on the new data structure after go-live
3. Data migrations to and from ETO software
Data Migration may be required in your organisation for a range of reasons, such as:
- You are transitioning from another database software to ETO software
- You are transitioning from older ETO Legacy systems to ETO Touchpoints
- You are redesigning or reorganising your existing ETO database
- You are importing data from an external database or data management system
Data migrations can be particularly challenging because they can easily corrupt your ETO database or turn into a never-ending data clean-up process. They therefore require lots of planning and discipline.
Given this, data migrations should be conducted by individuals with the following skill-set because an unsuccessful migration can be costly:
- Someone with expertise and proficiency manipulating large data files in Excel and Access
- A Gold Certified ETO Administrator who is proficient with the ETO import tool
- Someone with the ability to review imported data by generating data quality reports and utilizing the ETO back-end data management and administrator features
- Someone with high levels of proficiency in ETO Results reporting, query wizard, and standard ETO reporting
These skills may be difficult to find within your internal team, so you may consider hiring an ETO consultant to lead and execute your data migration project.
4. ETO software training
To operate effectively, ETO requires proficient and capable users for initial setup, data entry, reporting and analytics, ongoing management and administration. To build this proficiency, your staff need training to introduce new users to ETO and keep existing users up to date.
Training can make or break your ETO implementation. It is important that your trainer is proficient in ETO data entry, ETO reports, and can answer questions on varying ETO topics. The training should also have a defined curriculum, hands-on examples, and user guides for all attendees. Your organisation may not have the internal expertise yet to conduct any in-house training, therefore, you may want to consider working with an ETO expert with professional training experience.
5. ETO software workflow design
You may be considering adopting certain workflows to improve your user’s experience of ETO. Workflows walk staff through the necessary steps that a participant must complete when entered into ETO, and involve “people-based” internal processes and “technology-based” technical features.
Internal processes define the way users interact with the software, whereby organisational processes should match ETO data entry requirements. For example, can users enter data in ETO while speaking with a program participant or will they take notes and enter the data in the system later?
Defining these procedures and eliminating duplication can make ETO more manageable for users.
Technical features are the ETO settings and preferences that streamline data entry and reporting.
ETO’s administrative features allow you to customise the technical workflow and user experience in a number of ways, such as:
- Setting up workflows associated with data entry order
- Implementing customised forms with specific fields relevant to your organisation
- Setting up reminders for staff to-do lists
- Building dashboard reports for data quality checks
- Creating groups for batch data entry
- Using key features within Touchpoints, such as “Save and record similar” to make data entry quick and easy for staff
You may need the assistance of an ETO consultant to set up the internal processes and technical features of your workflows within your organisation.
6. ETO software reporting
Using standard reports, or building your own custom reports through ETO Query Wizard or ETO Results can take lots of time and constant hands-on experience to master.
Unless your organisation has a designated staff member responsible for building reports and continually developing their reporting skills, it is difficult for most organisations to build an internal ETO reporting capability. Therefore, in these instances it may be easier to work with an ETO consultant for ETO reports.
7. Recurring ETO database administration
It may actually be less expensive to outsource your ETO administration, say on a monthly recurring basis, than it is to pay for a full-time employee (with staff benefits, taxes, management time, etc.) to do these tasks internally.
An ETO consultant can therefore act as your ETO system administrator and conduct data imports, complete data migrations, restructure your database, build reports, conduct data quality checks, answer staff questions, facilitate training, and make sure you are getting the most from ETO.