Data onboarding is either neglected or completely ignored: Flatfile report

Imagine you bought a new smartphone or a PC. One of the first things you would do is onboard all of your data, files, pictures, and anything else that you deem important. This process is also applicable to the enterprise industry and the process of onboarding customer data determines the customer experience journey. Called data onboarding, it is the process of migrating customer data into an application.

A process as important as data onboarding has now been found to be either neglected or completely ignored by organisations. Flatfile has released a new report on the state of data onboarding and it paints a concerning picture on how data onboarding is done right now. The report shows that frustration related to data onboarding is growing among customers.

What is data onboarding?

Data onboarding is the process of collecting, uploading, matching, and validating customer data for use in a product. This process is necessary to bring data into any new software solution before the software is made readily available for the customers to use. This process is often combined with other processes like data migration, data upload, and data import.

The data onboarding has evolved to become one of the most important or critical processes during customer onboarding experience. The end result of customer onboarding is often to help new customers improve their success rate using a new product or service. The process of data onboarding is offered in industries such as marketing, HR, manufacturing, healthcare, and e-commerce.

Depending on the software previously used by the customer, the data onboarding process can range from being fairly easy to extremely complex. “If the customer has offline data spread across multiple employees and even departments, it will be much more challenging to move it to an online environment than if they are switching over to your tool from a competitor’s offering,” Flatfile says.

Who is affected by data onboarding challenges?

Flatfile report says the process of importing and migrating data remains a “messy process.” The report further highlights the disconnect between spreadsheet templates, writing custom scripts, and implementation services. All these problems, according to the report, affect three groups of people.

Software developers and engineers: The report says data onboarding challenges could force engineers to shift their focus from building core products and become the defacto onboarding experts. These teams are often required to “cobble together an internal, custom data solution” to overcome some of the challenges.

Customer support teams: When customers struggle with importing spreadsheets or other files, they first call customer support teams who spend their time ensuring a smooth data onboarding experience. “While support teams spend time on data import challenges, there’s an opportunity cost because these representatives are not responding to support tickers from other customers,” the report notes.

Customers: Last but not the least impacted are the customers who often begin using a service with the hope of having all of their data available and easy to access. Vague error messages and primary challenges with uploading the data can lead to frustration for customers.

Flatfile report: what does the report find?

The report found that data onboarding is still not treated as the most important task by organisations. The process ranges from being neglected to being completely ignored. While individuals with various titles are involved in the data onboarding process, the report reveals that the frontline responsibility is still with “someone in implementations, customer service, or customer success role.”

Among the survey respondents, 52 per cent said CRM is their primary data upload. It was followed by marketing, finance, e-commerce, HR/Employee, healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, real estate, and other data. Salesforce was the choice data onboarding platform among those importing CRM data while Oracle Marketing Cloud was chosen by those in the marketing field.

The report also revealed that 22 per cent people responded that they upload data multiple times during the day while 32 per cent say they upload data daily. In terms of time spent uploading data, 51 per cent said it takes hours while 26 per cent said it takes days for them to upload the data.

For tools, 29 per cent said they use internally built software while 6 per cent are relying on the shelf service. Even with these tools, 34 per cent agreed running into issues often while 44 per cent said they run into issues sometimes. For many, data formatting is the biggest challenge with 76 per cent calling it out as an issue. Data validation and column matching are the second and third most sighted issues.

The survey respondents say they will bring better integration, ease of use, and more AI-powered automation to make data onboarding experience better. The survey paints a clear picture of how important data onboarding is but yet, it does not get the same attention. The whole process is leading to loss of qualitative hours and customers running into multiple issues.

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2048 1366 Editorial Staff
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