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Data Onboarding: Why You Should Care and How to Take Control of It

Learn more about why data onboarding matters and how to make it work for your business with the right strategy and technology.

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If there’s one mantra in the global digital economy, it’s that data is the new currency. For any software company looking to grow its customer base, leveraging data is more important than ever.

However, as data keeps growing in volume and complexity worldwide, onboarding customer data from multiple sources to activate users can be more complex than you might think.

Most businesses only realize the challenges in data onboarding after spending weeks or months manually formatting, validating, and cleaning customer data.

This slow process has become the norm for so many businesses that they often overlook the opportunity to speed it up.

A poor data onboarding process can take time and resources that you could be putting towards your core product, and it can turn customers away by delaying their onboarding.

With this guide, you can deploy data onboarding as a lever for growth. Learn more about why data onboarding matters—and how to make it work for your business with the right technology.

The complexity of data onboarding

Picture this: A fast-growing software company has signed a new customer. To start the onboarding process, the customer success (CS) managers or onboarding specialists must import the customer’s data into the system.

Data onboarding is a multilayered process with many important considerations for both software companies and their customers

Here’s how the data onboarding process unfolds:

  • The customer sends various data from an ERP system (e.g., personnel information or financial details) that can’t be fully processed via API. As a result, the onboarding specialists must spend hours reformatting the data to fit their predefined Excel template and internal data structure.
  • Next, they try to upload the sheet using a basic in-house data importer but hit a roadblock: Hundreds of validation errors prevent the upload, leaving the team unsure how to deal with them. This legacy custom tool, developed years ago, keeps failing at flagging all errors.
  • As the team dives into a lengthy email exchange with the customer to sort out the template, another customer adds to the data onboarding challenge: They introduce new data types that neither the rigid Excel template nor the in-house importer can accommodate or validate.
  • As a result, the CS managers or onboarding specialists repeatedly find themselves manually reformatting data. Sooner or later, they ask the product team to reallocate developer resources and help import the data.
  • Unlike the onboarding specialists who bring industry-specific knowledge to the table, developers may lack this specialized understanding. As a result, there are often lengthy back-and-forths between teams to align different systems and ensure a smooth data transfer without any loss.

This is just one scenario of how companies across the globe approach customer data onboarding. Others include coding custom data import scripts or native integrations for recurring data imports from specific systems. At the same time, managing data in Excel or CSV sheets is still widespread across different sectors, which only adds to the complexity for software vendors.

Why businesses should take control of data onboarding early on

Whether carried out internally or by the customers themselves, a manual customer data onboarding process is prone to errors and inefficiency. In the long run, it can erode customer trust by blocking your resources from more strategic initiatives. Let’s take a closer look at why understanding the impact of inefficient data onboarding early on is crucial for businesses on track for growth.

Business impact of poor data onboarding

Inefficiency for customer success or onboarding teams

Traditional data onboarding means CS managers or onboarding specialists spend substantial time manually importing, validating, and cleaning data rather than guiding customers through setup. This inefficiency can lead to longer resolution times for customer issues and a slower adoption rate.

Draining developer resources

Developers often find themselves tasked with integrating and formatting data from various sources to ensure compatibility with the software—draining their time that they could better spend on coding, testing, and improving the core product.

Compromised product delivery

The need to allocate developer resources to manual data onboarding tasks can disrupt product development timelines. Instead of implementing new features, developers must handle data-related issues, delaying product updates or releases.

Limited scalability

Managing large volumes of customer data across the organization manually is hardly sustainable. Putting pressure on teams to reformat or restructure data for each new customer, or developing custom scripts for data import, calls for substantial human resources—making scaling slow and costly.

Customer dissatisfaction and churn

With manual data onboarding, there's a risk of errors and inconsistencies, which inevitably harms the user experience (UX). For example, if file uploads repeatedly fail due to inaccurate data, you might delay or prevent user activation altogether—prompting frustrated customers to look for other solutions.

Declining sales and revenue

When customers churn because of poor data onboarding experiences, it directly affects sales and revenue—fewer satisfied customers mean fewer new sales and renewals. As your resources decline, future investments become increasingly difficult, limiting business growth in the long run.

Overcoming the triple constraint in data onboarding 

The outlined effects make it clear that a strategic focus on data onboarding is key for driving growth. Integrating a seamless data onboarding process into your customer onboarding strategy can save you time and resources for what truly moves the needle. Add to that smart automation, and you can effectively address the triple constraint in data onboarding.

Effective data onboarding involves striking a delicate balance between three key constraints

Thanks to AI-enahanced automation technology, you can rest assured that your data onboarding process is faster, of higher quality, and more cost-effective than ever. Let’s see how.

  • Accuracy and quality: Manual data imports carry a high risk of errors. Typos or inconsistent formatting can create data quality issues that quickly spread throughout systems, making decision-making challenging. Automation tools for data onboarding come to the rescue with pre-built cleansing and validation rules. Reducing human intervention can help you ensure more reliable and consistent data imports—critical for generating actionable insights.
  • Speed and efficiency: When manually onboarding data, recurring tasks like mapping, validating, and cleaning demand significant time. However, with AI-led column mapping and automated validation and cleaning, a specialized technology solution for data onboarding can speed up the process—enabling you to carry out data imports in minutes.
  • Resources and costs: As onboarding customer data involves efforts from multiple teams, there's a risk of tying up critical resources. With data onboarding technology streamlining data onboarding through internal imports or customer self-service, you can divert development resources from handling messy customer data or maintaining custom data import tools to improving your core product—safeguarding ROI as your requirements evolve.

Benefits of leveraging a specialized technology solution for data onboarding

As we’ve already seen, automation is at the heart of data onboarding. AI advancements take the process further and streamline it by learning your needs from the initial data import.

Leveraging automation and AI within a data onboarding solution allows you to adapt to evolving data import needs—all while staying focused on providing value to customers quickly and efficiently.

Reduced customer onboarding time with faster data imports

Data onboarding technology significantly cuts the time needed to onboard new customers by automating data imports. This way, for example, a construction management software company can readily bring together project details for site managers to plan and track resources, equipment, deadlines, etc.

Effortless import of diverse and unpredictable data in various formats

A data onboarding solution can handle various data formats effortlessly—from CSV and Excel to JSON, XML, and PDF—making it straightforward for companies like ecommerce platforms to consolidate product information from suppliers who might use different data file formats. This helps them ensure that the product catalog stays current without human intervention.

Improved data quality with fewer errors

Automating data validation and cleaning through data onboarding technology ensures higher data quality with fewer chances for errors. For instance, business users in sustainability management can easily standardize and validate greenhouse gas emissions from multiple locations to ensure accuracy before integrating them into their systems, reducing the risk of distorted sustainability records.

Possibility of customer self-serve data imports

With more time, seamless workflows, and increased data quality, your teams no longer need to handle every data import internally. This improved setup gives them leverage to encourage customers to import data directly into your system. By offering self-service data imports through a user-friendly interface, you ensure an even better customer experience.

Data onboarding is all about speed and scale

You can access all these benefits and beyond with nuvo, a German-based data onboarding technology provider bringing innovation to the market with its Data Importer SDK, powered by AI.

nuvo's Data Importer SDK provides automated validation and cleaning of data against your database or third-party services

Forward-thinking businesses worldwide trust nuvo to simplify the onboarding process for diverse datasets in compliance with GDPR—improving time to value for customers, increasing customer satisfaction, and scaling for growth.

nuvo benefit overview
How forward-thinking businesses gain from faster data onboarding with nuvo
Improved time to value for customers by onboarding high-quality data more quickly and efficiently nuvo makes handling complex data effortless, ensuring maximum accuracy while reducing manual formatting. Thanks to AI, it quickly adjusts to your preferences after the initial import, making the process even smoother, and you only need to step in when absolutely necessary.
Increased customer satisfaction by saving time and resources to invest in your core product Automated workflow steps and self-service data imports free up time for customer success or onboarding teams to focus on customer priorities. Similarly, development teams no longer have to deal with messy data imports, giving them more time to enhance the core functionalities of your product.
Scaling and driving revenue growth by serving more customers With nuvo's AI-powered Data Importer SDK, you can handle increased volumes of diverse customer data easily. This efficiency can enable you to onboard more customers, more quickly, minimizing overhead, improving productivity, and scaling effectively for growth.

The global HR and payroll platform Lano is one of many companies that could minimize errors and save resources by reducing human involvement in data imports.

Previously requiring a full working day, data imports at Lano now only take one hour thanks to nuvo’s Data Importer SDK—an impressive time saving of 90%.

Providing seamless data onboarding experiences with nuvo saves you time and resources for your business while customers access the value of your product from the beginning.

If you're ready to discover nuvo’s innovative solutions, book a call with our team, and we will be happy to support you every step of the way.

Data Onboarding: Why You Should Care and How to Take Control of It

 Michael Zittermann
Michael Zittermann
Co-Founder & CEO
Published:
July 18, 2024
Updated:
July 18, 2024
Data Onboarding: Why It Matters & How to Make It Work

If there’s one mantra in the global digital economy, it’s that data is the new currency. For any software company looking to grow its customer base, leveraging data is more important than ever.

However, as data keeps growing in volume and complexity worldwide, onboarding customer data from multiple sources to activate users can be more complex than you might think.

Most businesses only realize the challenges in data onboarding after spending weeks or months manually formatting, validating, and cleaning customer data.

This slow process has become the norm for so many businesses that they often overlook the opportunity to speed it up.

A poor data onboarding process can take time and resources that you could be putting towards your core product, and it can turn customers away by delaying their onboarding.

With this guide, you can deploy data onboarding as a lever for growth. Learn more about why data onboarding matters—and how to make it work for your business with the right technology.

The complexity of data onboarding

Picture this: A fast-growing software company has signed a new customer. To start the onboarding process, the customer success (CS) managers or onboarding specialists must import the customer’s data into the system.

Data onboarding is a multilayered process with many important considerations for both software companies and their customers

Here’s how the data onboarding process unfolds:

  • The customer sends various data from an ERP system (e.g., personnel information or financial details) that can’t be fully processed via API. As a result, the onboarding specialists must spend hours reformatting the data to fit their predefined Excel template and internal data structure.
  • Next, they try to upload the sheet using a basic in-house data importer but hit a roadblock: Hundreds of validation errors prevent the upload, leaving the team unsure how to deal with them. This legacy custom tool, developed years ago, keeps failing at flagging all errors.
  • As the team dives into a lengthy email exchange with the customer to sort out the template, another customer adds to the data onboarding challenge: They introduce new data types that neither the rigid Excel template nor the in-house importer can accommodate or validate.
  • As a result, the CS managers or onboarding specialists repeatedly find themselves manually reformatting data. Sooner or later, they ask the product team to reallocate developer resources and help import the data.
  • Unlike the onboarding specialists who bring industry-specific knowledge to the table, developers may lack this specialized understanding. As a result, there are often lengthy back-and-forths between teams to align different systems and ensure a smooth data transfer without any loss.

This is just one scenario of how companies across the globe approach customer data onboarding. Others include coding custom data import scripts or native integrations for recurring data imports from specific systems. At the same time, managing data in Excel or CSV sheets is still widespread across different sectors, which only adds to the complexity for software vendors.

Why businesses should take control of data onboarding early on

Whether carried out internally or by the customers themselves, a manual customer data onboarding process is prone to errors and inefficiency. In the long run, it can erode customer trust by blocking your resources from more strategic initiatives. Let’s take a closer look at why understanding the impact of inefficient data onboarding early on is crucial for businesses on track for growth.

Business impact of poor data onboarding

Inefficiency for customer success or onboarding teams

Traditional data onboarding means CS managers or onboarding specialists spend substantial time manually importing, validating, and cleaning data rather than guiding customers through setup. This inefficiency can lead to longer resolution times for customer issues and a slower adoption rate.

Draining developer resources

Developers often find themselves tasked with integrating and formatting data from various sources to ensure compatibility with the software—draining their time that they could better spend on coding, testing, and improving the core product.

Compromised product delivery

The need to allocate developer resources to manual data onboarding tasks can disrupt product development timelines. Instead of implementing new features, developers must handle data-related issues, delaying product updates or releases.

Limited scalability

Managing large volumes of customer data across the organization manually is hardly sustainable. Putting pressure on teams to reformat or restructure data for each new customer, or developing custom scripts for data import, calls for substantial human resources—making scaling slow and costly.

Customer dissatisfaction and churn

With manual data onboarding, there's a risk of errors and inconsistencies, which inevitably harms the user experience (UX). For example, if file uploads repeatedly fail due to inaccurate data, you might delay or prevent user activation altogether—prompting frustrated customers to look for other solutions.

Declining sales and revenue

When customers churn because of poor data onboarding experiences, it directly affects sales and revenue—fewer satisfied customers mean fewer new sales and renewals. As your resources decline, future investments become increasingly difficult, limiting business growth in the long run.

Overcoming the triple constraint in data onboarding 

The outlined effects make it clear that a strategic focus on data onboarding is key for driving growth. Integrating a seamless data onboarding process into your customer onboarding strategy can save you time and resources for what truly moves the needle. Add to that smart automation, and you can effectively address the triple constraint in data onboarding.

Effective data onboarding involves striking a delicate balance between three key constraints

Thanks to AI-enahanced automation technology, you can rest assured that your data onboarding process is faster, of higher quality, and more cost-effective than ever. Let’s see how.

  • Accuracy and quality: Manual data imports carry a high risk of errors. Typos or inconsistent formatting can create data quality issues that quickly spread throughout systems, making decision-making challenging. Automation tools for data onboarding come to the rescue with pre-built cleansing and validation rules. Reducing human intervention can help you ensure more reliable and consistent data imports—critical for generating actionable insights.
  • Speed and efficiency: When manually onboarding data, recurring tasks like mapping, validating, and cleaning demand significant time. However, with AI-led column mapping and automated validation and cleaning, a specialized technology solution for data onboarding can speed up the process—enabling you to carry out data imports in minutes.
  • Resources and costs: As onboarding customer data involves efforts from multiple teams, there's a risk of tying up critical resources. With data onboarding technology streamlining data onboarding through internal imports or customer self-service, you can divert development resources from handling messy customer data or maintaining custom data import tools to improving your core product—safeguarding ROI as your requirements evolve.

Benefits of leveraging a specialized technology solution for data onboarding

As we’ve already seen, automation is at the heart of data onboarding. AI advancements take the process further and streamline it by learning your needs from the initial data import.

Leveraging automation and AI within a data onboarding solution allows you to adapt to evolving data import needs—all while staying focused on providing value to customers quickly and efficiently.

Reduced customer onboarding time with faster data imports

Data onboarding technology significantly cuts the time needed to onboard new customers by automating data imports. This way, for example, a construction management software company can readily bring together project details for site managers to plan and track resources, equipment, deadlines, etc.

Effortless import of diverse and unpredictable data in various formats

A data onboarding solution can handle various data formats effortlessly—from CSV and Excel to JSON, XML, and PDF—making it straightforward for companies like ecommerce platforms to consolidate product information from suppliers who might use different data file formats. This helps them ensure that the product catalog stays current without human intervention.

Improved data quality with fewer errors

Automating data validation and cleaning through data onboarding technology ensures higher data quality with fewer chances for errors. For instance, business users in sustainability management can easily standardize and validate greenhouse gas emissions from multiple locations to ensure accuracy before integrating them into their systems, reducing the risk of distorted sustainability records.

Possibility of customer self-serve data imports

With more time, seamless workflows, and increased data quality, your teams no longer need to handle every data import internally. This improved setup gives them leverage to encourage customers to import data directly into your system. By offering self-service data imports through a user-friendly interface, you ensure an even better customer experience.

Data onboarding is all about speed and scale

You can access all these benefits and beyond with nuvo, a German-based data onboarding technology provider bringing innovation to the market with its Data Importer SDK, powered by AI.

nuvo's Data Importer SDK provides automated validation and cleaning of data against your database or third-party services

Forward-thinking businesses worldwide trust nuvo to simplify the onboarding process for diverse datasets in compliance with GDPR—improving time to value for customers, increasing customer satisfaction, and scaling for growth.

nuvo benefit overview
How forward-thinking businesses gain from faster data onboarding with nuvo
Improved time to value for customers by onboarding high-quality data more quickly and efficiently nuvo makes handling complex data effortless, ensuring maximum accuracy while reducing manual formatting. Thanks to AI, it quickly adjusts to your preferences after the initial import, making the process even smoother, and you only need to step in when absolutely necessary.
Increased customer satisfaction by saving time and resources to invest in your core product Automated workflow steps and self-service data imports free up time for customer success or onboarding teams to focus on customer priorities. Similarly, development teams no longer have to deal with messy data imports, giving them more time to enhance the core functionalities of your product.
Scaling and driving revenue growth by serving more customers With nuvo's AI-powered Data Importer SDK, you can handle increased volumes of diverse customer data easily. This efficiency can enable you to onboard more customers, more quickly, minimizing overhead, improving productivity, and scaling effectively for growth.

The global HR and payroll platform Lano is one of many companies that could minimize errors and save resources by reducing human involvement in data imports.

Previously requiring a full working day, data imports at Lano now only take one hour thanks to nuvo’s Data Importer SDK—an impressive time saving of 90%.

Providing seamless data onboarding experiences with nuvo saves you time and resources for your business while customers access the value of your product from the beginning.

If you're ready to discover nuvo’s innovative solutions, book a call with our team, and we will be happy to support you every step of the way.

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