Six Essential Data Management Features for Publicly Funded Programs

What you need to know before upgrading your data management system


When it comes to data management for Early Childhood Education initiatives like Head Start and publicly funded Community Action Programs, providers often rely on outdated processes and solutions.

The time and resources it takes to generate, manage, analyze data, not to mention accurately report it, are challenges that many organizations face.

Offering multiple program models and staying on top of compliance requirements are two important reasons to consider options and technologies to help simply and streamline data management solutions for providers of publicly funded programs.

Imagine a world where you can see a panoramic view of all your program types, at any level (child, family, site) in one place with a just a few clicks.

Running assessments to monitor a child’s early education progress, collecting vital family information in one application, and a seeing multitudes of data elements in neatly organized charts and graphs – is possible with existing technologies like COPA, and a properly configured database.

Configuring and implementing a change in data management processes can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools data migration and integration can be seamless and straightforward.

Below are six essential data management features to consider before upgrading your data management system.

Centralized, Real-Time Data


Data centralization and real-time data access should be a principal adoption goal for public service providers at every level. Centralized data enables greater efficiency in public service offerings, accurate spending accountability, and ultimately a more sizeable impact in every community.

Transparency and outcomes are also easier to track and manage with a stable and reliable centralized data system. Real-time access means all data can be viewed at any time and from any device. There are a number of companies currently providing technologies to make the transition to centralized data systems seamless and straightforward.


Integrated Data Systems


The benefits of Integrated Software Solutions are universally acceptable. Yet many agencies and organizations are still not streamlining their efforts to connect their data. While budgets are usually the biggest hurdle, data integration is especially important for any publicly funded program.

Integrations between multiple systems facilitate data centralization and management flexibility. For example, with an integrated data system client transitions through public service programs can be tracked, progress monitored, and outcomes reported as the recipient progresses through the service programs. This enables providers to have a panoramic view of their programs, from early childhood education, to adult services and assistance.


Secure Online Portals


Online portals provide an opportunity for anyone with internet access, including through public libraries, to create a private and secure account and apply for public services.

With a few clicks a person can fill out an application, upload required eligibility documents and communicate with participating agencies, without ever leaving the portal. Available technologies make it possible for agencies to track applications, process automatic service reservations for eligible applicants and maintain funding compliance.

In addition to helping providers meet enrollment and teacher-to-student ratio requirements, online portals offer:

– Faster accessibility, regardless of location, ability to travel, time restrictions, financial hardships and cultural challenges;

– Measurable reduction in time required to process paperwork and enter data;

– Improved user/customer experience, with greater flexibility and security;

– Accurate results to assess a program’s performance, effectiveness and outreach efforts in the community;

– Go completely PAPERLESS

Electronic Document Libraries


There is a strong cultural push for organizations large and small to go paperless. The availability of electronic document libraries and cloud storage solutions make it possible to cut down or completely eliminate paper applications. Early childhood education programs and agencies that manage data and child information in paper form are at a greater risk for possible data breaches and indexing errors.

They also spend more time and money to create, maintain and safely destroy what often amounts to thousands of paper files.

Electronic Document Library features like e-signatures, ID bar-code scanning capabilities, electronic sign in/out functionality, and secure image uploads, are available at affordable prices. When compared with the costs of storing and maintaining sensitive information, the investment into an Electronic Document Library is a worthy consideration.

Staff can also significantly streamline their work with the ability to manage and view data with a few clicks, rather than spending hours digging through filing cabinets to find vital documents.


Multiple Program Models


Current economic and policy trends compel public service providers across the nation to offer multiple program models to remain financially viable. Providers with a long history of one specific program can suddenly find themselves faced with the challenge of maintaining funding compliance for multiple programs that require numerous data collection systems, duplicate data entry, and questionable data integrity.

Programs experienced with managing multiple program models can also face challenges with tracking outcomes and transitions, service lapses, and safe maintenance of sensitive information.

With the right technology, agencies can manage multiple program models, track multiple internal and external IDs, monitor and report outcomes, and maintain data integrity without spending hours on data entry.

An all-in-one system, with seamless data management on a single platform is possible with a customized database configured to a provider’s unique needs.


Web-based software solutions


Some of the most sophisticated organizations use web-based software solutions in their everyday business. Banks, credit card companies, hospitals, investment firms and many other institutions employ secure web-based systems to provide services.

From mobile access and data backup redundancy, to industry standard security features, data access and integration is available in real-time, and on any device.

Companies offering software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions enable providers to shift their database management systems completely online, without the need to download additional software. Web-based data availability also means that data is more secure and less vulnerable than storing it on an individual computer or in a paper filling cabinet.

If you’re ready to learn more about data management tools that will help you centralize and integrate data, facilitate online portals, and activate an electronic document library for multiple program models, here are the benefits and solutions COPA software offers.