Education and Support System

Education and Support System


In order to maintain and scale the Digital Center of Excellence (DCoE), it is important to have a sustainable education and support process. An education and support system also serve as a feedback loop for the Task Force to understand areas where growth and further resources are needed to elevate the DCoE’s work. Therefore, this work is more than managing the Socrata technical solution, but will evolve into establishing an internal committee and a support system to bolster the evolution of the DCoE.

Why a Support System is Important

As part of an Education and Support System, it is important to document, train and communicate how people within the organization will learn about the DCoE. It is also important to provide a resource to work through technical, operational, tactical and strategic issues. During the implementation of a DCoE, the task force/committee should establish an Education program to document and transfer knowledge and required skills for organizationally defined personas (users)..
A key output will include post-implementation resources, so the knowledge transfer process is well defined, including establishing a Digital Government Internal Line of Support, focused on designing internal mechanisms and workflows.

Best Practices

Best practices, recommendations, and resources to help expand the DCoE and ensure a clear delineation of the roles and responsibilities for supporting the DCoE through continued education and support include:
  1. Scope and put together a team who is capable of:
    1. Managing day-to-day questions about the DCoE.
    2. Supporting with technical questions and lesioning with third parties such as Socrata to find technical and tactical questions in a timely manner.
    3. Researching solutions.
    4. Communicating effectively across departments.
  2. Define the team’s capacity:
    1. What is the size of your DCoE staff?
    2. What resources do they have available to answer questions from both internal and external users?
  3. Put together a list of internal tools and processes:
    1. What internal knowledge sharing tools can be leveraged for Socrata-specific knowledge?
    2. How do we manage internal inquiries for tracking and visibility?
    3. What level of visibility does the Data Champion want into the type and volume of inquiries sent to Socrata Support directly from internal users?
  4. Develop an Internal Support System—and document it!
    1. Take stock of organization’s needs and the resources available.
    2. Document the process and organize common issues that are being brought to the education and support team to feed that information back to the Task Force for review and modification.
  5. Determine a cadence and office hours for Support and Education team staffing.
    1. Define hours when people can meet with support and education team members, so people are not randomized, and you can foster a collaborative learning and growth experience.
  6. Offer guidance to resources and check in with the organization to ensure they understand the DCoE and can continuously implement it into their daily work.
    1. Ensure that there is a learning path and evaluation of new updates and processes, information that is shared with colleagues; especially in the cases where new updates to parts of the DCoE are made.
    2. Leverage internal resources as well as the Socrata Support team to ensure continued success.

Organizational Structure: Document an Internal Support System

Here are is a sample internal support modelthat can be used as a starting template. This will define the process your organization follows internally to support your data program.

Roles and Responsibilities

Successful programs are often characterized by a high level of ownership and engagement between department staff. Unlocking the power of data to inform the public, empower government employees, and inspire data-driven decision-making is not a one-time project. It is a long-term initiative that grows in impact over time. With that lens, it is imperative to structure a Support System to enable increasing impact as the program evolves.
Below is a template for documenting the types of common questions a program may face and how to resolve them as part of an Internal Support System.
Support Topic
Contact Info
Overall technical platform
Single Sign-on
FME scripts
Geospatial data
Functionality of UI features
Look & feel of the templates
Data related questions
Requests for new datasets/changes to existing datasets

Reference and Education Tools

Skills Gap Analysis Worksheet

When creating a team of people to serve an organizations’ support and education DCoE team, use this Skills Gap Analysis Worksheetto help identify the organization’s specific training needs for each member of the DCoE and people who are contributing to the DCoE program at large.

Socrata Education Learning Paths

Education learning paths Socrata offers can be leveraged to supplement an organization's needs and guide the education and support team in making training recommendations based on the roles of the people involved in your data program.
Socrata’s Education team provides role-based Learning Paths to ensure programs are supported in knowledge transfer across all levels of staff involvement. Learning Paths like the one in this Example Education Plan direct staff to those courses that will at once efficiently and thoroughly provide fluency with the Socrata platform and improve potential growth to scale the DCoE.

Ways to engage with the Socrata Support Team

Socrata offers a number of self-service tools, ways to engage with the Support team, and reference materials to equip your team for anything that may come their way.
Self-Service Tools
  • the Socrata Knowledge Base provides articles on all the different parts of the platform, as well as Release Notes from our Product team about newly released features.
  • an additional resource with information and articles specific to developers using Socrata APIs, DataSync, or other tools to interact with the platform.
  • a resource that is updated to reflect any Socrata system downtime due to maintenance or other issues. It will indicate which systems are experiencing an issue and provide real-time updates as our engineering team works to resolve the issue. There is also the ability to subscribe to receive email alerts!
Outreach Options
  • users can submit a ticket with the Socrata Support staff using the “Submit a Ticket” button on the Socrata Knowledge Base.
  • emailing this address will generate a ticket for the Socrata Support staff to triage and work to find a resolution.
  • Support Line - 206.340.8008 ext. 3: for those who prefer to discuss issues by phone, Socrata accept calls from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time, Monday through Friday.
  • Customers with a Support Package of Silver, Gold or Platinum have access to a Socrata Consulting Coaches. Socrata Coaches can partner on a particular set of questions, issues, or technical roadblocks in each Coaching Session – this could range from creating effective visualizations, setting up metadata, to configuring DataSync to automate a data workflow.
Reference Materials