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Hashboard x Beam: Leveraging Data to Better Serve Those in Need

Sarah Davidson
Sarah Davidson
September 26th, 2023
Hashboard x Beam: Leveraging Data to Better Serve Those in Need

“Hashboard enabled Beam to answer key business questions about our data before we had the resources for a full data team. We were able to tell the story of our product’s impact — the fast and equitable distribution of emergency aid — because of the tooling that Hashboard provided to non-technical employees. From the start, Hashboard empowered everyone from ICs to our CEO. It even helped us diagnose and solve a critical data quality issue in our applications early on.”

-Sanket Karuri, Chief Product Officer at Beam 

About Beam

Beam’s flexible cloud-based platform increases equitable and fast delivery of critical public benefits to our most vulnerable populations. Its technology allows governments, nonprofits, and philanthropic organizations to administer a wide range of financial assistance programs - from rental relief and public utility benefits to emergency cash assistance - with software that simplifies applications, aids decisioning and processing, facilitates payments, and streamlines compliance, reporting, and case management into a single system. 

Beam believes in the power of data to affect positive change - their team has lived and breathed that mission since their founding. Today, data is a core part of their differentiation and winning  product strategy. Beam currently provides digital infrastructure for 53 governments, higher education institutions, nonprofits, and philanthropic organizations in more than 16 states. Since 2020, Beam has administered over $200 million to 300,000 households. To learn more, visit https://www.bybeam.co/.

The Initial Data Challenge

In 2020, Beam was an early stage startup, but had big ambitions to do a lot with data, even without a dedicated analytics team. Being data-focused was critical for helping their customers understand how efficiently aid was being distributed and the value of Beam’s product. 

Beam's responsibility involved collecting and analyzing application data from individuals and generating reports for their various partners, ranging from governments to universities to nonprofits. The urgency of delivering these reports was crucial, as it directly impacted the speed at which individuals in need could receive essential aid.

Given their limited resources, Sanket Karuri, the Chief Product Officer at Beam, found himself immersed in a time-consuming process. He had to write numerous queries and piece together reports using a combination of Tableau and homegrown solutions. However, this approach resulted in manual and error-prone processes due to the lack of flexibility in their data stack.

Sanket began looking for a tool that would enable a self-service culture and have the flexibility to serve their partners well and heard about Hashboard from a friend. The tipping point for adopting Hashboard was the ease of use that came with implementing a platform that both internal and external users could easily navigate. In practice, this meant that Beam’s internal ops team could investigate metrics around applications on the same platform that their customers could.

Early Benefits

Sanket's decision to implement Hashboard was also driven by the flexibility to explore data in code or through the GUI, options that serve both technical and non-technical team members well. This meant that individuals on teams such as partner success gained access to data that was previously unavailable to them. This access allowed them to identify new opportunities for their customers and improved their workflows by consolidating tools. 

Early on in their adoption of Hashboard, the democratized access to data allowed Beam’s operations and partner success teams to identify a critical data quality issue before it impacted any of their partners. A member of the partner success team was able to self-serve in Hashboard to independently explore data and flag the discrepancy. Hashboard fundamentally changed how the partner success team was empowered to find issues and improve their process without being blocked by other teams. 

Empowering Beam’s Customers with Hashboard

Emilio Tamez joined Beam in July of 2022 to lead the data science & analytics team. At Beam, Emilio is responsible for all things data including, from product analytics to BI and external reporting. He is also focused on establishing an inclusive and robust data culture.

For Emilio, building compliance-friendly, cloud-based reporting infrastructure for Beam’s partners and developing an impact-oriented product analytics program was essential. By incorporating community intelligence into Beam’s suite of offerings, he can further empower their users to ultimately serve the communities they’re advocating for better. 

“What I really like about Hashboard is the ability to make dashboards programmatic. Different customers have different needs, but you can turn any patterns you identify into scalable solutions with dataops.” 

-Emilio Tamez, Director of Data & Analytics 

Today, Emilio has led the effort to deploy and manage analytics for over 60 customers with a small team of analysts. Thanks to careful planning and time invested in engineering on top of Hashboard’s DataOps functionality, Beam’s data team of three accomplished an initial roll out to a customer with 50 dashboards in one afternoon. The version controlling and ability to script dashboards generation and deployment for partners has enabled the team to maintain, update, and improve dozens of reporting solutions for their customers, which is critical for Beam’s ability to provide high-quality, scalable, and government-compliant reporting to support programs that lift people out of poverty. 

Hashboard has also enabled Beam to become a more transparent organization and track their internal metrics more easily, many of which were highlighted in their 2022 Impact Report. This report plays a vital role in fostering trust with Beam’s customers and community advocates.

“Hashboard’s roadmap has always supported Beam by solving for big problems while nailing the details that their competitors miss. In the future, we anticipate partnering with Hashboard to deliver an even better experience for those employees and customers asking questions of their data, including mapping vulnerability indices by census tract to guide policy makers, reporting automation to power compliance, and an ever improving ability for our customers to implement their own views reliably.”

-Sanket Karuri, Chief Product Officer

What’s Next?

The data team has now expanded to four people, as data is a big part of the value that differentiates Beam. Being able to track trends and demographics in applications is key to their end users to enable them to quickly distribute aid.  

“Some of our major upcoming initiatives are focused on fair and responsible machine learning. Something I’m really excited about is how easy Hashboard, dataops, and the foundation we’ve built with their dashboards-as-code tools have made it to create and roll out top-notch model explainability dashboards.” 

-Emilio Tamez, Director of Data & Analytics