Key Takeaways from Higher Ed Summit 2019

May 1, 2019 Rashi Bajaj

Higher Ed Summit, the can’t-miss event for Higher Ed Trailblazers, brings together educators, innovators, and community leaders to showcase how technology is making the lives of students, faculty, and administrators easier and better.  

Salesforce has done more than create just another ed tech conference, they’ve created a sense of community that goes beyond implementing software at a university. At this year’s summit, the inspiring keynotes, supercharged sessions, and record attendance contributed to the feeling of being part of something special. 

And what better way to kick off this influential tech summit than with the $300 million purchase of In case you missed it, here’s why we think Salesforce is integrating .org into the fold now. 

Higher Ed Summit 2019 them Make Change. Make Changemakers.

Over the course of 3½ days, we had numerous opportunities to attend breakouts, workshops, roundtables, and theater sessions. One common theme we noticed throughout the Summit is the relationship between Salesforce and great constituent experiences. Salesforce is the engine driving the new vision for education and is helping to make it more transparent, accessible, and engaging through its innovative and flexible platform. 

Our Big Ideas from Higher Ed Summit 2019: 

  • One of the biggest trends our team noticed is the heightened interest in blueprinting and strategy. Strategy is often overlooked when budgets are tight, so this increased emphasis is a sign of greater organizational commitment to the Salesforce platform. 
  • Though institutions aren’t sure how to take advantage of Higher Education Data Architecture ([H]EDA), they do see the value in it. EDA is “an open source, community-driven data architecture built to configure Salesforce out of the box for the full K-20 student lifecycle.”
  • The number of primary, secondary, and other educational organizations leveraging Salesforce is on the rise. In response, Salesforce is revising their education framework to accommodate more institutions.
  • The need for bite-size improvements; not everyone can do a large transformational project.  
  • Career services and employment relations have become top priorities. 
  • CMOs are bringing new insights to Higher Ed from their former industries. One of the discussion points was how marketers can get their needs/requirements in front of central IT and get their ideas incorporated into broader IT deployment projects. 
  • There’s a lot of enthusiasm for Student Experience Bolt, which helps organizations start building their student community. It’s a great industry accelerator for student success.
  • AppirioDX and DevOps generated a lot of interest. 
  • The importance of compliance within a university and how large a role it plays in the student onboarding process. 

While the Appirio team had plenty of chances to learn and grow at #HESummit19, here’s a quick rundown of our sessions and how we contributed to the conversation on where higher ed tech is heading: 

  • Breakout Session - Student 360: Using A Salesforce Community to Make Student Life Easier. Led by Appirio’s John Gorup and Anna Jaeger from the University of San Francisco, this session focused on how USF tackled higher education management and student engagement and success. 
  • Theater Session - Building a Digital Strategy for Higher Education. Veteran Higher Education strategist Tere Traub walked us through the steps of crafting the experience you want by starting with a game-changing strategy rather than jumping straight into development and configuration.
  • Workshops 
    • Create your first voice-enabled Salesforce App! - Roarke Lynch demoed how students and faculty can talk to Salesforce and hear the app respond to their voices. 
    • Effective Release & Sandbox Architecture Planning: Environmental Management - Emily Rust and Greg Etling explained how to implement a sandbox architecture that best addresses your organization’s specific requirements. 
    • Higher Ed Email Marketing Made Easier with Automation – Jack Cupples’ interactive discussion explored how campaigns can have a significant business impact if their goals were aligned with student success. 
  • Booth – The Appirio booth was stationed right at the entrance of The Quad. Our team had a great time interacting with attendees who wanted to learn more about the Salesforce ecosystem, and the work Appirio does in Higher Ed.   
  • Executive Lounge – This spot kept us super busy! We had so many engaging conversations in a space filled with high-end swag and ultra-comfy couches! Customers and prospects joined us for breakfast and lunch and found a quiet retreat from the hectic expo floor.  

Appirio Lounge at the Higher Ed Summit 2019 in San Diego

Beyond the Summit, the Appirio team had an amazing time hosting prospects and customers at Happy Hour events at Rustic Root and Sidebar in San Diego.  

Appirio and Salesforce Happy Hour after the Higher Ed Summit 2019 in San Diego

Appirians standing in front of the Central Region Party sign sponsored by Appirio

That’s all for the Higher Ed Summit this year. We’d love to hear about your experience, tweet us @appirio or send us a message on Facebook.

If you have questions and want to know more about any of the topics we presented at the Summit, get in touch with us at 

Until next year! In the meantime, follow the Appirio Higher Ed Blog for the latest news, trends, and stories. 

 Appirio Thank You Card for Attendees at the Higher Ed Summit 2019 in San Diego

About the Author

Rashi Bajaj

Rashi Bajaj is a seasoned marketer with experience in demand generation, digital marketing, sales enablement and operations, and channel marketing. She's passionate about impacting revenue through influenced sales pipelines and translating operational efforts into actionable insights.

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