Helping Higher Ed Move to a Platform State-of-Mind with Salesforce

March 22, 2019 John Gorup

This year, Salesforce.org is hosting its seventh Higher Ed Summit in San Diego. The growth of the summit shows how Salesforce continues to grow rapidly in -- and remains invested in -- the higher education space.  

Salesforce, of course, started as a CRM cloud tool aimed at making the sales process easier for corporations. Because of this lineage, it might seem odd that Salesforce is gaining traction in higher ed, but there are good reasons for this: 

  • Salesforce.org has done great work in translating Salesforce technology into solutions for nonprofits and educational institutions. 
  • The constellation of consulting partners, both large and small (of which Appirio is proud to be a part) provides guidance. 
  • The Salesforce community, which is virtually connected on the Power of Us hub. There are also in-person meetings for community sprints and a variety of other gatherings. 
  • The technology itself. Salesforce has been proven to be a solid platform for great applications.

Despite everything that Salesforce has going for it, where to get started isn’t always obvious. Working with a platform rather than an application is a new approach for many Higher Ed institutions. Traditionally, Higher Ed would recognize a need for functionality and put out an RFP to choose an application that best fits that functionality. Very often the application with the best demo won. After a time, though, the accumulation of these applications resulted in islands of disconnected data.

No matter how great Salesforce is as a platform, it requires a change of mindset to get the most success out of it. Applications can become stale the moment they roll out whereas a platform allows for continuous improvement and faster innovation. 

To take advantage of continuous improvement, you will need to plan for the future and build a team and infrastructure to make it happen. At Appirio, we’ve evolved our service to help Higher Ed customers get the most out of Salesforce. If you’re at a Higher Education institution and looking where to start or what your next move should be, consider one of our four Launchpad offerings.

Build your blueprint

Coordinating your team to build a roadmap and architecture approach can lower risks, help with budgeting, and ensure your data architecture is built for sustainability. Appirio has a team of consultants and a methodology to help Higher Education groups understand the vision of what they want to accomplish, and build a plan for giving constituents the experiences they expect.

Launch a student community

Students expect a consumer-grade experience with the technology they use. By implementing Appirio’s award-winning Student Community Lightning Bolt, you can quickly deliver a great student experience. This community template comes pre-built with a modern look-and-feel and the necessary accessibility for the whole student body. 

The HEDA+Pardot Launchpad

We get a lot of questions about HEDA: “Should we start with HEDA, or not?” My glib answer is, “Yes, start with HEDA.” 

There are many reasons for this.  At a basic level, how HEDA handles Accounts and Contacts just makes sense for higher ed institutions. Having the ability to give a Contact multiple affiliations to Accounts is very useful to get the full, 360-degree view of a prospect, student, or alum. Setting up the Higher Ed Data Architecture (HEDA) with Pardot can give you a quick way to reach out to constituents and take advantage of what HEDA has to offer. 

The Corporate Relations Launchpad

Setting up a solid corporate relations program is essential for many research universities; doing it can be challenging, though, even with limited funding from government resources. Salesforce is the perfect platform to get started. With a quick set-up, corporate relations groups can start tracking interactions to determine whether they’re meeting their goals.

Let’s talk at the Higher Ed Summit

Appirio is excited and proud to be the Emerald sponsor for the Higher Ed Summit, which is taking place at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. We look forward to sharing some amazing customer success stories and exciting ways we help higher ed institutions shift from an application mindset to a platform mindset. We’ll be set up in the entrance to the Quad, at the Hilton Bayfront hotel. Stop by and see us!

About the Author

John Gorup

John Gorup is the Global Director for Higher Education at Appirio. He has been in the Salesforce ecosystem as a consultant, marketer, and solution architect for over 10 years. John has a degree in communication from Ohio University (Athens, Ohio) and has an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of business. When not working John enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, drinking coffee and playing tennis poorly.

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