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The Higher Ed Summit 2018 Reaches New Heights

By April 10, 2018

By: John Gorup, ‎Solutions Architect for Higher Education, Appirio

Six years ago, the Higher Ed Summit was a gathering of 70 people. This year around, 2,000 people trekked through snow and snarled DC traffic to share their stories and learn. Certainly, sheer numbers is one way to measure Salesforce’s growth in higher ed. But what has changed more than the number of people talking about Salesforce is how it is talked about. Salesforce is no longer thought of as just useful tool borrowed from private enterprise; it is a platform for the Connected Campus.

he 2018 Hgher Ed Summit hosted at Georgetown University was a success!

During the opening keynote, Senior Vice President Allyson Fryhoff outlined three themes emerging from the Connected Campus:

Vision for Transformation

The power of the Salesforce platform has opened up new possibilities for Higher Education. But harnessing this power requires new thinking. Or in the case of Georgetown University, the re-embracing of old thinking in the modern world. That is, the ancient Jesuit concept of Cura Personalis, which is Latin for “care for the whole person.” As Georgetown describes it, Cura Personalis is about “individualized attention to the needs of others, distinct respect for unique circumstances and concerns, and an appropriate appreciation for singular gifts and insights.”

The values behind Cura Personalis are what Georgetown uses to drive GU360, their effort to build a campus-wide CRM on Salesforce.


Most Higher Ed institutions are notoriously federated (rather than centralized). There are a lot of reasons for this structure, but when it comes to data and technology, this structure causes a lot of complexity. Admissions, individual schools, a myriad of departments, advancement, and alumni relations tend to implement their own technology. The net result of this is a frustrating experience for students (who eventually become frustrated alumni and donors), and overburdened staff.

At its heart, Salesforce for higher ed is a platform for engagement. Whether it’s recruiting prospective students, keeping current students on track, or engaging with alumni, Salesforce can do it. And for the organization, all this data can bring new insights to inform their mission. This is why Indiana University has chosen to go campus-wide with Salesforce (or rather campuses-wide — they have nine of them!)

Everyone is Empowered

In basic terms, Higher Ed institutions are made up of faculty and staff on one side, and constituents (students, alumni, community) on the other. Focusing on empowering these two groups leads to enhanced relationships and institutional growth. At Appirio we call this the “Virtuous Cycle.” It’s about getting faculty and staff engaged, productive, and agile. When faculty and staff are free from administrative burden, they make constituents more aware of what the institution has to offer and are more satisfied. In turn, these empowered constituents amplify the brand of the institution.

These three emerging trends represent the thinking that is powering Higher Education’s approach to technology strategy. It’s great thinking, followed by the Salesforce platform, which is changing the game in Higher Education.

Higher Ed Summit 2019 San Diego

The Higher Ed Summit is awesome

Of course, the Higher Ed Summit is about more than technology. It’s about a community of partners, institutions, and the team getting together to make every institution, the communities, and the individual connected to them better. On behalf of the whole team from Appirio, I’d like to thank everyone we met and worked to make this Summit the biggest ever. I hope to see you in San Diego in 2019!


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