Education Summit Homecoming: 4 Trends From This Year’s Event
The 11th annual Education Summit was an epic experience. There was no denying the energy and excitement that hit Dallas in April when the Salesforce education family came together in person for the first time since 2019. I met colleagues from across the world for two jam-packed days featuring more than 60 sessions.
A big topic of conversation was the reimagined Education Cloud, which Salesforce announced on March 15. Education is one of multiple industry verticals Salesforce serves, and the company is leaning into a new capability model that provides an institution-wide approach to common services. Lego has served as a common analogy for building on the Salesforce platform: You can buy a box of Legos and start from scratch, or you can buy a kit with instructions. The reimagined Education Cloud will be a hybrid with pre-built starter packs on which applications can be built for customization. The new data model is more complex, but more robust than the Education Data Architecture (EDA), which meets the evolving needs of institutions, including various structures and learning models.
The reimagined Education Cloud launched with a transformed applicant experience, expanded appointment scheduling, and care plans. The Summer ’23 release will focus on a new experience for driving student success. Hot off the press is the new Education Cloud Basics Trailhead, a free online learning module that digs into the details of Education Cloud.
Throughout the Summit, I noticed that a few themes consistently rose to the top:
1. Innovation is Mandatory
The impending enrollment cliff that starts in 2025 is well documented. However, as pointed out by Dr. Gregory Washington, president of George Mason University, recent, unanticipated enrollment declines will also impact future growth. College enrollment fell by 1 million during the pandemic, when previously the number of students graduating from colleges had been increasing. We have lost 4 million students in the last 10 years.
In higher education, it is no longer enough to be armed with tools to engage and connect with students. To succeed in enrolling and retaining students, particularly those who are vulnerable to not completing their degrees, colleges and universities must innovate – or be left behind.
Speaking of innovation, a huge congratulations goes to the winners of the fourth annual Summit Awards, which recognizes education Trailblazers who are driving impact across their institutions.
2. Embrace Analytics, Automation, and Artificial Intelligence
Paul Napleton, head of digital and marketing automation at the University of East Anglia, coined these items as “the 3 As.” The trio are powerful, transformational objectives that can help colleges and universities keep pace with constituents’ evolving needs. While it is easy for users to get excited about “The 3 As” at the start of a new initiative, their implementation requires patience and consistency to achieve effective change.
3. Collaboration is key
Unless you experience it yourself, it is almost impossible to comprehend the openness and willingness to share, collaborate, and learn that exists within higher education. With the reimagined Education Cloud, it will be important to reach across the Salesforce aisle not only within the education community but also to other industries such as healthcare and financial services to learn from their innovation on the platform.
Ways to network and get involved include joining the Trailblazer Community, staying in touch with the Salesforce Higher Education Advisory Council (HEAC), and participating in Salesforce Open Source Commons Community Sprints and community-led events.
4. Consider Governance
IT and data governance are always important considerations for CRM programs and implementations. However, in an industry with lean staffing models and leaner budgets, it can often fall by the wayside (along with organizational change management) or end up occurring more organically than strategically.
Tracey Hanneman, AVP of application and data services at American University, explained the new, more urgent need to lean into IT governance perfectly: “Since Salesforce will be providing starting points for each step in the student lifecycle, we need to change our mindset about how we approach design and implementation as well as rethink our strategies for IT governance and budgeting to support a more agile way of deploying solutions.”For an interesting perspective on rethinking the traditional approach to governance, see this post shared by my colleague.
Education Cloud offers endless opportunities. To help you maximize your investment, Huron is poised to help colleges and universities transition to Education Cloud. We have significant experience with implementing other Salesforce clouds and are a global, premier Salesforce partner with recognition as Salesforce’s 2022 Higher Education Partner of the Year. Our team of experts includes more than 50 consultants who come directly from higher education institutions and Salesforce. We are also a member of the Salesforce Education Design Partnership program. Learn more about our Salesforce expertise. Watch highlights from Education Summit 2023 now on Salesforce+.
Joanna Iturbe is a digital consulting director at Huron Consulting Group, focusing on Salesforce in higher education. Prior to joining Huron, Joanna worked as the enterprise CRM director for the University of Colorado’s (CU) four-campus system, in recruitment and admissions at Baylor University, and in marketing in the private sector. Her focus at CU was to drive sponsorship and partnership across diverse constituencies to facilitate mutually beneficial CRM strategies, priorities, resource allocation, standards, and solutions to significantly improve efficiencies and effectiveness throughout CU. Her CRM work with the Leeds School of Business earned an Eduventures Innovation Award for creative use of technology to drive student success. Joanna is also a member of the Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame and has served on the Salesforce Higher Education Advisory Council for eight years. She also received the inaugural Salesforce.org Community Champion award for her demonstration of thought-leadership, innovation in support of transparency and inclusive collaboration, and unparalleled dedication to community improvement.
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