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Aalto University

Salesforce enables one of Finland’s leading universities to deliver personalised support and services, transforming the student experience and boosting lifelong prospects.
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Aalto Nurtures Each Individual’s Potential and Success with Salesforce

Aalto University is Finland’s most dynamic academic and creative melting pot, fittingly named after one of the greatest modern architects and designers, Alvar Aalto, with a mission to ‘spark the game-changers of tomorrow.’

Aalto is a multidisciplinary community of bold thinkers, where science and art collide with technology and business. The campus near Helsinki gathers six schools, 12,000 students, and 400 staff in unique surroundings to create a stimulating environment to learn, innovate, and solve today’s global challenges.

Providing a Unique University Experience

With such a strong commitment to innovation, it’s no surprise that digital transformation has been a major focus for Aalto in recent years.

In fact, its origins can be traced back to 2010 when Aalto was created from a merger of Helsinki’s University of Technology, University of Art and Design, and School of Economics. Back then, the existing legacy systems and processes created confusing experiences for students and professors, explained Eija Zitting, Head of Learning Services. “We were doing lots of work just managing data between these different systems, leaving too little time for working directly with the students.”

  • 5,000
    students using Student Success Hub
  • 8,000
    applications handled in the first five months
  • 6 weeks
    to overhaul of the entire course catalogue

Creating the Ultimate University Experience With Connected Services

“The imperative for change became a strategic priority for senior leadership at Aalto, as many legacy systems, poor data collection, and lack of cohesion across the institution was impacting the experience we wanted to provide,” explained Head of IT Architecture, Patrik Maltusch. “We needed to do the difficult but important work of revamping our systems and redesigning our services for our faculty, stakeholders, and, most importantly, our students.”

The university’s long-term vision was bringing all Aalto teams together in a single, connected platform “My Aalto”, streamlining the everyday work of staff and service personnel, and supporting students – wherever they are on their journey with unified and data-driven services.

“For some higher education institutions, a digital transformation journey is an overwhelming challenge. At Aalto, we view it as an opportunity to transform operations across our campus,” shared Maltusch.

In addition to delivering the digital-first experience that today’s lifelong learners seek, Aalto was also keen to provide individuals with the support and the learning opportunities they need to succeed throughout their life.

To help deliver on this vision, Aalto University selected Salesforce and worked with Fluido to build the Aalto Service Platform. The teams collaborated on what became known as the Digital Aalto programme and together fully deployed the platform remotely.

We need to treat our students as our most precious customers, and we could not achieve that without Salesforce.” Ani-Jatta Immonen, Head of IT Solutions for Teaching and Learning
Aalto University

Working Towards an Integrated Student Experience

“With legacy systems from four engineering schools, a business school, and an arts & design school, the online experience was confusing for students and teachers alike,” says Zitting. “We were doing lots of work just managing data between these different systems, leaving too little time for working directly with the students.” That’s why Aalto’s Learning Services was the first department to deploy Salesforce to enhance students’ support from admission until graduation and beyond and provide students and faculty better visibility of applications, course enrolments, outstanding assignments and more. In 2020, the teams created a new application process on Salesforce for Bachelor’s and Master’s students and handled more than 8,000 applications, massively reducing the manual workload in the process.

Delivering Equitable Student Support with Student Success Hub

The institution also implemented Student Success Hub, specifically designed to help teams deliver holistic and equitable student support. Student Success Hub provides a single, secure home for all student-related information, activities, progress, achievements, and interactions with Aalto. Making it easier for Aalto teams to quickly get a 360-degree view of each student and provide proactive, consistent, and personalised support considering their specific circumstances and aspirations.

“Salesforce helps us reduce admin time and focus on high-value tasks like face-to-face or one-to-one virtual meetings with students and gives us with the agility we need to deliver student-centric experiences,” explained Maltusch.

Aalto teams can now review each student’s progress and suggest additional activities to further enhance their experience. Equally important, they can early identify if a student is struggling or disengaging with its studies and then intervene proactively to avoid drop-outs and help them to get back on track. “Student Success Hub is essential for our academics,” says Zitting. “All the information and tools they need are in one place, making student engagement much easier.

”Student Success Hub’s functionality enables flexible, automated appointment scheduling and efficient case management. There is a complete, easily accessible, and updatable history of each student, ensuring that support and interventions are appropriate, timely and continuous.

Lastly, Salesforce provides Aalto university leaders with rich data insights to improve collaboration across campus and drive efficiency gains through a single, easy-to-use system.

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A Relationship for Life

High-quality support and care also contribute to building a unique Aalto identity, culture, and community, in which students, faculty, and staff maintain a lifelong connection to the university.

Whether they participate in mentorship or partnership programmes or simply are Aalto ambassadors in society, “students are the best asset a university has to sustain growth and ensure our success in the decades to come,” shares Vaisto-Oinonen.

Learn more about Salesforce for Higher Education.

More about Aalto University

Created from the merger of three universities in Helsinki, Aalto University was established in 2010 as one of Europe’s most innovative universities, with 12,600 students, 4,650 staff, and 45,000 alumni in more than 80 countries. In 2022, it ranked 30th in the Times Higher Education’s listing of the world’s best universities under 50 years old.