Consistently recognized for its commitment to innovation, accessibility, and high quality education, Arizona State University (ASU) is home to one of the largest Salesforce implementations in higher education.
Salesforce technology has been instrumental in helping the university evolve as a cutting-edge public enterprise and achieve its mission to enable academic excellence and accessibility at scale.
ASU’s Salesforce journey began in 2012 as a knowledge base and case management solution to improve service and drive student success. It quickly progressed, transforming ASU’s recruitment and admissions and realigning marketing and communications efforts enterprise-wide.
Today, with a constituent base that numbers in the millions, ASU is a diverse and complex public enterprise with more than 120 functional business units and numerous connected communities and organizations. Salesforce has grown hand in hand and the implementation has evolved into a multi-org enterprise strategy with nearly 5,000 licensed Salesforce users.
It’s a trailblazing story that demonstrates how higher education institutions can use enterprise CRM tools to fully harness the power of their data and information systems, and drive learner and institutional success at every stage of the constituent lifecycle.
Challenged to drive innovation and find new ways to understand and meet the needs of its dynamic and ever-growing constituent base, ASU saw the critical need to embrace connectivity and scalable, data-driven technology.
10separate Salesforce instances
69%increase in enrollment (2013-2022)
86%retention rate of first-year students
Transition to Multi-Org Strategy
Today, ASU’s Salesforce implementation incorporates 10 separate Salesforce instances and multiple Marketing Clouds across the university’s numerous departments and colleges. Leveraging a master data management system, ASU now uses compatible data models to connect a complete 360-degree view of its constituents to its users anywhere in the enterprise.
“The multi-org strategy allows us to make sure that we’re always focused on our constituents, based on their life cycle position and their relationship with the university,” said Frank Montoya, Senior Product Owner at ASU.
With a multi-org strategy and an intent focus on the future, ASU has constantly expanded and connected its Salesforce journey. From recruitment and admissions to alumni engagement and a campus-wide Slack implementation, ASU continues to drive its learners towards excellence.
Implementing and supporting an enterprise Salesforce solution at ASU has facilitated data sharing, communication, and relevant engagement with our constituents and all of that translates into great customer service, valuable communication and effective, efficient processes.” Frank Montoya, Senior Product OwnerArizona State University
Transforming Online Collaboration and Conversations
ASU became the very first university to adopt Slack campus-wide for both internal and external communications, now hosting over 140,000 accounts and sending nearly 800,000 messages on a weekly basis.
Faculty, staff and students use Slack for a wide range of purposes, including in-class communication, networking for incoming students, connecting to university resources and corporate relationship management.
“Easy login access, a mobile app and customizable channels for conversations have made Slack a very appealing communication channel,” said Casey Thomas, Associate Director, Academic Enterprise Enrollment Solutions.
Next-Generation Advancement and Donor Management
The resource-raising arm of the university, ASU Enterprise Partners, uses Salesforce and its own Marketing Cloud instance to engage donors, organize fundraising campaigns and deliver highly targeted communications.
ASU Enterprise Partners also uses Commerce Cloud to connect marketing information with payment pages to process online transactions and further elevate the giving experience.
Supporting Leadership with a Center of Excellence
A testament to its innovative approach to technology, ASU created an internal Salesforce Center of Excellence. This community is designed to bolster expertise and knowledge-sharing among product owners and key stakeholders, and has been instrumental in helping participants continue innovating and embracing new technologies.
“Bringing all the ASU CRM product owners and key stakeholders together to engage and share has been very beneficial,” said Edward Garcia, Director Law Information Technology at ASU. “It has created opportunities to build great relationships, share innovative solutions and apps and help inform the community on upcoming platform enhancements, requirements, and changes.”
Mission Aligned Results
Throughout ASU’s impressive evolution, Salesforce has been the foundational technology that has helped the university elevate student and institutional success and innovation.
Although just one of many contributing growth factors, Salesforce technology has been pivotal in reimagining the constituent experience, increasing constituent visibility, and reimagining how a large public enterprise can provide superior, personalized service to all of its constituents.
“Implementing and supporting an enterprise Salesforce solution at ASU has facilitated data sharing, communication, and relevant engagement with our constituents,” said Montoya. “And all of that translates into great customer service, valuable communication, and effective, efficient processes.”
As ASU’s Salesforce journey evolved, enrollment has grown from 80,000 students in 2013 to over 135,000 today — from over 150 countries, with more than 80,000 online learners. ASU’s first-year student retention rate reached 86.2%, a full 11 percentage points higher than it was 15 years ago.
More About ASU
Topping the U.S. News & World Report’s list of “most innovative schools” for consecutive years, ASU exemplifies a new prototype for the American public research university. With four campuses in the Phoenix area, an online learning program, and an expanding global presence, the number of ASU’s constituents has been growing at an exponential rate. ASU, however, remains committed to its charter — measuring itself by those it includes rather than excludes; and how they succeed — and continues to devote its energy towards the design of a uniquely adaptive and transdisciplinary university committed to producing master learners.