“Salesforce helps us be very intelligent in the way we deliver a breadth and depth of learning experiences that connect students with changing economies and global opportunities.” - Paul Oppenheimer, CIO, RMIT
Salesforce Transforms RMIT Into a Future-Ready University
Defining the Next Chapter
RMIT’s original motto, upon its founding in 1887, was “A skilled hand, a cultivated mind.” This same spirit continues in the 21st century, as RMIT’s driving focus for its next chapter is “Ready for Life and Work.”
To ensure it could best make this strategic vision a reality, the university needed to undergo a digital transformation. Paul Oppenheimer, CIO at RMIT, explained: “We took a step back and asked ourselves: what are the fundamental capabilities and technological building blocks that are required by a university of the future?”
One of the big pieces the school needed was better relationship management tools for RMIT’s various customer groups – including not just students, but also researchers, industry and global partners, and staff.
“We were relying on too many applications and too many channels for relationship management, which made it difficult to get a single view of the customer,” said Oppenheimer. “We wanted a platform we could leverage across the entire organization – helping transform ourselves to better support our students, staff, and partners to succeed in a fast-changing world.”
From Pilot Program, to Campus-Wide Deployment
RMIT recognized Salesforce as a potential solution for its needs and introduced it into the organization on a pilot basis, running several individual programs for about a year. At the end of the pilots, excellent feedback from users prompted RMIT to confidently move forward with Salesforce across the whole of the university.
The Salesforce.org Education Data Architecture (EDA) provides the foundation for RMIT’s Salesforce deployment, which includes Education Cloud solutions like Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Experience Cloud.
“We liked the fact that EDA is already tailored to and caters to the needs of the University and the different cohorts within it,” said Oppenheimer.
“The ease of use of the various products further strengthened the case for Salesforce: you can put Salesforce in front of somebody who has never used it before, and they can pick it up and understand how to use it and navigate within it. It’s really quite intuitive.”
Ongoing Transformation and Innovative Uses
Since implementing Salesforce, RMIT has focused on targeting several specific use cases across the university that impact a variety of constituents. Within the recruiting and admissions department, for example, Salesforce is helping to strengthen relationship management while significantly streamlining marketing operations.
“Our school literally has ‘IT’ in its name – so we want our systems to reflect our commitment to using state-of-the-art digital technology at every touchpoint,” said Oppenheimer.
As an example, the University would previously have to collect – and then manage – information about prospects via multiple tools, which was a very clunky, time-consuming process.
“With Salesforce, that type of data gathering has been eliminated – which means our staff can spend more time having quality interactions with prospects rather than doing data entry,” he said.
“Having a single view of our audiences has allowed us to significantly improve outcomes,” added RMIT CMO Chaminda Ranasinghe. “For example, we have tripled our prospective student lead qualification rate since launching the platform.”
“The new capabilities have also significantly improved our staff satisfaction and efficiency while reducing error rates,” Ranasinghe continued. “It also allowed us to insource many services that have been performed by external organisations in the past.”
Additionally, Experience Cloud is helping RMIT to build out a portal for its researchers, which these scholars can use to discuss research ideas and solicit feedback or direction on a research initiative.
“Salesforce has helped us to really build community amongst this group in a way that we couldn’t before,” said Oppenheimer.
“The uptake and adoption for the research portal has been fantastic. We have a high number of daily interactions on our research portal. It’s just one more way we’re transforming the way we work together and learn together within the university.”
Continuing to break innovative ground, RMIT is using Salesforce to power an education marketplace, where learners of all types can purchase a variety of education options. Beyond the traditional undergraduate and postgraduate degree, the offerings include micro credentials, short courses, and other ‘bite size’ pieces of education.
“There’s a demand for more types of learning, as people of all ages make sure they have the skills and capabilities needed for the jobs and industries of the future,” said Oppenheimer.
“By using Salesforce for our Digital Marketplace, students have a single consolidated view of the courses they’ve taken, as well as the ability to provide recommendations for other courses or credentials they might want to take to better prepare them for a particular field or industry.
“Salesforce helps us be very intelligent in the way we deliver a breadth and depth of learning experiences that connect students with changing economies and global opportunities,” said Oppenheimer.
Added Ranasinghe, “The RMIT Digital Marketplace continues to drive the growth of our digital credentials program, which now has over 100,000 enrollments.”
From the way it engages students, to the way it offers an education, RMIT is using Salesforce to further an ongoing digital transformation that helps it better execute on its “Ready for Life and Work” strategy and prepare students for a changing world.
“We have a variety of constituents – from students, to staff, to researchers – who are on a journey with us,” said Oppenheimer.
“Digital platforms like Salesforce allow us to enhance the interactions that these groups have with the university every step of the way. Having Salesforce sets us up for success as we set them up for success.”
- Wanted to reinvent the university around a strategic vision of “Ready for Life and Work”
- Sought better relationship management for a variety of constituents, including students, staff, and researchers
- Too many point solutions resulted in information silos and no way to gain a complete view of individuals
- Needed the right technological foundation to execute digital transformation
- Salesforce Education Cloud drives transformation across campus, enabling a fresh and innovative approach to operational functions and educational offerings
- Break down information silos to gain 360-degree view of constituents and create personalized experiences at every touchpoint
- Streamline marketing and recruiting function, tripling prospective student lead qualification rate
- Achieve significant uptake for research portal that connects university researchers and builds community amongst them
- Create innovative Education Marketplace where learners can be better served with offerings that prepare them for the workplace of the future
- Insource many services previously performed by external organisations, improving audience experience.
- Education Data Architecture (EDA)
- Sales Cloud
- Marketing Cloud
- Experience Cloud
RMIT is a multi-sector university with more than 91,000 students and 11,000 staff globally. With three campuses and two sites in Australia, two campuses in Vietnam, and a research and industry collaboration centre in Barcelona, Spain, it is truly global. The University also offers programs through partners in Singapore, China, and Indonesia, and has research and industry partnerships on every continent.