At the University of Massachusetts (UMass), the President’s Office is a large multi-disciplined organization that is responsible for operating many shared services across the university, including financial management and procurement.
Efficiencies, effectiveness, and fiscal responsibility are critical components in the Office’s mission to serve and improve quality everywhere for UMass’s 75,000 students and 18,000 employees.
The President’s Office turned to Salesforce and leveraged a range of tools, including Service Cloud, Heroku, Mulesoft, and Slack, to optimize business processes, manage cases, and facilitate better visibility and collaboration for its teams.
125,000total cases resolved since 2019
130,000Slack messages posted per month
The Need for Efficient Case Management Solution
The UMass System’s Salesforce journey started at UMass Lowell as a campus-wide effort to elevate the student experience by redesigning and streamlining processes and enhancing the level of service it provided.
As the university restructured and moved more shared services into the President’s Office, including procurement and treasury functions, the President’s Office was challenged to drive new operational efficiencies across UMass’s five campuses. Its progress, however, was hampered by out of date tools and technology that was not designed for case management. Its teams weren’t able to track and assign service cases efficiently and there were a lot of unproductive processes, alongside disparate web forms and spreadsheets, that made it difficult to get work done. The need for an effective case management solution and better collaboration tools became imperative.
Prompted by success in other areas of the university, the President’s Office realized that it could leverage Service Cloud and a range of Salesforce tools to make work easier and more efficient for its teams.
We exist to help the campuses work more efficiently and effectively and help the university achieve its mission, which is to provide quality and affordable education. I would say Salesforce plays a huge part in terms of us being able to get our job done.” Chris Matera, Senior Product Manager and Salesforce AdministratorUniversity of Massachusetts
Quantifying the Work
In 2019, the President’s Office converted to Service Cloud and began optimizing its internal processes and management practices, starting with University Information Technology Services and the Unified Procurement Services Team.
It quickly developed an efficient and practical system for case and service management and added Experience Cloud to its implementation to give employees self-service access and visibility to their open cases.
“Salesforce really helped to lay out our work right in front of us in a single system,” said Chris Matera, Senior Product Manager and Salesforce Administrator. “We can work not only more effectively, but also more transparently and are able to quantify that work for people.”
The Salesforce case management solution expanded to other departments including the Treasurer’s Office, the Office of the General Counsel, and Human Resources. The President’s Office also used custom objects to develop a system for change management and problem management, and began incorporating several additional tools and apps from the Appexchange to drive additional efficiencies and productivity.
Extending the Power of the Cloud
Tapping into Salesforce’s dynamic cloud capabilities, the President’s Office adopted Heroku to help its developers build applications, transfer data between multiple systems and modernize legacy access databases and spreadsheets.
”Heroku is the unifying tool among our disparate systems and it’s very powerful because we can spin up an app at the click of a button, which has really sped up our development process,” said Matera.
The President’s Office is using Mulesoft Composer to successfully connect and integrate information with external systems, such as JIRA or Slack.
To amplify its business intelligence, the President’s Office is using Tableau, which helps leverage data from multiple sources to produce rich reporting and analytics. Multiple departments now have unified access to pull data from different systems and databases to create convenient dashboards and compelling reports.
Accelerating Teamwork and Collaboration
Launched immediately before the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Slack is now the most widely used tool for collaboration and accessing information within the President’s Office. It is relied upon for everything from general social interactions to critical security announcements. And with Salesforce connectivity, it’s being used to create and update service cases, send alerts and directly connect people to services or information they need.
“The low barrier of entry makes Slack easy to use and keep everybody informed,” said Shawn Skelly, Director of Application Development and Digital Transformation. “It’s become part of the way we communicate changes and deployments of applications or for any other announcements we need to make sure people are aware of.”
Leveraging Heroku, the President’s Office is working with a team of student developers from UMass Dartmouth to build an automated SlackBot that will further improve access to information and allow Slack users to search web and knowledge articles directly within the app.
Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Visibility
With Salesforce, it’s now easier for the President’s Office to organize, and identify the work that needs to get done and its teams have advanced tools to track progress, report, and collaborate.
They’ve centralized disparate systems, removed spreadsheets, and automated processes to get cases assigned quickly within the right department and to the right personnel. The Office has also gained greater visibility into its cases and has superior reporting capabilities to produce quantifiable insights.
Since going live in 2019, the President’s Office has resolved nearly 125,000 total cases. The efficiencies and optimized processes have transformed how the President’s Office manages cases and operations and have positioned the team to be more accountable, transparent and highly effective in meeting its mission.
“There’s a lot less manual intervention to prioritize work,” said Matera. “Some departments have gone from zero to a hundred in their case management and now have the power to see and understand their work in a single place without having to manage spreadsheets.”
Integrating the Dots
Adding tools like Heroku, Mulesoft Composer, and Slack to their toolbox, the President’s Office has enhanced communications and made significant improvements in integrating its systems and launching new solutions when needed.
“All of these tools have really improved the efficiency with which incidents get resolved and how we work with cases,” said Skelly. “It’s also evolved our service management practices as well as helped refine our problem management and change management.”
With more than 290 users, more than half of the President’s Office employees are now active Slack users posting nearly 130,000 messages per month. The platform has changed the way and the speed at which the staff collaborate and access information. It resulted in greater collaboration and faster processes and has reduced work loads for the President’s Office’s small help desk service staff.
“Between Slack and Zoom it’s hard to think of more important tools for us in this new kind of remote work environment,” said Skelly. “It makes it incredibly easy to work with anyone, whether you need to collaborate on something, get a quick opinion via chat or even send an email from a case.”
Summarizing the experience, Matera offers: “We exist to make the campuses work more efficiently and effectively and help the university achieve its mission, which is to provide quality and affordable education. I would say Salesforce plays a huge part in terms of us being able to get our job done.”
About University of Massachusetts
The University of Massachusetts is a world-class public research university committed to advancing knowledge and transforming lives. UMass is renowned for the quality of its academic programs, the scope and impact of its research, and the strength of its public service mission.
The UMass President’s Office, helmed by UMass President Marty Meehan, provides leadership, financial management and oversight to the university and its campuses, spearheads joint academic and financial initiatives, and provides shared services in order to drive maximum efficiency and effectiveness on behalf of our 75,000 students.