250 Pioneers Met to Transform the Future of Education at Higher Ed Summit Horizons

By Salesforce.org | October 25, 2019 | Higher Ed Summit Horizons, Higher Education

After the Higher Ed Summit Horizons in Paris, we asked Benjamin Six, Head of Innovation and User Experience and Samuel Vinet, Director of Marketing & Recruitment at ESSEC Business School about their experience as Horizons 2019 co-host and what were their key take-aways. Here is what they shared.

First, tell us why was it important for ESSEC Business School to co-host Horizons 2019?

Samuel: When we learned Horizons 2019 would happen in France, as the first business school to have rolled out Salesforce in 2012, co-hosting was a perfect opportunity to acknowledge our long partnership together, share our journey with Salesforce and what the future holds for us. Indeed, 2019 is a turning point for ESSEC Business School as we are expanding our use of the platform to academics & student support. 

Benjamin: I would also say ESSEC Business School have a lot in common with Salesforce in terms of vision & values. We strive to respond to the challenges of the future by doing things differently, quickly and by pursuing excellence.  Like Salesforce, Innovation is one of our core values and cost-hosting was another way for ESSEC to create and disseminate of cutting-edge knowledge.

What did you like the most?

Samuel: I appreciated the diversity of the content presented, of the institutions and higher ed professionals presenting. I was impressed by the number of participants and seeing so many internationals! It is such a joy to be part of this growing community of change-agents across Europe. Not to mention, I learned a lot about Salesforce throughout the day, more specifically with regards to Salesforce artificial intelligence capabilities!

Benjamin: Horizons was very professionally run. Salesforce provided a great space for the community to come together, exchange on our respective projects and share best practices.  It was energizing to meet peers within the industry.No matter where you are at in your digital transformation, if you were a savvy Salesforce user or just considering Salesforce, Higher Ed Summit Horizons was the place to be to see all the use cases where Education Cloud can help. I found a lot of people going through similar challenges and didn’t leave empty-handed.

What do you hope the attendees walked away with?

Benjamin: I hope we have shown our peers that innovation is an iterative and on-going process and doesn’t happen in a day. During our presentation with Samuel, we explained how we made our way from basic customer relationship management to ai-empowered CRM and how we progressively expanded our use of the platform to different business units. Having a vision is crucial, but you also need to break it down into small pieces or steps.

ESSEC Business School Speaker at Higher Ed Summit Horizons

Samuel: To Benjamin’s point, I hope people saw it was possible to deploy Salesforce quickly and successfully within a reduced perimeter. Our first win was within the recruitment department where it only took us 2 months to roll-out the platform and where Salesforce helped us triple our lead conversion. This small success served our case internally. It wouldn’t have been possible without Salesforce to deliver on our vision as efficiently. Hopefully, we showed participants that Salesforce helped us streamline processes, boost team productivity, enhance the user experience and accelerate change at ESSEC Business School.

What should attendees do after Horizons?

Samuel: Horizons day flies so quickly so my recommendations would be to take a moment to watch back the sessions you attended, or the ones you missed and share them internally. Indeed soliciting your colleagues may help you see things differently and reach out to the trailblazers who inspired you. 

Benjamin: I agree with Samuel. Attendees should take time to share their learnings with their teams and colleagues, see how these learnings can be best integrated into their strategies and what horizons lay before them. 

Let’s close it off with one question on this year Horizons’ theme: what do you think “pioneering transformation” in higher education will mean in the next five years?

Benjamin: Universities have always been a platform to bring students, professors, and enterprises together. In the coming years, the major transformation will be the digitalisation of this platform, while enhancing the relationships between its different constituents using data, augmented intelligence. And doing so without losing what makes life on campus so rich and unique: which is the informal encounters, the non-academic & interpersonal relationships.

Samuel: Today student support & advising in higher ed is somehow still very artisanal and spontaneous. Thankfully, we now have opportunities to transform how we support students during their studies and beyond with technology, and multiply our impact. Data can really give you an edge to tailor degree pathways and provide highly personalised support throughout. Not only on the academic side but also career-wise! In the future, prospective students will be able to navigate very quickly the course offerings, understand trends in the workplace and best position themselves professionally.

To get a sneak peek at Horizons 2019, check out the Horizons Keynote recording. 

Watch Recording