Northeastern University boosts campus collaboration and student success with Salesforce


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Nick Zinser, Director of Enrollment Systems at Northeastern University, shares insights on how they are using Salesforce to achieve a culture of success.

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Northeastern University boosts campus collaboration and student success with Salesforce

  1. 1. Student Success: Creating a System ofEngagement using Salesforce! Nicholas Zinser, Director of Enrollment Systems! Northeastern University! @nzinser! 1  
  2. 2. Agenda!•  Northeastern & Salesforce!•  Measuring student success!•  Faculty & Advisors – Collaboration drives persistence!•  Creating the System of Engagement!•  Outcomes & Demo!•  Future Plans & Wrap-up! 2  
  3. 3. Northeastern University – An Overview!•  Founded in 1898, Northeastern is the sixth-largest private university in the United States –  Received the largest number of undergraduate applications in 2011.•  Our core tenets include –  Experiential Learning –  Interdisciplinary/Translational Research –  Urban Engagement•  Located in the heart of Boston where Back Bay, The Fenway, The South End, and Roxbury meet•  Scene from last Saturday morning – 3  
  4. 4. Northeastern & Salesforce!•  Implemented Salesforce in 2006 for Advancement/Alumni –  Within 18 months, student-focused projects were being proposed and implemented•  Currently, there are nearly 600 CRM Users across all University divisions•  Person Account implementation, 60% of our custom field limit currently used•  Integrations are a core tenet of our Salesforce success –  Banner ERP –  Exchange –  Blackboard –  SQL Server databases•  Turned the enrollment funnel upside down –  Started with alumni –  Moved to current students –  Now beginning to focus on applicants and inquiries/leads 4  
  5. 5. Student Success!•  Retention is what we think of when discussing student success in terms of persistence to graduation! –  We want our retention to look like this:! First-­‐Year  Reten-on   120.00%   100.00%   80.00%   60.00%   First-­‐Year   Reten8on   40.00%   20.00%   0.00%   2008   2009   2010   2011   –  It probably looks more like this:! First-­‐Year  Reten-on   96.0%   95.0%   94.0%   First-­‐Year   93.0%   Reten8on   92.0%   91.0%   2008   2009   2010   2011   5  
  6. 6. Salesforce & Student Focused Projects!•  Northeastern lacked the capacity to effectively identify and intervene with students who showed signs of poor academic performance, attendance, or other issues in a timely, consistent manner across campus! –  Every percentage point increase in the rate of graduation is worth $1 million to the University! –  A solution was needed to help identify and intervene with students who matriculate and then find themselves unable to adjust to the academic rigors of higher education! 6  
  7. 7. Salesforce & Student Focused Projects!•  The College of Engineering (COE) developed a system in 2001 to provide a safety net for freshman engineering students! –  Technical and security issues made scaling this to a university-wide solution impractical if not impossible!•  A basic pilot application was put in place for Fall 2005 across all colleges for select freshmen-level courses! –  Faculty were asked to use both the university-wide (feature poor) and engineering applications (feature rich) for students!•  The university chose to deploy a new, expanded application for the Fall 2007 term to cover all undergraduate students! –  Received a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation! –  Salesforce was chosen as the application platform! 7  
  8. 8. Salesforce & Student Focused Projects!•  Salesforce provided the platform to meet many of the critical success factors as defined by a user task force made up of faculty, advisors, and administrators! –  Web-based, user-friendly tool that is highly customizable! –  Easily integrated to provide visibility to near real-time data updates! –  Ability to track and view student interactions ! –  Allow for the ability to increase communication between faculty and advisors! –  Automatic email based on database triggers, customizable by college! –  Easy-to-use, real-time reporting! 8  
  9. 9. Strategies To Improve Student Success!•  The goal is to have the students persist to graduation! –  Continue the affinity for your institution!•  Campus collaboration becomes key to this success! –  Faculty have a role based upon classroom observation! –  Staff have a role from advising and service perspectives! –  Data stewards can help provide data to support these efforts!•  Salesforce has been the key element for us in this success over the last 4+ years! 9  
  10. 10. Advisors & Salesforce!•  A series of applications have been deployed in Salesforce to empower Advisors with a common set of data and functionality! –  Faculty Advisor Communication Tool (FACT)! –  Advisor Notes! –  Appointment Calendar!•  While originally targeted just to academic advisors, some tools are applicable to other types of advisors! –  Career Services Advisors! –  Co-op Advisors! –  Disability Resource Center Specialists!•  Salesforce provides the foundation for these apps to change the way we do business! 10  
  11. 11. Faculty Advisor Communication Tool (FACT)!•  Northeastern launched FACT to a small sample of first-year courses to evaluate its impact on early intervention from academic advisors! –  UI was a separate app from our existing LMS! –  Creates a case for Advisors to act upon! –  Standard Salesforce CRM functionality (Notes, Attachments, Tasks) are used to support this endeavour!•  Rebuilt FACT UI in Blackboard in Summer 2012! –  Easier to use for all faculty! •  Meets the faculty where they are – in the LMS! –  Became a textbook use of the Service Cloud!•  FACT case submissions have increased! –  Retention has increased during this time period! 11  
  12. 12. Advisor Notes!•  Rather than use Cases as the sole method of tracking interactions with students, the Advisor Notes project created a separate list for creating entries!•  Allows for some categorization and some free text entry to makes notes on a student appointment! 12  
  13. 13. Appointment Calendar!•  Helps link the student to their advisor! –  Web app behind our myNEU student portal! –  Advisor creates blocks of time in Outlook for student appointments! –  Creates a profile in Salesforce and calendar entries sync! 13  
  14. 14. Creating the System of Engagement!•  These 3 services helped change our use of Salesforce to create what is known as the “System of Engagement”!•  A different term than a normal ERP description! –  “System of Record”!•  Tracks interactions and alerts! –  Provides a different type of metric! –  Brings structure to unstructured data!•  Fosters two-way communication between parties! –  Faculty to Advisor! –  Advisor to Student! –  Advisor to Advisor! 14  
  15. 15. Salesforce – The Usable ERP!•  Another key element to student success can be found in Salesforce itself!•  As advisors and other administrators began to use Salesforce, the integrations built to support specific applications took on greater importance! –  FACT! –  Travel Registry / Crisis Management Team! –  Parent Office! –  Appointment Calendar! –  Graduate Advising!•  Northeastern went live with Banner Student in Fall 2009!•  Salesforce became the de facto ERP due to the large amount of integrated data! –  Transactional information still occurring in Banner!•  Speed and access to data drive better student interactions ! 15  
  16. 16. The System of Engagement!•  Salesforce allows us to build this type of system by leveraging differing case types! –  FACT Case! –  We Care Case! –  DRC Case!•  Data integration can be done once, then assigned appropriately through Profiles! –  Student data from our ERP! –  Other web form systems (SQL Databases, etc.)!•  Remains minimally transactional at this time! –  Mostly a one-way integration from the source system to Salesforce! 16  
  17. 17. Social Media Monitoring!•  Engagement can also be tracked across Social Media using tools such as Salesforce Radian6!•  Provides a new outlet to engage your students! –  Meets the students where they are! •  Remember when we said that about e-mail?!•  If a solution to a problem increases student satisfaction, can it lead to student success?!•  Engagement can be a fine line to walk! –  Once you start, you must continue! –  No need to comment on every post! •  Don’t feed the trolls! –  Though you may have the tools, avoid being Big Brother! 17  
  18. 18. Data Stewardship!•  Data Stewardship Council created as part of Northeastern’s ERP implementation! –  Representatives from all key data systems across the University!•  Facilitated by our Data Administration team! –  Focuses on documenting data uses across systems! –  In-depth discussions on different system uses of data! –  Provides standard terminology for systems to use!•  Shift in traditional “data owner” model! –  Sometimes ownership is dictated by regulation! –  Sometimes it is dictated by institutional history!•  Stewardship puts the onus on the system owner to provide meaningful contextualized data to others for use!•  Northeastern is 18 months into our new Data Governance model! –  Progress has been made! –  Still have many more areas to explore! 18  
  19. 19. Traditional Student Outcomes – The Data!•  Student retention has remained on an upward trajectory!•  Since 2008, first-year student retention has improved over 4%! –  Helping students to persist became everyone’s focus!•  In the same time period, the 5-year graduation rate increased as well! –  Given the work we do with Co-op and entrepreneurship, this represents hard work in driving affinity for Northeastern, not just a degree!•  Remember that many of our students follow a five-year undergraduate path as part of a normal course of study involving Co-op and global experiential education! –  Our students traveled to over 70 countries in the last academic year for a co- op experience, lasting six months! 19  
  20. 20. Demo! 20  
  21. 21. Future Plans!•  Continue to expand the use of Salesforce! –  Focus on service delivery points throughout the University! •  Salesforce on every desktop at Northeastern!•  Integrate social media monitoring from Salesforce Radian6 into existing case-management framework! –  Improve response times! –  Show responses alongside other case/note functionality we’ve built!•  Migrate graduate level inquiries and applications into Salesforce! –  Complete the student lifecycle view!•  Service Cloud Console activation for existing contact center! –  ACD integration! –  Screen pop of caller’s information! –  Record student interactions with Student Accounts, Financial Aid, Parking, etc.! 21  
  22. 22. Owning The Challenge!•  Fostering a culture of ownership can be a daunting task! –  Forces us to collaborate with the “others” outside of our own department, division, etc.!•  Students don’t want to run all over campus for a solution! –  Provide the right data! •  To the right people! –  At the right time!•  Create the expectation of ownership at all service delivery points! 22  
  23. 23. Closing Thoughts!•  Creating a System of Engagement brings a standard voice and set of procedures to your users!•  Student success can be measured in many ways beyond Year 1 to Year 2 retention! –  How are you making students successful prior to enrollment, during enrollment, and after graduation?!•  Collaboration across silos helps foster a culture of success! –  There are no data owners, only stewards!•  To our students, we are all “The University”! –  Departments, reporting lines, and responsibilities are constructs we use, not the students! –  Create a culture of ownership coupled with the data necessary to assist in order to solve problems quickly! 23  
  24. 24. Contact Information!•  Nick Zinser!•  Phone - 1-617-373-5830!•  E-mail -!•  Twitter - @nzinser!•  Join the conversation in the Higher Ed Chatter Community!! –  If you’re not already a member, consider signing up! –  See for more information! 24