Integrating multiple crm systems with salesforce for your university

CRM Strategy for Universities who want to integrate with salesforce with their existing CRM system.

If you are an university or a school who has a need to merge an existing line of business line like an online university who uses salesforce crm and integrate with their home grown crm system or legacy crms like Oracle crm or Siebel etc., this article would help to identify key considerations to think about before creating the strategic roadmap for crm integration.

  1. Business value on integration
  2. Identify business process which would need integration.
  3. Data synchronization and deduplication
  4. Integration strategy
  5. Salesforce considerations

Business value on integration

If you are using a legacy crm solution like Siebel or Oracle crm and now you have to integrate Salesforce crm, one of the key questions to ask is what value would the integration bring to my university? Here are some metrics which you can use.

  1. Increase in Cross sell courses to existing registered students

For an existing registered student who has taken courses in your brick and mortar university, if you see the same student registering online for a prospective course, an integration between the 2 systems would help to send the right message to the student, avoid duplicates, have the right faculty and recruiter involved and win the cross sell opportunity. So an integration between the 2 systems helps to increase cross sell opportunities.

  1. Increase in retention

For students struggling with courses on your campus, online universities which offers courses can be a value added tool to increase student success. So by integrating both crm systems, advisors can send the right course for the student and ensure student success.

Business process integration

The key to success of an integration between the online crm system and brick and mortar system is to identify the overlapping business processes and identify the impact of the process and ensure smoother integration between the 2 systems. Here are some areas to focus for business process integration.

  1. Course catalog has to be revisited for both the crm systems and a combined course catalog which can create relationships between registered courses at the university to the online should be established. This would help in identifying cross selling opportunities.
  2. For prospective courses which are offered both online and offline at the campus, a complete course catalog which can create add-on relationships between the prospective courses for online with the campus prospective course would help to track conversions.

 

 

Data strategy

Before considering the integration of salesforce crm with an existing crm, a data strategy on keeping the students, courses and courses taken synced up between the 2 systems is important. To enable this, the following factors need to be considered.

  1. A synchronization strategy of associating the salesforce records with the unique identifier from the legacy platform should be devised and an approach on mass updating salesforce records should be designed.
  2. Deciding which system should be the system of records is a must and usually the decision should be made on the system which has the most historical data, has tighter integration with student information system and other factors.
  3. A Data quality strategy should be designed on identifying duplicates student records between both crm systems and an approach for cleaning up duplicates and use cases for merging records should be established in the beginning of the project.
  4. User and security strategy should be considered on users who would both systems and a security crud profile should be created on data which cannot be accessed by users or profiles.

Integration strategy

The key to a successful implementation for merging salesforce with existing platform is to decide an integration approach to sync up both systems. The following factors would help to decide the best approach.

  1. Real time integration using message post back or web services integration should be considered for online forms requests from prospective students.
  2. For daily updates on registered students from student information systems, apex batch jobs which can process high volume of data can be used which would perform batch updates.
  3. A collaboration strategy on user engagement on student and course records should be designed which would consolidate all user posts, chatter on the student record and an integration between different collaboration platforms on one solution like salesforce would help to increase adoptions.

Salesforce Strategy.

Since the source system is salesforce, the following factors would impact the project from a time line and performance perspective.

  1. Any mass updates like updating or deleting existing salesforce student records to enable synchronization should factor governor limits and should be performed in batches.
  2. A user and profile mapping between the 2 systems should be done and a security profile mapping between what user and what role should be ideally mapped between both systems.
  3. An exception logging system should be established in salesforce which would log student records on duplicate data, bad synchronization or any mass updates.
  4. Production support teams should be educated on salesforce specific governance related to release management, backups and code control and use of cloud based tools should help on this regard.
  5. Release process should pave the way for rapid Meta data changes and a salesforce admin team should be established to perform quick updates to the users, train the users on new features and own the system.

Considering the above factors would help to get the integration of both systems quickly and avoid costly errors. Please feel free to email me at buyan@eigenx.com for any questions or feel free to comment on this blog below for any additional help.

 

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