Creating Road maps for salesforce projects for universities new to salesforce

If you are an university using salesforce for the first time or already have an instance, one of the exercises IT managers and business executives struggle with is to create a road map for their salesforce journey. The key questions a road map should address is how would salesforce fit into my enterprise, what would happen if we move salesforce from admissions, marketing, advancement , enrollment and financial aid operations, Governance factors, Resource strategy and Integration with existing student information system and prospect databases. My blog would help you to uncover key areas which your road map should cover, how do we validate the road map through out our salesforce journey and manage risks on the project as a whole.

1. Business Value drivers

Every salesforce implementation starts with a business value metric or benefit which the university plans to accomplish using salesforce. If you have not defined the metrics, here are some metrics which you can use to judge the success of the project.

a. Increase in number of enrollments

b. Increase in student retention.

c. ROI measurement on campaigns.

2. Salesforce enterprise roadmap

Once the business value is identified, the next step is to create an enterprise roadmap on salesforce and how they would fit in your current application stack. To do this, the best way is to create a current and future state vision of the applications and identify all legacy applications like your student information systems, bi databases, and other applications which you have now. Salesforce would generally be the system of engagement and your current student information system will be the system of records. Here is a simple guideline to do it.

1. Identify all applications which you support now.

b. List salesforce as a system of engagement and identify integration points .

c. Identify legacy applications which might need to be retired or replaced.

d. List the likely salesforce solutions which you would use like communities, marketing cloud, or Radian6.

3. Integration roadmap

Once the enterprise road map is identified, the next detail step is to identify integration points between salesforce and your student information systems like banner, janzibar or other systems. You should also list the entities like students, courses, applications and other entities which need to be synchronized between both systems and identify integration strategies for syncing data like real time, batch mode or and on demand mode. ETL tools like informatica, jitterbit or any tool can also be part of your solution set. The integration road map should be the basis of a detailed design spec which would be used by the development team to identify detailed objects and table mappings etc.

4. Risks and Governance

One of the challenges on using salesforce within your enterprise is that the tradition IT model of deployments used in legacy applications don’t work . The reason is that traditionally all legacy applications are managed by IT team and they handle all configurations and customization and do releases at regular intervals. With salesforce , point and click configurations need to be handled by a salesforce administrator and custom code should be done by the IT development team. So a separate strategy is required to handle short releases on configuration, regular releases on custom code and continous integration used for releases.

There are several risks which need to be factored within a salesforce implementation. Usually the risks fall under technical risk, compliance, security, financial risks and project risk which can be in the form of resources , schedule and cost over runs. Compliance risk in the form of handling sensitive data, security on exposing student data and cost over runs on salesforce apps need to be factored under risk and mitigated accordingly.

Please click  like if you like this article and feel free to post your comments . For further questions or for a copy of the checklist, you can always email me at

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Author: buyan47

Hi there! My name is Buyan Thyagarajan. I am a Salesforce consultant specializing in Higher Education, Manufacturing and Marketing Automation. My blogs will help you to maximize your Salesforce CRM investments, prevent problems beforehand and make the right decisions. If you need to talk to me right away, you can email me at or call me at 302-438-4097

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