Why uniting your university’s data is the key to student success
Today, universities are blazing trails to unite student data across teams to create a truly Connected Campus. The result? They can drive student success like never before…
Imagine being able to track the development of an individual student across the entire student life-cycle – from their general performance and well-being, to their participation in courses and activities, and across the different programmes your university offers.
Imagine being able to spot if that student needs help, and to empower your staff with actionable information to support that individual, before it’s too late. What if you were able to always meet student expectations in the areas of equal access and employability, while delivering smart, personalised academic experiences throughout their time spent at university, and afterwards, as an alum.
Today, all of this is possible. If you have the right foundation in place and have access to a 360-degree view of every student – something that more and more universities are achieving.
Yet, for many universities, removing data silos and bringing together all the data you need to get this comprehensive view – and proactively drive student success – can seem daunting.
The need to create a Connected Campus
In every modern higher education institution, student data is collected across a variety of departments and functions – from admissions and student services systems, to faculty and alumni records.
In the majority of universities, however, the processes by which this data is captured (and the systems it’s stored in) still aren’t connected.
This creates disparate silos of information, duplicated data, and duplicated effort (and costs) across different parts of the university.
Worse, it prevents universities from making data-informed decisions. Whether you’re striving to accommodate diverse student backgrounds and demands, or simply trying to improve your programmes, operations and resource allocation, you need to know what’s working, when and why – and that means you need a 360-degree view.
Finally, there’s a direct consequence on individual student success. Such data silos ultimately prevent your staff from being able to identify students who need support, so they can’t take preemptive action to engage them in an effective, informed way.
So, what happens when you do connect your campus? Well…
The far-reaching benefits of a Connected Campus
As ever more universities are discovering, uniting your data to create a single, central view of each student delivers benefits for everyone – from students to faculty staff and IT teams.
They’re gaining the power to:
1. Proactively drive student success.
Once your data is in one place, you can apply real-time analytics and AI. This opens up a world of possibilities, enabling timely engagement with at-risk students, personalised student journeys and ongoing optimisation of the student experience.
2. Increase every team’s efficiency.
When one team enters data, it’s there for everyone else who needs it. That means less time and effort for every other team, and fewer forms for students to wade through. It also means easier collaboration – across the campus.
3. Accelerate innovation.
When all your data is in one place, it makes it easier to extend your tools and engagement programmes, so you’ll be able to respond to the needs of students today – and tomorrow – faster and with a more connected infrastructure.
And that’s just for starters. With a 360-degree view of your student data, you could also analyse the influence that student communities and improved social integration have on academic success – and identify the times when students are most productive online.
And here’s the really good news: connecting your campus is easier than you think.
HEDA: The architectural foundation of the Connected Campus
We’ve worked closely with our partners and customers in the industry to create the Higher Education Data Architecture (HEDA).
HEDA is a free, managed package designed to configure Salesforce CRM out of the box for higher education. This customised higher education framework sits on top of Salesforce CRM, and features seamless integration with a growing number of higher education apps.
As an open-source and community-driven architecture, HEDA also promotes collaboration, helping you to solve challenges faster, and respond to change confidently, with support from institutional partners.
Simply put, it provides a solid foundation for connecting your campus.
But what does a Connected Campus look like in practice?
LSE: A Higher Education trailblazer
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is one institution that has integrated the student experience across the entire academic lifecycle using a strategy of centralised, or 360-degree student data.
With Salesforce as its platform and HEDA as a foundation, LSE integrated all its campus and alumni services into a single, easy-to-use student hub for anytime, anywhere access. It also intends to use this newly attained connectivity to identify high-risk students and offer them pro-active support in times of need.
“I describe it as freedom within a framework,” says Laura Dawson, CIO at LSE. “Salesforce is the framework. As long as you’re using that, knock yourself out.”
The LSE began its Salesforce journey by integrating its student recruitment and marketing processes, retiring its slow and costly paper-based application system. This saved considerable time, which the LSE now uses to assess the hundreds of additional applications received since moving to the platform.
But the transformation isn’t just about saving time for administrators. Mike Page, Head of ARD Systems and Processes at LSE, says:
“We have students from over 200 countries. They expect a premier service, and they expect to be able to get what they need when they want it. And in today’s environment, that means everything is available on their mobile.”
Towards the Connected Campus of the future
Today’s most forward-thinking universities are rising to the challenges of 21st-century higher education, and finding smart ways to connect their campuses – and drive student success.