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Everything’s Bigger in Texas: From the Summit, 3 Reasons for Higher Ed’s Rapid Adoption of Salesforce

By May 11, 2017

Higher Ed Summit '17

Cross-posted from

By: Anne Early, Principal Consultant ACF Solutions, An Attain Company

They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and this year’s fifth annual Salesforce Higher Ed Summit was no exception. The event that took place last week, April 27-29th, had a record turnout. In just two years, the Summit has grown from 700 attendees from 60+ plus schools to a sold out 1,500 attendees from 450+ schools. This growth is no surprise to many of the returning Summit attendees, as growth of the Summit goes hand in hand with the rapid adoption of Salesforce in the Higher Ed sector.

Here are three things driving that rapid adoption:

1. Wider Variety of Salesforce Use Cases

The first evidence of this growth was found in the variety and quantity of breakout sessions, which included a wide range of examples of how schools are using Salesforce to track and engage with prospects, students, parents, faculty and alumni. Attendees love to see what other schools have done and presenters were eager to share what they built and how they are using Salesforce to enhance what they do. As an example, Shelley Hou of Standford University’s Office of Accessible Education shared how they are using a Salesforce Community to support academic accommodations requests and The Faculty Success session from the University of Colorado Boulder illustrated how Salesforce can be used to more efficiently manage complicated internal processes around faulty management and support. Sessions like these provided a great opportunity for schools to inspire one another with the possibilities of how they might expand the use of Salesforce on their own campuses.

2. Higher Education Data Architecture (HEDA)

Another reason for Salesforce’s expansion within higher ed is their expanded sector-specific offerings. Just over a year ago, released the Higher Education Data Architecture (HEDA). This year at the Summit there were nine individual sessions related to HEDA, covering everything from migration into HEDA from an existing Salesforce instance to Enterprise Security Model set up. Randy Haskin of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business presented their experiences implementing HEDA in a mixed B2B & B2C Executive Education model. In addition to HEDA, shared the roadmap for their latest offering, Salesforce Advisor Link (SAL). We look forward to learning more about Advisor Link when it becomes available later this year.

3. Changes and Obstacles in Higher Education

Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen’s keynote on disruptive innovation within higher education sums up the final reason for Salesforce’s growth in this market. Higher education institutions are under a number of pressures, including decreased government funding and the “disruptive innovation” of online learning. Schools are using Salesforce’s flexibility and innovation to overcome these obstacles and accelerate the future of learning.

The Higher Ed Summit is a reflection of the excitement and rapid expansion of Salesforce within so many higher ed institutions. Small, large, private and public schools are leveraging the Salesforce platform to meet a growing variety of challenges. The Summit provided an opportunity for these school to share what they are doing and what they’ve learned along the way while having some Texas-sized fun.

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