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Inaugural European Salesforce Higher Education User Group

By February 21, 2017

By: Rupert Frankum, Technical Project Manager, Plymouth University

Higher Ed user group Plymouth Plymouth University is delighted to have hosted the first Salesforce Higher Education User Group in Europe on 2nd February, 2017.

The day saw 80+ representatives from Higher Education institutions from around the UK and EU along with sponsoring partners come together to discover the latest Salesforce offerings, discuss approaches being taken across the sector and quiz experts in the Relationship Management field.

The day started with a welcome from Paul Westmore, IT Director at Plymouth University. Paul not only apologised for the impressive Plymouth weather that was being experienced but also introduced the day’s activities.

Paul handed over to Ciara Donnelly, Solutions Engineer at who took the audience through the Salesforce Higher Education Data Architecture (HEDA). The model is an entire suite designed to help institutions get started, taking into account some of the complex structures and requirements HE has – needing a mix of accounts, module level records and the relationships between them.

Following the introduction of the HEDA model, Roland Monger, Strategic Admissions Manager at Plymouth University and I took attendees through our somewhat epic CRM journey – exploring the initial vision and the complex web of functionality that forms our CRM in Plymouth. I introduced how Plymouth approached the technical implementation of such a complicated vision while Roland recognised some of the benefits and outcomes seen to date. Roland and I then reflected on the lessons learnt to inform any CRM beginners of things to think about ahead of time as well as what the future holds for Plymouth. You can read more about our journey with Salesforce here.

Chris Panell - marketing cloud session Higher Ed user group plymouth

Chris Pannell, Marketing Cloud Specialist followed Plymouth’s story and showcased a 1:1 communication journey using Marketing Cloud, concentrating on a Plymouth University use case. Chris showed how from a first enquiry there are small interactions that can be had between Plymouth and its prospects, including Open Day marketing, monitoring Social Media interactions and responding to an individual’s needs based on these exchanges. It was clear that Marketing Cloud has the power to transform a prospects experience and really making a difference to their first steps as a learner in HE.

Following this, Barney Lewis, Solutions Architect at UCAS explained their use of Marketing Cloud along with the issues they faced and how they have achieved their implementation of Marketing Cloud. Barney also provided an insight into how the Salesforce Platform and Marketing Cloud will help achieve the strategic vision for UCAS.

Nick Wright from INTO closed the morning sessions with a whistle stop tour of what INTO do, how they go about doing this using the Salesforce platform and declaring some extremely useful tips and tricks on how to go about it. Nick declared his ‘must have’ tools and apps along with a brief look at what can be achieved with the Salesforce platform even if you have a comprehensive matrix of users.

Following a tasty and very discussion heavy lunch Ciara once again took to the stage but this time to explore the Wave Analytics platform which takes the Operational Reporting from the core Salesforce platform to another level – data that can be interrogated and provide analytics that has the potential to feed quick decision making at different levels. Ciara provided a demonstration of what can be achieved in a short space of time with the added bonus of empowering each user to interrogate their own data and highlighting the importance of data quality.

To complete the presentations, Nils Koop, Success Manager at Salesforce introduced the Customer Success portfolio and how attendees should make the most of the vast range of support offerings from Salesforce. Making use of the Trailhead tools, the training that is available and reaching out to specialists for input and advice which at times people tend to forget is available.

Salesforce Higher Education user group Europe

Towards the end of the afternoon, all of the presenters were brought together for a question and answer session which raised very pertinent points on products, delivery approaches, architectural considerations and roadmap choices specific to HE.

The remainder of the day was spent discussing the finer points raised throughout the day, exploring detail from some of the experienced (and weathered!) individuals to learn the dos, don’ts and tested approaches – with the overall aim to improve the experience that any prospective, current and past student has in the HE arena!

Throughout the day our sponsoring Partners (Aqxolt, Blue Wave, GeckoLabs, Color Consultancy, BrightGen, TargetX and Make Positive) discussed their offerings with attendees, from architectural advice, approaches in getting started and implementation support all the way through to specific application requirements.

The feedback received from all who took part and attended has been fantastic – clear evidence that the inaugural Salesforce HE User Group Forum in Plymouth was a success and we are looking forward to the next one. Thank you to all that helped make the day possible, the sponsoring partners, the presenters and of course the attendees. Special thanks must also go to the Plymouth team Paul Westmore, Helen Simmonds, Carolyn Deeming, Gail Swift, Jeff Stratford, Amy Burt, Maria Penn and Loretta Cook making such an event happen.

During the day lots of people asked to share the attendee contact list – in response to this, a distribution list has been created ( [email protected] ) for people to subscribe to should they wish to be part of the conversation. Subscribers can join the list by sending an email to [email protected] with ‘subscribe’ in the Subject field OR by visiting the list page. To post on the mailing list, simply send an email to [email protected].