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Key Takeaways from the Higher Education User Conference

By June 19, 2018 higher ed user conference LSE

By: Jane Armstrong, Director, EMEA Higher Education Industry Solutions

The latest Higher Education User Conference took place at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) with university and business school attendees from across Europe convening for a day of inspiration, learning and sharing of experiences.

During the event, Trailblazing institutions like EMD, Plymouth University and LSE shared best practices on operating in a market under increasing pressure, and also stories about how they’re doing it. Themes that stood out were: establishing a foundation, extending reach, and a deeper focus on the student experience.

We also heard many exciting stories about the schools’ experiences working with Education Cloud, and how it’s helping them innovate for the future.

Let’s take a look at some of the top stories we heard during the day.

Building a Foundation for Digital Transformation at EMD

EMD is a young business school, based in Marseille, France that prides itself on nurturing the ‘whole’ student, and strives to put people first in all their engagements, whether that’s students, employees, partners or alumni.

The school needed a connected platform which would give them speed, ease-of-use, openness, and trust, to help them innovate with confidence. Xavier Palou, Director at EMD shared how the school selected the Salesforce Higher Education Data Architecture (HEDA) to integrate data across multiple student information systems.

More than anything, the platform has enabled the school to treat every student as an individual – a strategy that fits perfectly with their ‘people-first’ philosophy. Today, all the data from across the school is accessible in one place, meaning they have that all important single view of the student. EMD also uses Salesforce Pardot, which, when integrated, enables teams to orchestrate end-to-end journeys across constituent groups, from student prospecting, admissions and engagement, events marketing and establishing a community.  

Innovation is embedded at EMD, and this platform will support them as they continue to embrace new technologies.  The school will be the first business school in France to use blockchain technology to enable diploma authentication, integrated into the platform, allowing the school to fully embrace digital transformation to support its students’ needs.

Extending Reach at LSE

Another school building a foundation to support them into the future is LSE, which shared how they adopted the Salesforce platform to ensure their constituents were at the heart of all business systems, centralising their traditionally siloed approach. higher ed user conference LSE

The school’s new platform has replaced the school’s legacy student records management system to give every department access to that single view of the student. Having a school-wide CRM enables the LSE to drive deeper, lifelong relationships and engage students, alumni and other constituents using a co-ordinated and highly personalised approach.

LSE is also leveraging Salesforce for student marketing and recruitment activities, including its Widening Participation programme, a UK initiative, with the aim of reaching students who have great potential but have limited opportunities to progress to higher education.

Sharing successes of their new more targeted strategy, attendees heard that last year, LSE’s email open rates were 40% higher when the school used personalisation – a vote of confidence for any school thinking of updating their approach.

Creating Better Experiences at Plymouth University

Like the LSE, Plymouth University also shared how, in the past, they dealt with multiple CRM systems across their campus. For them, this added to reporting complexity, left them with no ability to run automation, and resulted in a general inability to engage constituents effectively.

In addition to this, Rupert Frankum, Technical Project Manager explained that there were clear drivers for change, which included increased competition, changing regulation, and increased IT costs.  

After securing leadership buy-in, Rupert and his team were able to deliver some impressive results, including a 58% increase in open-day registration, and improved turnaround times for those registrations. Other benefits they’ve experienced include enhanced reporting, automation, and improved data security.

Now Plymouth University is looking ahead to see how it can take advantage Marketing Cloud to continue to deliver outstanding experiences across the student life-cycle

A Focus on Experience for All

All of the schools and universities represented at the Higher Education User Conference agreed on one thing: improving student satisfaction relies on enhancing the student experience.

Some schools are doing it by integrating disparate systems and creating journeys that are both automated and intelligent, while others are working hard to make sure more students, from more diverse backgrounds hear their message – especially those who don’t have easy access to higher education opportunities. It’s clear, however, a solid architecture, like HEDA can serve as a foundation to a connected campus for all Higher Education institutions in their endeavours to improve and innovate around the student experience.

Interested in learning more about how the HEDA? Watch this HEDA Deep Dive webinar.