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Our Journey to Education Cloud for Higher Ed

By September 6, 2018

Higher ed institutions of all sizes are empowering today’s students to become the innovators and leaders of tomorrow. From community colleges to small private institutions and large public universities, the higher ed community is focused on creating a continuous journey of lifelong engagement for each and every student. But the technology used by most higher ed institutions often makes it difficult to drive student success along the entire student lifecycle. Many technology solutions used across an institution are extremely siloed – solving for one part of the student experience but failing to create a single, cohesive view of the whole student from recruiting and admissions to student success and advancement.

As a result, students often engage with a series of disconnected experiences on campus. Having to wait in line for hours for an advising appointment or not having a single place to get access to resources, can create roadblocks to fully engaging with every aspect of university life. And what we’re seeing is that many institutions are facing similar challenges across higher education from increased student expectations to lower retention rates:

Challenges in higher ed and statistics

These are significant challenges, but at, we’re dedicated to finding ways that technology can help. Campus experiences can be elevated to become more student-centric, simple and connected. President Lombardi of Maryville University said it best: “Everything in the classroom should be challenging. Everything outside of that is a service, and it should be easy.”

That’s why we launched Education Cloud for Higher Ed – a cloud-based set of solutions that enables institutions of all sizes to drive student success across the entire life cycle from prospect to alum. But how did we get here? It wasn’t overnight. Our dedication to helping Higher Ed institutions started several years ago with a small group of individuals focused on creating a single view of the student for institutions of all sizes.

Our Journey to Education Cloud

Journey to Education Cloud

Since we started developing solutions on the platform, we had one goal: turn the world’s #1 CRM into the world’s #1 CRM for higher ed. In March 2016, we launched HEDA, the Higher Education Data Architecture. Built in collaboration with our partners and customers, HEDA is a community-driven data architecture and set of best practices designed to configure Salesforce out of the box. As the foundation of Education Cloud, HEDA empowers institutions to easily see the courses students are enrolled in and how they are connected to others across campus from Day 1. Today, there have been over 800 HEDA installations, growing from 181 when HEDA originally launched in 2016.

Launching HEDA was the first building block in the journey to Education Cloud. HEDA opened new opportunities to collaborate with our customers in solving their most pressing challenges across campus. Our customers spoke up and shared their need for a complete advising solution that not only delivered insights to both advisors and students, but also gave the entire university community a unified way to drive student success. Eight months from the birth of HEDA, we announced our vision to transform advising with Salesforce Advisor Link (SAL) at Dreamforce ‘16. Fast forward just 13 months later and SAL was generally available to our customers. Salesforce Advisor Link automates certain manual tasks so advisors can spend more time helping students and provides robust analytics to empower data-informed advising across campus.

 Salesforce Advisor Link for Higher Ed

But we didn’t stop with SAL. In December 2017, we continued to drive innovation across the entire student lifecycle by announcing our Gift Processing capabilities that are currently in development. Each of these steps led us to Higher Ed Summit this year where we officially launched Education Cloud during the welcome keynote of the event. Over 2,000 Trailblazers from across the industry gathered in Washington DC for the Higher Ed Summit to hear from their peers, attend sessions on higher ed innovation and participate in hands on workshops.

The launch of Education Cloud was an exciting moment for everyone in the room and for the many customers live streaming the event.

Education Cloud represents our dedication to Higher Ed innovation. You can think of Education Cloud as an umbrella over a powerful set of solutions for recruiting and admissions, student success, advancement, as well as purpose-built products like HEDA (Higher Education Data Architecture) and Salesforce Advisor Link. With 59% of Higher Ed CIOs expecting a significant change to their organization as a result of digital transformation as noted in Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey, it’s clear that the time is now to become a Connected Campus with Education Cloud. Education Cloud is the #1 CRM for higher ed

What Higher Ed Trailblazers Are Doing with Education Cloud

Arizona State UniversityWe’re seeing institutions of all sizes blaze a new trail in higher ed with Education Cloud. Arizona State University (ASU) is a great example of a customer trailblazer that is truly driving innovation across campus. With four campuses in the Phoenix area, an online learning program, and an expanding global presence, ASU’s constituent base has been growing at an exponential rate. ASU wanted the ability to see all constituents in one place, so it could focus on the entire student lifecycle from recruitment through graduation and beyond. “We decided it was time to implement an enterprise-wide experience, so everyone coming through the university gets a personalized experience and we can serve their needs,” explained Leah Lommel, Assistant Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of EdPlus at ASU.

With Education Cloud, ASU became a Connected Campus and is now able to deliver the kind of tailored experience that students are expecting on campus. Take a look at how ASU was able to drive a digital transformation with Education Cloud:

  • Streamlined Student Services: Using Salesforce Service Cloud, ASU unified student services through its Service Center on the ‘My ASU’ portal. Giving students one online entry point for getting help, students can now find everything they need in the Service Center. With over 32 colleges, departments, and offices all using the same system to serve students, ASU has solved over 1,000,000 cases in Salesforce and published over 1,000 knowledge articles.
  • Personalized Marketing and Communications: Sending approximately 91 million emails every year, ASU struggled to ensure communication was both personalized and engaging. Migrating its 13 mass email systems to Salesforce, ASU began using Marketing Cloud to communicate with prospective students, current students, parents, alumni, and more. Creating a unified front for recruiting initiatives, ASU also migrated 14 of its colleges and schools to Salesforce, where over 1.1 million leads are actively managed.

One Platform to Support Your Institution

Whether you are a small or large institution, you can customize Education Cloud to fit your needs. Get started with Education Cloud by working with one of our trusted advisor account representatives. Our great ecosystem is here to support your use of the platform – from the Power of Us Hub, where you can connect with other Education Cloud customers to the AppExchange, where you’ll find apps from our higher ed partners that integrate seamlessly with Education Cloud. You can even work with a Higher Ed Approved Partner to help get you going. Wherever your journey begins, Education Cloud is the solution for driving student success across the entire life cycle from prospect to alum.

For more information on Education Cloud, visit