Volunteers Help University Accelerate Their Digital Transformation
Our Pro Bono Profiles blog series highlights Salesforce employees who volunteer their time and talent to help nonprofits harness the full power of Salesforce technology.
Universidad de San Andrés (UdeSA) is on a mission to educate the next generation of leaders in Argentina, and they believe a student’s potential shouldn’t be limited by their ability to pay for college. That’s why nearly 50% of undergraduate students receive scholarships to pay for tuition, books, and living expenses.
Take Lorena Noguera, for example. She is from a modest home that does not have access to drinkable water. Her father sells handcrafted adobe bricks to make ends meet. UdeSA’s scholarship program has given Lorena a chance to improve the lives of her entire family.
She’s already had an impact by inspiring her younger sister to apply. Now, they both attend the university, thanks to UdeSA’s scholarship program.
In 2012, UdeSA implemented Salesforce to support the student recruitment and admissions process for their undergraduate programs. They also implemented a second org to manage the entire student application and sales processes for their graduate business school and executive education programs.
But, Carlos García Garrido, CRM Salesforce Manager, knew they weren’t making the most of their investment in Salesforce. “We were working in a prehistoric way,” explained Carlos. “Recruitment and admissions was managed in Salesforce, but scholarships were managed in a different system.”
UdeSA’s siloed processes created a number of challenges for the university. The most pressing was a disconnect between the undergraduate admissions and scholarship approval processes. For example, the university might admit a student without knowing if funds were available to provide a scholarship because the two systems didn’t talk to each other.
For students that need financial assistance, being admitted is simply not enough. They have to know if a scholarship is available before they can enroll. To give students and their families peace of mind, scholarships were often awarded without staff knowing whether the university had the resources to fund them. This was extraordinarily stressful for the CFO and his staff. Pulling data from the scholarships database to determine how much in scholarships had been granted was a highly manual process which exacerbated the problem.
And the situation was getting even more dire. Over the last two years, the university has accepted 50% more students than they have in the past. The increased volume in student admissions caused more uncertainty about the availability of funds for scholarships.
To solve this issue, Carlos applied for assistance through the Salesforce.org Pro Bono Program. Oliver Oursin, Vice President of Solution Engineering, brought together an amazing team of solution engineers to take on the project. Based in Germany, the team traveled to Argentina to meet onsite with Carlos and his team.
The pro bono team helped to address some immediate needs for UdeSa, but also took a holistic view to guide the university in thinking through their roadmap for Salesforce. The team met with key stakeholders, including UdeSA’s Chief Information Officer, Cecilia Martínez Pagola who hadn’t been very involved with the university’s Salesforce orgs. Thanks to Oliver and his team of solution engineers, she’s now actively involved in governance and sees the potential of the platform to meet the university’s other information management needs.
UdeSA’s Salesforce consulting partner, Tribo, also participated in the discovery sessions led by the pro bono team. “We were deeply impressed by Salesforce consultants, Victoria Pizzini and Elena Iñurrategui,” said Fabian Muessig, Senior Manager of Solution Engineering. “We couldn’t have achieved what we did without them.”
With all the key players at the table, UdeSA and the pro bono team were able to accomplish some extraordinary things in a single week. First, they moved the scholarship approval process into Salesforce. Now, leadership has access to real time reporting on how much has been committed in scholarships, which helps the CFO better manage the school’s finances.
The team also helped integrate Salesforce with critical processes of the system that UdeSA uses to track student’s once they’ve been admitted. Previously, admissions data from Salesforce had to be manually entered into the student system of record. Admissions data now automatically syncs between Salesforce and the student database. This has saved staff time, reduced errors, and sped up the delivery of admission notifications to students.
Overall, the pro bono team’s impact has been impressive. UdeSA has been able to reduce the time between application and admission by about 15 days. This is crucial for more efficiently managing the dramatic increase in admissions that the university has experienced over the last few years.
Carlos and his team also have a clear direction for where to take the platform next. “We all made magic during our time together,” recalled Carlos. “They helped us think long term. In just a few hours they helped shape and clarify our vision and the roadmap to get there.”
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