Nurturing lasting student relationships at Universidad Francisco de Vitoria
Located in Spain’s capital, UFV Madrid is an international university in both origin and mission. With a little more than 12,500 students and 1,700 faculty and staff, the institution focuses on helping them to not only become outstanding professionals, but also to be well-rounded thinkers and leaders able to make significant contributions to society. Developing students’ potential, uncovering talents and guiding each individual throughout their time at university to success is what every faculty and staff member is striving for at UFV.
Creating a New Office to Drive Digital Transformation
Like a good number of institutions, UFV’s IT department has long been focused solely on admin and maintenance of the university app ecosystems – which were numerous! “ We had lots of fragmented technologies and different architectures,” Sergio Saldaña, UFV’s Digital Evolution Lead recalls. “In fact, we had 11 CRMs!” Each commercial area (Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Vocational students) had their own processes and tools. And within those three areas, the operational departments (academic, research, student services etc.) all had their own contact management databases. “This created a series of disconnected data lakes, with no unified view over all of them.”
Working in these silos prevented efficiency, stifled collaboration and created inconsistent experiences for students. That is why unifying this disconnected environment was a top priority! Hence, the creation of a dedicated team to rethink the digital experiences holistically across the student lifecycle and to drive digital transformation taking advantage of the technological opportunities available on the market.
“We believe a solid data strategy and joined-up approach help maximise the student experience, create trusted relationships between students and staff, effectively support every individual and intrinsically enrich our community.” shares Saldaña. That is why, the institution envisioned connecting all the student-related information within a single platform hosted in the cloud. “Such a platform will help us make sense of all our data, run all our operations and ultimately improve the learning process for our students”.
UFV saw in Education Cloud the power to create a single, information-rich platform to run its operations and connect all the dots around the student. “Market leader in driving digital transformation and helping companies to connect with their customers in a whole new way, we trusted Salesforce to help us innovate to drive learner and institution success at scale” says Saldaña.
Now, thanks to the increased transparency and wealth of information the platform provides, the digital transformation office is able to better advise each functional group and implement solutions meeting business needs. “Education Cloud helped us create a culture open to change and fosters the agility of our teams” recognises Saldaña.
Matching the platform capabilities with UFV’s needs
Education Cloud’s initial remit was to build comprehensive student profiles with UFV to help the university identify and recruit promising talent as early as possible. UFV teams use Education Cloud to find and enroll the best fit students. The platform stores student applications, test scores, or any information an applicant gives to the school online (i.e after visiting the website) and while interacting with UFV teams (i.e a phone call, a visit during an open day). Plus, every applicant has access to a portal, built on Community Cloud, where they can upload all the necessary information to complete their applications. Recruiters and admission advisors can use all this information to match the applicant to the right program and use Education Cloud to nurture their interest.
Once the application progresses down the funnel, degree directors can review the applicant information that allows them to better know their future students and work with academics to support them even before the beginning of the programme. Every interaction is captured in Salesforce to help the institution make sound admission decisions.
As Saldaña puts it, “the real power of education is helping them grow as they study with you. It is about doing everything you can to help them realise their potential and be a driving force for social good. We want to know their aspirations and help them become the great professionals of tomorrow’s world.”
“Creating trusted relationships is key to deliver lifelong learning. The relationship shouldn’t end when your students become alumni – if they return to academia, we want them to remember us and our ability to deliver the best possible experience” Saldaña says. By following each student’s journey from start to finish, UFV will ultimately be able to reach out to alumni with precise messaging to keep the university front of mind.
Delivering tangible practical results
Since UFV went live with Education Cloud in April 2019, Education Cloud has improved the overall performance by streamlining services and driving efficiencies, allowing UFV to be more flexible, agile and collaborative across teams.
“Today we are using the platform to improve on current services and create new, more relevant amenities”, explains Saldaña. For instance, UFV is creating a one-stop for queries and services to accelerate their response time to students. And recently, the institution has also been using beacons to track attendance, room bookings and usage to optimise facility management.
As departments had become used to working in their own unique way and with their own legacy IT systems, managing change was also a challenge. However, Salesforce’s free resources in Trailhead and the Power of Us Hub, as well as continuous support from the Salesforce team, helped accelerate UFV’s digital transformation. “We were really impressed by how Salesforce continued to engage after we took on their product,” Saldaña says. “They were committed to our success from the beginning and went above and beyond in the service they gave us.”
Next on the roadmap is to connect their Learning Management System to the Education Cloud to further enrich student profiles with academic performance and records. Using Education Cloud, UFV intends on creating a digital workplace for students and staff to improve the day-to-day running of the campus and enhance the student experience.
“By connecting our systems and digitising our operations across UFV with Education Cloud, we are also connecting people together and allowing our teams to deliver rich experiences online and on campus for each student, teacher and member of our community.”