A new Salesforce journey begins

CIO Brad Wheeler explains how IU's new agreement with the CRM giant is meant to improve experiences across the entire university

Last month, we announced that IU has entered into an Enterprise License Agreement with Salesforce to accelerate a unified IU constituent relationship management (CRM) system for all IU campuses.

This step builds on very substantial momentum in the use of Salesforce to recruit students on all campuses to residential and online programs, interact with enrolled students and all employees, and communicate with the many friends of IU. We use the word “constituent” to refer to the entirety of our community of potential students, enrolled students, employees, alumni, donors, organizations, corporations, and anyone with interest in IU.

For several years, our Lifetime Engagement team has grown successful uses of Salesforce via a project-by-sponsored-project basis with many partners across the university. For example, over 200 departments across IU are already using IU’s instance of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. University HR has established case management for service interactions with employees. IUPUI, IU Online, and all regional campuses are already recruiting next year’s incoming students with Salesforce.

Building on this foundation, the new Salesforce ELA includes a carefully defined set of Salesforce products aimed at improving experiences across IU. A unified view of each constituent will better enable IU to improve our communications with each individual or company.

A unified view of each constituent will better enable IU to improve our communications with each individual or company.

The best uses of Salesforce will represent a very substantial change of practice for IU, including changes within UITS. At present, the university has many systems that were created for a specific need, and they do their narrow function well. Yet, they do not provide any integrated view of information and service interactions across those systems, and that often leads to frustration and missed opportunities for our constituents. Salesforce has very substantial capabilities for forms, case management, workflow, and communication across a range of functional needs, and all of us should begin to assess carefully where that may provide a better option for many services at IU.

John Sejdinaj, IU vice president and chief financial officer, and I will serve as the executive sponsors for the university-wide CRM implementation. Information, training, project updates, and so on, will all be maintained at crm.iu.edu.

I encourage you to grow your own familiarity with Salesforce so that you can assess in your own work where a unified view of a constituent and her interactions may be helpful to achieve better outcomes.

I encourage you to grow your own familiarity with Salesforce so that you can assess in your own work where a unified view of a constituent and her interactions may be helpful to achieve better outcomes. This will be a journey with many choices along the way to prioritize where we want to migrate a service to IU CRM, when, or if we choose not to for other meritorious reasons. UITS will be announcing infoshares and other forms of education soon.

This ELA has been years in the making to get both IU and Salesforce to a place where we could move to university-wide availability of Salesforce for CRM. I am truly grateful to the full team in UITS, Procurement, Legal, university executive leadership, IU Communications, and the many partners across IU that made this bold step possible. We will continue to work towards the aspirations of “lifetime engagement” to encompass pre-, during, post- and ongoing engagements with IU, but we are branding this effort as the IU CRM Initiative. Internal labels will evolve to reflect that name.

You may have already read our news release, but I also wanted to direct you to the new FAQ page available on the CRM website. I am pleased to share the good news with all of you as we make this bold expansion with a firm that has also boldly expanded its operations in Indianapolis in what is now clearly labeled as the Salesforce Tower downtown.