The Benefits of a CRM Solution by Educational Department

The Benefits of a CRM Solution by Educational Department

By Mark Jones on Thursday, October 23, 2014

Colleges and universities have a reputation for being decentralized, with many departments operating independently of one another. This decentralized structure has arguably been nurtured for decades in support of faculty independence and the resulting academic freedom that drives new thinking and research. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that this culture of decentralized decision-making has led to inefficient, if not confusing, communication between the institution and its students and other key stakeholders on campus. The Admissions office initiates the relationship with prospective students. The Registrar enrolls them. Advising oversees the creation of individual academic plans. Curriculum and Academics manage and track grades and offers tools for student–teacher communication. The advancement office and the alumni association foster relationships with alumni to connect graduates and their resources to various initiatives on campus.

In addition to serving different functions, many of these departments also build and maintain their own IT systems and communication channels. It isn’t unusual for colleges and universities to communicate with students through completely disparate systems. Students log in to one system to pay their bills and log in to another system to chat with academic coaches and counselors, and so on.

A couple of years ago, it would have been easy to attribute this disconnect to the unique organization and culture of a typical campus, failing to realize anything was wrong. But as students have become increasingly tech-savvy, with almost complete reliance on mobile devices to manage their educations, the weaknesses have become too stark to ignore.

A recent e-book on the subject sums the problem up perfectly: “Students expect a level of personalization most institutions aren’t used to providing. They expect to be able to do what they need—like access their grades, register for courses, or schedule an appointment with their advisors—when they want to, from wherever they are. And they expect that what you promised in terms of a campus experience will be delivered—sooner rather than later.”

This demand for personalization is one of the reasons so many colleges and universities are considering the benefits of an enterprise constituent relationship management (CRM) strategy. An effective CRM strategy breaks down those institutional silos and enables institutions to deliver a seamless experience, from enrollment to advancement, from the moment students set foot on campus.

I know what you’re thinking: That all sounds great — in theory. But investing in a technology that promises to create efficiencies within your system and getting faculty and staff to adopt that technology and use it to its best advantage on campus is a whole different ballgame.

Just talking about how the technology will benefit students or improve efficiencies at the institution isn’t likely to get your staff too excited about a change. They still need to learn an entirely new system, and training is just one more professional requirement on what, in all likelihood, is a very full professional plate, especially at this time of year.

Looking to get your faculty and staff on board with your upcoming CRM integration?

Here’s a tip: Rather than focusing on what the technology will do for the institution, help employees in specific departments understand how your investment promises to make their lives easier.

A few examples:

  • Recruitment and Financial Aid
    A comprehensive CRM integration gives recruitment and financial aid officers access to resources across the entire student life cycle. Administrators can see how many students apply for financial aid; consult individual students’ academic history and progress; and track students as they move through the system, ensuring students have access to the kinds of resources and tools needed for academic success.   
  • Enrollment and Advising
    Enrollment officers can access student information to determine whether prospective students meet requirements for enrollment or transfer. Comprehensive academic reports let advisers immediately determine what courses or prerequisites are required for existing students to achieve their academic goals.  
  • Advancement
    Armed with data from across the institution, advancement personnel can cultivate more specific relationships, reaching out to new and existing donors with confidence. Keep track of donor prospects, know their interests, and know when and how to contact them and access historical information — including a list of previous gifts and donations — that could help establish, or reestablish, a personal connection.

Want more insights before making your next technology purchase? Don’t miss our e-book, Before You Invest in a CRM System, Ask These 5 Questions

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  • On 3/2/2016 09:09:03 AM Melany Wilson said:

    Many institutions have finally begun with the CRM implementations. B2B CRM has brought a revolution in every departments, offices and institutions. Like most databased applications, CRM is now in the cloud, and the benefits are many. Users can access CRM functionality through browser-based applications from anywhere, anytime. Due to its all its merits CRM doing great work for institutional departments.