American University

An integrated CRM that spans the student lifecycle 


Integrate data across every phase of the student lifecycle in order to improve strategy and outcomes 

  • Integration of student data across all phases of the lifecycle 
  • Improved data management and processes 
  • Better-informed strategy and decision-making

American University implements an integrated CRM suite to break down data silos and gain a comprehensive view of its data.

Dave Swartz, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, American University 

We're probably one of the first universities to have a fully integrated CRM, across the entire student lifecycle—from the recruitment, to the student success, to the advancement phase.  

As the CIO, you have an enterprise vision. What I see happening a lot at universities is CRM is such a powerful and transformational technology that many of the VPs at different universities are going off and doing their own thing.  

These silos don't integrate. And you can't leverage one platform for the benefit of the whole university, nor can you integrate the data easily. So I would say, you have to step in and partner with these VPs. Get them to work together and recognise that the integration of the data layer, and the process side, and the training, and the technical support is key.  

During the recruitment phase, you get a lot of foundation information about the students. And one of the areas that we're looking at is, did they participate during the early phases of the engagement and orientation with advisors, before they even enrolled. We believe that those students that participate during these programmes are more likely to be successful. And so we're going to test that hypothesis this fall.  

One of the challenges that most VPs of advancement have, is they want to understand the affinity, the connections that the alum have—or the potential donors have—to the campus. What faculty they like. Were they part of athletics? And generally, that data didn't carry over into the systems they had.  

Now all the data is being put into our systems in student success. And as they leave, then our advancement team will have access to all that knowledge that you can leverage that relationship with them, going forward.  

Having looked at CRM, there are very few vendors out there that can do the fully integrated CRM for a university. They focus in on various silos. So take a real careful look on what you're going to get. And look for the one that could do that integration.