In the business world, CRM stands for "Customer Relationship Management." It’s a system and platform for managing all interactions with customers, including data about those interactions.
When an online retailer emails you announcing that something you’ve had your eyes on for some time is on sale, a CRM made that possible. When a service company knows what issues you’ve previously had with them the moment you call and offers you just the right freebee to make amends, a CRM is behind that. CRMs improve relationships with customers, helping representatives and points of contact in different departments across a company to better understand any given customer and their relationship with the company.
In higher education, the word “constituent” is substituted, as relationships between universities and the people and organizations they touch are much more complex than that of mere customers.
Constituents can be prospective or current students, parents, alumni, donors, employees, community organizations, leaders of corporations, governments, NGOs, or fans of Hoosier basketball. Often, constituents of IU are many of those all at once, and even more across their lifetimes.
IU CRM is, therefore, both a philosophy and an IT platform that prioritizes a shared understanding of the university’s constituents across all parts of IU.
The goal is to give any IU point of contact (whether working in admissions, communications, HR, etc.) a 360-degree view of anyone with whom the university has a relationship. The platform, powered by Salesforce.org, facilitates the tracking of these relationships, allowing any part of IU to engage constituents as one IU.
In order to provide the best service or experience to any constituent, those representing IU must have a full understanding of that constituent during their point of contact. To create the richest understanding of constituents as possible, CRM data must come from as many of those interactions with IU as possible.
Given the scale and complexity of IU—not to mention any given individual or group’s relationship with the university over a lifetime—this is only possible with an enterprise-wide implementation of a unified CRM platform.
Salesforce is ranked as the number one CRM solution in the world, due to its flexibility and ability to accommodate the needs of large and diverse organizations. Over the last three years, Salesforce has grown as the preferred CRM tool at IU on a project-by-sponsored-project basis with many schools and departments (or “business units”) across the university.
By the end of 2017, over 190 IU communication shops were already using IU’s instance of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. University HR is establishing Salesforce.org for service interactions with employees, and IUPUI, all regional campuses, and IU Online are already recruiting next year’s incoming students with Salesforce.
In early 2018, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO Brad Wheeler announced a new Salesforce Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) with a carefully defined set of flexible products aimed at improving CRM experiences across IU. The goal of a unified, true CRM for IU has never been closer than it is now.
The IU CRM platform includes Marketing Cloud, a communications component commonly used to send large volumes of email to constituents. Sending email is where the commonalities with Outlook, Exchange, etc. end.
Marketing Cloud also includes features like email studio, HTML email, test sends, automation to plan and personalize outreach, subscription management, analytics and reports, and new features coming soon from IU CRM like mass SMS communication (or texting).
IU CRM also includes Salesforce CRM (formerly called "Service Cloud"), a larger and more important aspect that doesn't necessarily involve email at all.
Salesforce CRM is the platform core that maintains data that includes all university contacts, the relationships contacts have with IU, and the interactions between IU and constituents. It also includes components that can track one-on-one interactions, manage event occurrences and participants, along with many other features to facilitate and manage constituent engagements.
Marketing Cloud is simply the mass digital communications component of the Salesforce CRM platform. Salesforce CRM is the cornerstone of IU CRM, and the reason why a university-wide implementation of CRM is possible.
There are two methods of adopting IU CRM: Adopting the platform as currently implemented or requesting an expansion of functionality to meet your particular needs.
Both paths begin by browsing the options on the Adopt page and submitting an adoption request.
Once you submit an adoption request, the IU CRM Initiative team will reach out for a more in-depth conversation to explain the adoption process. If currently deployed options fit your needs, the process is simple and costs nothing. If a new project is necessary to expand IU CRM to meet your goals, the IU CRM Initiative will help assess the scope of your project, the charter of which will need to be reviewed, approved, and prioritized by the IU CRM Executive Leadership for future development.
Either way, IU CRM will guide you through the process. To get started, submit an adoption request.
Our priority is to make sure you have the right solutions to fit the particular needs of your department, school, or unit. Therefore, the process of adoption can vary widely depending on your situation. We can provide an estimated timeline in our initial assessment, after you submit an adoption request.
It costs nothing to adopt IU CRM as it's currently implemented. The Salesforce ELA covers the functionality within the IU CRM platform and the license costs for users. This includes any pillars of adoption or adoption packages currently deployed at IU.
If a new project that expands currently deployed capabilities is needed, a scope will be developed with an estimate of cost. Many projects require outside consulting to successfully deliver new solutions, which may also requre the use of products that are not included in IU's agreement with Salesforce. In these cases, outside consulting and extra product/license costs will be the responsibility of the requesting business unit.
Adopting the currently deployed options requires approvals from the requesting business and the appropriate Data Manager, for the purposes of data security. In some cases, additional permissions are needed, which the IU CRM Initiative will facilitate.
For those seeking expanded functionality, requests will need to be approved and prioritized by the steering committee of the appropriate pillar of adoption (determined in your initial assessment). Currently there are three: Undergrad Admissions/Recruiting, IU Human Resources, and Communications and Marketing.
Committee-approved and prioritized projects will then be sent for final approval by the IU CRM Initiative’s Executive leadership: Vice President for Information Technology and CIO Brad Wheeler and Vice President and CFO John Sejdinaj.
IU CRM reduces organizational barriers to accessing constituent data, but that neither abolishes official IU policy nor precludes it from being enforced. In fact, using a unified platform across the university—rather than many different solutions with separate data instances and processes—helps prevent email misuse and protects constituent data.
For IU CRM to be effective, it is critical that appropriate constituent information is shared across the university. Programmatic restrictions to this run counter to that overreaching goal, and so the university policies and procedures related to appropriate engagement are leveraged instead.
See Mass Email Procedures and Restrictions for protections and procedures against spam email and the IU Data Stewards (who serve as advisers to IU CRM) for more detail on IU data classifications and appropriate handling.
IU CRM has been adopted by undergraduate admissions recruiting for IUPUI, all regional campuses, and the Office of Online Education, along with graduate admissions recruiting for approximately 10 schools and programs. University Human Resources uses IU CRM for all employee service request management. Finally, over 200 adopting units across all campuses now use IU CRM for mass digital communication via email.
In total, in the two years since spring 2016, IU CRM includes over 330 users, 995,000 contact records, 113,000 leads, 2700 campaigns, 59 million email sends, and 13 million email recipients or event participants.
Update: As of August 2018, IU CRM now includes over 663 users, 1.3M contacts, 4,600 campaigns, 94M email sends, 181K service cases, and 18M email recipients, campaign members, and event participants.
Currently IU CRM has three main pillars of adoption: Undergraduate Admissions/Recruiting, IU Human Resources, and Communications and Marketing. These pillars are the results of IU CRM's partnerships with IUPUI and regional campus undergraduate admissions offices, IU HR, and IU Communications.
In September 2018, the IU CRM Initiative introduced two new adoption packages: Graduate Recruiting and Core CRM. Graduate Recruiting is a package of Admissions/Recruiting features specially designed for departmental graduate recruiters. Core CRM is a basic set of Salesforce CRM tools meant for low-barrier adoption by new units.
However, since the initial implementation of the IU CRM platform, all users have accessed and leveraged the same unified instance of Salesforce.
The IU CRM platform includes multiple products that are configured to be leveraged as a single solution. Even if the majority of a user's time is spent in one specific product, all IU CRM users technically employ the same instance.
Salesforce is the company and product solution from which the IU CRM Initiative has developed a tailored design and implemented for Indiana University. Salesforce offers far more products and features than most organizations will find useful, including features specific to nonprofits and K-12 education, along with thousands of products available through the Salesforce AppExchange.
Currently, a foundational subset of capabilities has been deployed locally for the IU CRM platform. This includes the products within the ELA.
The university is an incredibly complex ecosystem and maintaining a unified CRM platform to accommodate its needs is equally complex. All enhancements, integrations, and expansions require a thoughtful approach and careful design to ensure platform stability, security, and extensible value.