By Kyla Farroll, Enterprise CRM Program Owner
To say 2020 was defined by uncertainty along with forced and abrupt change would be an understatement. This has been a year unlike any other, and I am grateful to have spent the last 12 months as an employee of UW–Madison. As an organization, we have not been without challenges—but the level of compassion, support, transparency and consistent desire to do what’s right for students, staff and faculty make me even more proud to be a Badger.
Although the calendar year did not transpire as I originally thought, I wanted to take some time and share what this year looked like, through my eyes, for the OneBadger CRM program.
My first day at UW–Madison was on the 6th of January, and I was greeted with a calendar full of meetings and one-on-ones. This was a whirlwind of a month, learning about our Salesforce history and current state, as well as the university overall. As I absorbed all of this new information, I was struck by the kindness and generosity of everyone I met, and how in one short month, I felt the true nature of a welcoming community here in Madison.
While I felt like I hit the ground running January, it was taken to a whole new level when I was tasked with putting together the FY21 budget in February. Still learning the inner workings of the university and DoIT, as well as trying to predict what we would need in the next fiscal year to support an enterprise rollout of Salesforce, was a challenge. Luckily, our stakeholders on campus and those who preceded me laid a great foundation, and I was able to leverage the work already done and decisions in place to come up with an initial plan for expanding the enterprise CRM program.
The FY21 budget was associated with a short-term roadmap for advancing the enterprise CRM program with funding for implementation and resources, and I announced that plan to our stakeholders in March at a theater session in Union South. It was on a Monday, and the news globally was already ramping up with talk of COVID-19. I could never have imagined that by the end of that week, on Friday the 13th, we would receive direction from campus to begin working remotely, and that students were encouraged to finish their classes virtually after spring break.
Despite the uncertainty upon us with the pandemic, March was also a milestone month for a couple of our CRM projects: the kickoff of the strategic partnerships Salesforce implementation with the Office of Business Engagement (OBE), and the first launch of Salesforce capabilities for UW–Madison Online with a minimum viable product (MVP) for enrollment coaches in the CRM instance already used by the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) and Office of Admissions and Recruitment (OAR). This instance of Salesforce, or “org,” is the original version of Salesforce on campus included in the OneBadger CRM enterprise strategy.
In April, the momentum continued for UW–Madison Online with MVP Salesforce capabilities for academic and career coaches. While we remained excited about the continued work of UW–Madison Online and OBE, we also knew the pandemic was going to impact our scope, schedule and budget for the enterprise program in the near future. In an effort to maximize funding and resources, we refocused our efforts on projects already underway, including the custom clinical placement solution being built for the School of Education. An area of the plan which remained as a carryover from FY20 was launching a strategy engagement with a consulting partner to help us prepare an actionable roadmap to execute an enterprise strategy.
After presenting our revised enterprise plan to DoIT leadership, I circulated the adjusted plan to stakeholders in May via email, knowing that our path forward would take a little more time, but would also be a thoughtful, incremental approach. We also saw the third and final MVP-phase Salesforce release for UW–Madison Online, which included a Curricular and Academic Operational DataStore (CAOS) feed and Advising Gateway data links embedded into the platform, allowing coaches to easily transition between the CRM and other systems.
Shortly after the conclusion of the UW–Madison Online MVP phases, the Office of Business Engagement launched a strategic partnerships instance of Salesforce in June, which is the second instance of Salesforce included in the OneBadger CRM enterprise. We launched our OneBadger CRM website to provide stakeholders with relevant and timely information about the enterprise program, and actively engaged with our DoIT partners in the Interoperability Transformation Initiative, as they had expressed interest in using the Salesforce CRM and Experience Cloud as their Constituent Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solution.
Seeing the significant overlap between our Salesforce enterprise vision and the CIAM solution, we joined forces in July with the Interoperability team to select a single consulting partner for
both the CIAM implementation as well as the OneBadger CRM strategy engagement.
Continuing the trend since the spring with monthly Salesforce releases and launches, we also went live with a third Salesforce instance as part of OneBadger CRM supporting the School of Education and their clinical placement solution, which provides the data and process to align students eligible for student teaching with approved and available schools.
After evaluating several consulting groups, the Interoperability team and enterprise CRM program mutually agreed in August to select Huron as the implementation partner for our upcoming technical and strategic initiatives. We also shared a program status update on the monthly IT Projects Update Forum, and began preparing for our strategy engagement kickoff.
Toward the end of September, the CIAM effort and enterprise strategy engagement launched with Huron—with the goals of understanding and accommodating our diverse university landscape, establishing governance, solidifying our vision, and obtaining versatile, scalable and practical roadmap recommendations for moving the enterprise CRM program forward.
New program data was added to the DCS/OAR Salesforce instance to be leveraged by the Graduate School, and we began publishing a new series of monthly articles on the OneBadger CRM website. These features highlight the growth of the Salesforce footprint on campus, and put a spotlight on the individuals at UW–Madison who have been instrumental in making our collective Salesforce vision a reality.
In addition, we were approached by DoIT leadership to build a CRM solution which supports Housing, the UW Conference Centers (UWCC) and University Health Services (UHS), who are tasked with identifying and relocating students living in residence halls who test positive for, or are exposed to, COVID-19.
The CRM Solutions Team worked through the end of September and into October, launching the IQ (Isolation and Quarantine) Housing instance of Salesforce on October 8. We chose to create a new version of Salesforce, since this use case was very specific and blended data together from Housing and UHS. This new platform allows users to see, manage and track students who need to be moved in and out of residence halls into designated isolation and quarantine spaces. Although this initial launch was the MVP version, and more features and functionality need to be developed, the teams saw increased efficiency and a reduction in the amount of time dedicated to maintaining spreadsheets and manual processes.
As the team continued to support the IQ Housing groups and planning for additional releases in November, the strategy engagement momentum advanced by conducting stakeholder listening sessions with Huron. Understanding the needs and pain points of stakeholders is key when planning program strategy, and the schools, colleges, departments and units expressing interest in CRM as far back as 2018 provided a wealth of information to our consultants. Some of the outputs promised through this engagement—such as a technology assessment, application inventory, and deep technical evaluations of our current Salesforce instances—were delivered.
One of the more important recommendations the enterprise CRM program is seeking through the strategy engagement is what we call an “org strategy”—determining whether we continue using multiple, integrated instances of Salesforce, or merge all CRM data and capabilities into one large enterprise Salesforce instance.
An initial recommendation by Huron was delivered in December, and the enterprise CRM program has begun to socialize this with DoIT partners and the stakeholder leadership group currently using and managing the instances of Salesforce on campus. There are a number of factors to consider, such as data governance, sources of truth, integration strategies, and marketing automation. This initial recommendation, among others, will help guide our path forward into the new year and arm us with the insights we need to make strategic program decisions for FY22.
There is much to do to make our OneBadger CRM enterprise vision a reality, but with the continued support and patience from our stakeholders on campus, I know we can achieve great things. I’d like to conclude with a huge THANK YOU to my partners across campus who have supported me personally and professionally. I am incredibly grateful for your collaboration, generosity, and commitment to excellence.