Salesforce is expanding its higher education offering, using tools like its messaging app Slack to better monitor student performance and make the most of existing cloud-based software.
The company announced a number of new features within its customer relationship management platform, Customer 360, on Wednesday. As more students choose online or hybrid programs, university operations that are typically conducted face-to-face must also move online, Susan Morrow, general manager for Salesforce Education Cloud, told EdScoop.
“We need to be able to work asynchronously with our faculty and staff,” she said. “We need a way to capture and ensure that wherever people reach us, whatever communication channel they use, we can track and ensure they are getting what they need. And that’s a Salesforce hallmark in all of our solutions.”
Among the announcements was a tool called Student Success Alerts, designed to be a direct channel of communication between faculty and student counseling and support teams. When an instructor notices a problem with a student—such as seeming distracted or skipping class—they can create an alert. This notification feeds into Saleforce’s consulting appointment scheduling software and into a designated Slack channel for consultants or consultants to scroll and reach students.
Morrow said that instructors who are concerned about a particular student’s progress may not have a formal process to inform that student’s academic advisors. But adding a feature like this to a widely used messaging app like Slack can make it as easy as possible, she said.
“That’s what we were hoping for, meaning this needs to be super easy for any type of instructor that doesn’t need to learn how to do something or follow any rules, it’s at the heart of Slack, it should be as obvious as possible,” said Morrow. “And it has all the features of full-featured Salesforce to manage the case.”
The expansion of Customer 360’s offerings capitalizes on a trend of institutions investing in their CRM systems to better engage with students and automate administrative processes as the number of online students grows. Some functions, such as B. Lifetime Learning combine software to create “storefronts” for students browsing continuing education compete with existing options like Modern Campus’ Destiny One.
But Salesforce owns several well-known products, such as Slack, data visualization software Tableau, and Mulesoft, a tool for connecting digital platforms, APIs, and services. Salesforce’s approach is to link these software components to cloud software. Digital Campus, for example, combines the three into a customizable digital communication platform.
Other edtech companies are also working on integration to build CRM systems. Liason combined its predictive analytics and CRM software in December to reduce the number of platforms users need to log on to complete tasks. Modern Campus this month announced it has joined Ellucian’s Ethos integration platform to improve data exchange between enterprise systems.