Page 26 - Campus Technology, March/April 2020
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CLOUD dian schaffhauser
Plotting a Pathway to the Cloud Through User Engagement
CRM implementations are never easy; but choosing one that’s cloud-based brings its own unique challenges.
WHEN THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT OFFICE in the Information Technology Services organization at Gonzaga University (WA) went out to stakeholders to interview them on the challenges they faced in the admissions process, they learned that the amount of minutia handled in onesies and twosies was staggering. Staff members talked about using six or more systems each day to do their work; typing out e-mail and phone requests; putting little notes on calendars to remember to send reminder e-mails to students; hand- counting appointment totals; and spending an entire day nursing the e-mails sent individually to students regarding acceptance, waitlisting or regrets. Just scheduling campus visits, as one example, was arduous. People would enter information on multiple spreadsheets to track appointments and rely on manual processes for getting visits on the calendar and doing follow-up.
No more. In mid-February, most recently, the Spokane institution’s admissions office was able to send out some 7,000 responses
to all of the different students who had applied. Nobody had to babysit the e-mail process. Surface mail went out at the same time. Going forward, messages to students can be automatically customized based on what the university already knows about them — that they come from a “Gonzaga family,” or that they have a specific academic interest. Now, when somebody signs up for a campus visit, that activity will set off auto- creation of a communication plan intended to keep everybody involved in that process informed without manual intervention.
Getting from there to here has taken time, effort and patience. And the implementation work is still going on. But over the last couple of years, the institution has mastered two useful skills that have led to success:
• Executive-level buy-in comes more easily when the project priorities align with the university strategic plan; and
• Involving the whole campus community in tech transformation with IT oversight in key areas ensures broader campus support.
Photo: deepadesigns/Shutterstock

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