Louisiana State University Online and Continuing Education (LSU Online) is a part of the LSU family of institutions, a group of accredited, top-tier universities leading the charge toward innovations in distance learning. At LSU Online, they have made it their mission to help accelerate their students’ career goals with excellent, flexible, and affordable online certificate and degree programs. Their programs are perfectly designed to allow students to earn the same degree as they would on-campus in a convenient, flexible format. Since no two educational journeys are alike, LSU Online aims to provide a one-of-a-kind learning experience to all students.
Investing in People, Processes, and Technology to Scale
LSU’s Continuing Education program has been helping students realize their potential since 1924. With the student experience in mind, LSU committed to developing and expanding this program to include more online learning capabilities, which previously represented fewer than 20 programs and only served a few hundred students.
LSU Online needed a way to track students from the application process to admittance and everything in between to scale the program. Prior to implementing Salesforce, LSU Online didn’t have robust technology, instead using a combination of documents, spreadsheets, and ad hoc databases to manage and track its students. “We needed a CRM system. We wanted to make sure we had that 360-degree view of our students so that we could track them from beginning to end. And Salesforce was a great fit,” said Kappie Mumphrey, Interim Vice President of Louisiana State University Online and Continuing Education.
By insourcing program management, development, and building infrastructure to provide world-class service and support to online students, LSU Online has experienced incredible double-digit year-over-year growth since 2018. Today LSU Online encompasses over 150 online degrees and more than 15,000 students, partnering with the entirety of LSU institutions, including LSU Alexandria, LSU Eunice, LSU Shreveport, and the LSU Health Science Centers.
“You always hear that everything in business is people, processes, and technology. Salesforce is a core piece of our processes and technology and the tool we’ve implemented to help execute our strategy. We do almost everything via and through Salesforce. It allows us to market, recruit, retain, and analyze which programs are being picked and which programs have the best graduation rate,” Mumphrey noted. “Salesforce is at the center of what we’re doing.”
Using Automation to Increase Enrollment and Admission Rates
At LSU Online, their application and admittance processes are managed by two groups they call Recruitment and Retention. Recruitment is managing the students during the application process, and once they enroll, they move over to the Retention group. The Retention group works with the students one on one and coaches each prospect through getting set up as an LSU Online student.
Since implementing Salesforce, program leadership and faculty have been using the system and fine-tuning how their processes looked to help the institution scale. “For three years of double-digit growth, we were still operating with a start-up mentality. We were defining our processes, getting them the way we wanted, and defining what a good org structure looked like for LSU Online. We felt like we were in a place where we had the system where we needed it and the amount of data where we knew we needed to make a change,” Mumphrey said.
The next logical step was putting automation in place to help identify step-and-repeat processes that could help the Recruitment and Retention teams be nimbler. This build-out of task automation in Salesforce, through the help of Cloud for Good, has enhanced how the LSU Online team performs on a day-to-day basis and this has in turn helped them to increase productivity. Instead of having to create tasks, Salesforce does it for them. They log into Salesforce and see a list of tasks. Previously they would have to spend a significant amount of time to figure out those daily tasks with a possibility of tasks getting dropped from human error.
“The automation helped the team do more,” Mumphrey said. “They aren’t spending the time creating tasks. Instead, they can spend more time on the phone with the students.”
Seeing the Results
It is clear to the LSU Online team that task automation has drastically increased productivity across the organization. Following the automation, Spring 2022 goals were met and exceeded with LSU reaching 105% and 116% of internal application and admit goals. These statistics are made more impressive considering LSU Online was able to process double the number of applications for the Spring ’22 semester over the Fall ’21 term — leading to record-breaking numbers of fully-enrolled online students at LSU.
Keys to Success
With such incredible growth, Mumphrey shared why she thought the project was so successful: “It was valuable for the LSU Online team to get into Salesforce and start using it before we saw massive growth. It allowed us to understand how it did and didn’t work for our team and then take steps to make it sustainable and scalable to make this growth achievable. Once we have the process that works for us and is best for the student, we could automate that. I loved our implementation project; I love how Cloud for Good came in and it was smooth sailing throughout the whole thing.”