By Eric McCune

Dreamforce brings excitement, an Ohana reunion with Cloud for Good client, partners and friends and, of course, new product features and enhancement announcements. This year, the Education Cloud Keynote delivered new information on how Salesforce.org plans to service the higher education sector.  

Here is a first look at what was highlighted:  

General EDA Updates & Roadmap 

We’ve all seen the lifecycle image Salesforce uses to show the functionality the Education Data Architecture (EDA) supports.  At the keynote, we saw it updated to now show more functionality in: 

  • Recruiting & Admissions – Targeted ways to reduce summer melt Student Experience – Pre-advising services to ease student onboarding 
  • Advancement – continued development of Gift Entry Manager (GEM) 

 Diving deeper still, the Salesforce team shared the EDA Roadmap, including highlighting some features that were recently released: 

  • New objects have been added to EDA including Attributes (which can be used to track faculty licenses/certifications) and behavior management 
  • Peer level relationships have been added allowing Account to Account relationships 
  • New Application and Test Score objects will allow for external data (example, from the Common Application and/or SAT/ACT data) to be integrated into EDA in a standardized way 

And speaking of integrations, Salesforce.org announced additional investment into integrations for higher education and will be exploring best practices, recipes, and looking at APIs to make integration with legacy systems easier.

Recruiting & Admissions 

To respond to high demand to provide more out of the box support for recruiting and admissions, EDA will now include new custom objects to support the foundational needs of this use-case. Salesforce will take a lightweight approach to the inclusion of these new objects so customers can leverage them as a foundation and still be able to build additional configuration and customization on top. Objects will include Test, Test Score, and Application. 

Salesforce is actively gathering partner and customer feedback on these now and they are set to be released early 2020. Don’t hold your breath though – there is no specific date announced. We at Cloud for Good love this lightweight approach because our customers can choose if/when to implement this functionality when it is available, based on their Salesforce roadmap on campus. 

New dashboards from Einstein Analytics for Recruiting & Admissions 

Native Artificial Intelligence (AI) functionality is a huge differentiator for Salesforce, but some of the feedback they received was that it was too hard for customers to get started. To reduce that barrier of entry, Einstein Analytics customers will have access to templates and SAL Success Plan templates to serve as onboarding checklists for newly admitted students.  

SAL (Salesforce Advisor Link) 

As SAL functionality continues to expand, one of the announcements Salesforce was most excited about, because it was one of the most requested features was – Pathways. Pathways will help Advisors and Students clearly see things like, “What is a student’s degree path?” and “How can they graduate on time following this plan?” 

Advisors will also be excited about Advisor Link Queue Management which will simplify queue management for advising appointments. 

Trailhead

Trailhead continues to expand as well. With MyTrailhead, institutions can design customized learning journeys for Faculty/Staff and/or Students. Think about the impact branded Trails for students could have when they need to hit the ground running with financial aid, registering for classes, housing requests and so much more.

Advancement 

Here at Cloud for Good, we’re particularly excited about Gift Entry Manager and all of the great features that continue to be developed and released. One of the biggest announcements was Engagement Hub. Engagement Hub will help colleges and universities make the coveted transition from volunteer to donor that much easier. 

Think of Engagement Hub as similar to Philanthropy Cloud. It will leverage the power of personalization to render better content to volunteers, and will also allow for peer to peer reunion campaign management. 

Maybe the most exciting thing we heard was new functionality that will simplify and automate data management – including segmentation and de-duplication. The use-cases in higher ed are endless. Teams can use the Insights Platform to standardize addresses, lower costs through postal discounts, de-dupe, and merge records. 

GEM – Gift Entry Manager 

No conversation about Advancement with the Salesforce platform can be had without GEM.

Salesforce is investing heavily in continuing to develop the Accounting Subledger functionality that will ensure a seamless integration of donation information into financial systems. 

This will provide an additional layer of support for ledger entries, restrictions, and debits/credits – setting data up by the correct architecture in Salesforce.  While this, of course, will not replace your campuses’ finance system, it will help ensure all of your systems are in sync with important financial details. 

Sustainable Development Goals 

Like much of Dreamforce, the Education Cloud Keynote was aligned to the UN Sustainable Development goals. Especially, for education, goal #4 – Quality Education. Many of the Education Cloud new functionality announcements and product enhancements will support ensuring an inclusive and equitable education for all.

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Eric McCune

Eric McCune

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