Salesforce Education Cloud is a collection of objects and tools that aims to streamline processes for students, teachers, and beyond. This translates into increased personalization for student experiences, learning paths, and more.
Education Cloud is built on the EDA (Education Data Architecture). This superseded the Higher Education Pack (HEDA), which was launched in 2016. At Dreamforce ‘22, we were introduced to the magic that is Salesforce Genie and the potential it has for the education sector.
So what can Salesforce actually do for students and staff? Let’s find out!
What Is Salesforce Education Cloud?
As mentioned earlier, Salesforce Education Cloud is sometimes referred to as Salesforce for Higher Education, and it’s a collection of objects and solutions that streamline processes for students and teachers.
By combining different elements on the Salesforce platform, it allows users to manage all their data from one place. This translates to the increased personalization of student experiences, learning paths, and opportunities for the future, maximizing the amount of support that teachers can give.
Education Cloud provides a 360-degree view of student and institutional data. This means that staff can see everything related to a student and their academic journey, including what and where they study, the staff they interact with day to day, and much more.
Having all of this information to hand means that staff can focus on how to improve a student’s experience and offer them more opportunities for the future without worrying about the process becoming too time-consuming or expensive. After all, less time spent focusing on this equals more time for teaching and learning!
Why Use Salesforce Education Cloud?
The “typical” student of the modern world no longer looks like one specific thing, and it probably never will again. Changing economic statuses, fast-shifting work environments, and the continued boom of technology has transformed the student experience for everyone involved.
Teachers need to think not only about how a student progresses academically, but also about what affects them too. Mental health struggles, financial issues, technological constraints, and family situations are elements that are finally being recognized as part of what shapes a student’s success.
Supporting students and delivering high quality education is a priority that has never changed though, which is why Salesforce’s approach is to make sure that these aspects – as well as the “more modern ones” – are met.
The Education Data Architecture (EDA)
One of the most notable aspects of Education Cloud is that it works to connect students; connecting them to teachers, potential employers, tutors, and each other.
The Education Data Architecture (EDA) is a pre-built data model, designed for the education sector. This is the backbone of the collaboration between education partners and the customer community.
With its objects, and object relationship, the EDA supports institutes to connect each student account to an administrative account, and shows a clear record of any student addresses, relationships, and affiliations.
See the full list of EDA objects and fields here.
Salesforce Education Cloud vs. Managed Packages (Or Custom!)
Education Cloud isn’t the only solution on the market for institutions using Salesforce. There are also managed packages developed by third parties, which sit on top of standard Salesforce orgs like a skin.
While these packages work for some institutions, the collection of objects doesn’t always gel well with the way Salesforce shifts as time goes on. Managing relationships between multiple custom objects becomes cumbersome.
Of course, you are free to build your own custom solution. What you may save in the short term could come back to bite you in terms of maintenance. As Salesforce innovates, they will keep Education Cloud innovating alongside the platform as a whole.
Salesforce for Higher Education Features
The detailed view can help staff lead students along academic paths that are fit for them, and guide them to their next steps beyond education as well.
- Admissions Connect: Admissions CRM technology that brings together admissions management and applicant engagement on one platform.
- Salesforce Student Success Hub for Higher Education: A platform to bring students, staff, and faculty together through effective support, collaboration, and connection.
- Accounting Subledger: A system that pulls your fundraising data and your accounting data together, increasing transparency between the nonprofit sector and the education sector.
- Elevate: Salesforce.org Elevate is an integrated selection of fundraising solutions. Note that this is only available for US users and that users outside the US can make use of the Salesforce ecosystem.
- Experience Cloud: This other Salesforce product can work together with Education Cloud to set up projects like an alumni resource center for graduates to get them connected to postgraduate opportunities.
Salesforce Genie for Education
Salesforce announced the release of Salesforce Genie at Dreamforce ‘22. The big buzz around Genie is the fact that everything happens in real time, which means that there’s minimal delay in executing a user’s needs. It also spans the whole Salesforce platform (Customer 360) so it collates all data from an organization’s sources, and can be used to drive any action, interaction, or insight across different areas such as sales, commerce, and more.
Salesforce Genie will also help make connecting Education Cloud and Experience Cloud (mentioned previously) a lot easier.
So, what does this mean for education? Well, as we now know, Salesforce Genie combines real-time Flow automation, Einstein AI, and the Genie Hyperscale Data platform to help users effortlessly manage data, find leads, and keep track of processes.
As reported by Salesforce’s Digital Skills Index, 76% of the workforce feels unprepared for the future of work. Combine this with the fact that last year, 47% of students selected their institution for career prospects, it becomes evident that an academic institution’s responsibility is to deliver clear career progression.
Enter Lifelong Learning – the key focus of the Salesforce Education Cloud. Students not only need support when they enroll and during their studies, but also after they graduate.
That’s why personalization, streamlined communication, and data grouping is so important here. Personalization can mean that staff can use Salesforce to keep track of a student’s classes and what their career goals are, subsequently sending them dedicated career emails with jobs that might suit them. It can also mean creating an in-house institution chat service to help students with career queries and study questions – all in real-time and in one place.
Dreamforce ‘22 Education Keynote
The power of Salesforce Genie and Education was first revealed at the Education Keynote at Dreamforce ‘22. Geshri Gunasekera, VP of Education Cloud Product Marketing for Salesforce, said that it was a pivotal time for this kind of innovation as students have made it known that they want an education experience where they feel valued.
“Students want to invest in an educational experience that has a return in the form of long term employability.”
Gunasekera demonstrated some of the ways in which Genie can transform the student experience. This includes combining first- and third-party data with existing data to “yield a new unified student platform”, and sending out prompted alerts, messages, and notifications in real time.
Alongside these features, there are other ways that Salesforce is looking out for students both on and off the platform:
- Innovation: There will be three new releases on the platform per year and a partner ecosystem to connect with.
- Connection to Trailhead: 1.2K+ free modules on Trailhead, plus the Trailhead Academy.
- Trailblazer Community: 7K active education members and Customer Councils.
- Career Development for Your Students: 9.3M new Salesforce economy jobs by 2026.
What Impacts Has Education Cloud Delivered?
Employability after an education journey is arguably the ultimate goal after student satisfaction. Most higher education institutions like universities are even graded on their employability prospects for students, so the more supported students feel, the better.
So, how has Salesforce’s Education Cloud had an impact on these? Well, according to a report by Forrester Consulting:
- Exceeded enrollment goals by 7% to 11%: Some institutions reported having the highest enrollment numbers ever.
- Better student experiences = higher retention rates: Education Cloud helped improve student experiences and make them want to stay in education.
- 12% increased productivity between administrative and academic teams: By streamlining processes, staff could get more done for their student bodies.
- 195% return on investment (ROI): With a net present value (NPV) of $7.8M, showing not only how physically impactful Education Cloud is, but also how profitable.
A technology innovation officer that was part of the study said:
“We’re not a small business. We can’t use a mini CRM. We need an enterprise platform, and Salesforce is the leader in that space.”
Education Cloud is definitely a powerful tool for supporting students throughout all stages of their academic journey. Although Salesforce may have started off as a CRM, it is now a pivotal resource for boosting student success.
Many people can agree that, when you get to higher education, e.g. college or university, things really start ramping up. Once you get the ball rolling, you can expect a lot of emails from your chosen institution to be crowding out your inbox.
With all this information being sorted for so many students every year, it’s natural for things to go wrong; horror stories of receiving schedules the day before starting, or being enrolled on the wrong course altogether are, unfortunately, all-too-common occurrences! This makes a tool like Education Cloud all the more important.