Enterprise Relationship Management
In 2016, the University successfully introduced Salesforce as an enterprise relationship management (ERM) system for the entire University. Salesforce is the world’s No. 1 CRM provider, used by more than 150,000 companies, as well as within higher education. The cloud-based solution is integrated with Pitt’s major information systems, such as the University Data Warehouse and the Student Information System (PeopleSoft).
What is an ERM System?
Enterprise relationship management software organizes information in a centrally-accessible system and makes it available for a wide range of uses—including service desk, contact management, strategic forecasting, and event planning. The first University adopter of ERM was the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, who use the powerful interface to support undergraduate recruiting for the Pittsburgh campus. Pitt IT has also implemented Salesforce as a service desk solution, replacing a dated ticket management interface that had been in service since 1997.
Expansion of recruiting functionality is underway for the regional campuses, while planning is also taking place for the Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement (Institutional Advancement).
What are the Benefits of an ERM?
Complete records of institutional communication and interaction with an individual helps ensure that communications are not duplicated and can be effectively prioritized. This helps prevent experiences where a senior leader of the University thinks that he or she is introducing a topic to an individual—only to find out later that the person had already talked to someone else from Pitt, at length, about the same topic.
Stronger student support
ERM, once fully leveraged, will serve as a single source of information on student interactions, allowing communication to be tailored appropriately and providing data to departments for informed follow-up action and decision-making. This will enhance student recruitment and retention efforts.
Departments will save significantly when they replace individual customer management or service desk systems with custom-crafted applications that utilize Salesforce. These savings include software licensing, maintenance costs, and consolidated consulting support.
Integration with existing enterprise systems
The value of an ERM is enhanced by including data from other enterprise systems that hold student, faculty, financial, and course management information, as well as library system data.
How Was Salesforce Chosen?
Salesforce was chosen as the University's Enterprise Relationship Management system by a committee of 19 individuals from different University areas, including Human Resources, Swanson School of Engineering, the University Library System, and the Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement. The requirements-gathering and selection process took place over the course of ten months, beginning in November of 2015.