Enterprise Relationship Management
In 2016, the University successfully introduced Salesforce as an enterprise relationship management (ERM) solution. Because Salesforce was rolled out as an enterprise solution for the entire University, it is referred to as Pitt's enterprise relationship management (ERM) system. Salesforce is the industry-leading provider and is heavily utilized in the corporate world as well as in higher education. It is cloud-based and fully integrated with major University information systems such as the University Data Warehouse and the Student Information System (PeopleSoft).
What is an ERM System?
Customer 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 adopters of Salesforce 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 the recruiting functionality is underway for the regional campuses. Planning is also underway for the Office of Institutional Advancement and the Medical and Health Sciences Foundation.
What are the Benefits of an ERM?
Complete records of institutional communication/interaction with an individual helps to ensure that communications are not duplicated and that communication tasks can be effectively prioritized. This helps to 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
Salesforce, once fully leveraged, will serve as a single source of information on student interactions, allowing communication that can be tailored appropriately and providing data to departments to inform follow-up action and decision-making. This will support the University’s commitment to enhance student recruitment and retention efforts.
Significant savings will be realized when departments replace individual customer management or service desk systems with custom-crafted applications that utilize Salesforce. These savings will include software licensing, maintenance costs, and consolidated consulting support.
Integration with existing enterprise systems
The value of an ERM is enhanced by the inclusion of data from other enterprise systems holding student, faculty, and financial information, library system data, and course management information.
How Was Salesforce Chosen?
The Selection Committee for the Enterprise Relationship Management project was comprised of 19 individuals representing a broad range of operational areas within the University. Each representative was given the opportunity to nominate additional staff to assist with the gathering and documentation of requirements. Focus group sessions with these representatives were held from November 2015 to January 2016. More than 200 members of the University participated.
The results of these meetings identified 136 unique requirements for the chosen ERM solution. These requirements were forwarded to different vendors as part of a request-for-information process that kicked off the formal selection phase of the project. This process moved onto the request-for-proposal stage which was followed by evaluations of the top-ranking products by the committee.
University of Pittsburgh ERM Selection Committee
- James Baldwin, Vice President of Enrollment Management, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
- Fern Brody, Interim Director, University Library System
- Michele Colvard, Executive Director for Staff Personnel and Senior Assistant Dean, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
- Tom Crawford, Associate Vice Chancellor for Corporate and Foundation Relations, Institutional Advancement
- Chris Ferris, Executive Associate Athletic Director for External Operations, Athletics
- Laraine Hlatky, Associate Director of External Relations/Alumni Programs, Institutional Advancement
- Kellie Kane, Director of Operations and Strategic Planning, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
- Jason Killmeyer, HR Project and Data Manager, Human Resources
- Charmaine McCall, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, School of Law
- Joe Miksch, Interim Director of News Services, University Communication Services
- Gwen Pechan, Director of Information Technologies, Health Sciences of the University of Pittsburgh
- David Chao, Student Affairs
- Karri Rogers, Director of Administration, Katz Graduate School of Business
- Kannu Sahni, Director of Community Relations, Community and Governmental Relations
- Brian Vidic, Director of Technology Group, Swanson School of Engineering
- Jinx Walton, Chief Information Officer, Chair of the ERM Selection Committee
- Thurman Wingrove, Controller, Office of the Chief Financial Officer
- Travis Wisor, Senior Associate University Registrar, Office of the Registrar
- Jennifer Woodward, Associate Vice Provost for Research Operations