| 4 minute read

Salesforce Supports Universities with Accelerating Digital Transformation and Deepening Stakeholder Relationships

Elena Galán-Muros

We warmly welcome Salesforce.org as one of the newest UIIN Business Group and organisational members! We had the pleasure of speaking with Jean PembletonIndustry Solutions Director of Higher Education Advancement, Scott GutowskiIndustry Solutions Director of Education Cloud, and Navneet JohalIndustry Solutions Director of Higher Education, Student ExperienceAll with backgrounds in education, Jean, Scott, and Navneet are committed to supporting universities in their digital transformation journeys.

Salesforce, the global CRM leader, enables companies of every size and industry to digitally transform with one, integrated CRM platform. In higher education, Salesforce empowers institutions to turn learner engagements into lifelong relationships with 360-degree views across the entire education journey. This requires in-depth understanding of the higher education sector, including digital transformation and technology initiatives and requirements. A main reason for Salesforce to join the UIIN community was to have the opportunity to directly interact with and hear about the issues faced by universities across the globe.

“The goal is to take a holistic approach to understanding the modern challenges universities are facing”, tells Jean. Salesforce provides a 360-degree view of constituents, which allows insights into all aspects of an institution and its engagement with faculty and staff, students, alumni donors, volunteers, and corporate entities.

An engaged and inspired faculty and staff, and great connections with a wider community, are going to help learners in the long run instead of it being a siloed effort”. 

With the pandemic forcing institutions to shift to online education, such holistic support in digital transformation is appreciated. “Learners and institutions are going through an evolution,” explains Scott. “We try to be proactive in our conversations with institutions as thought contributors rather than thought leaders, because most institutions are struggling with how to respond to this situation, questioning whether it is a temporary response, or if they are at a point of systematic evolution for the institution. And while being able to offer great tools and technologies to support this evolution, we also have the same curiosities as the institutions about what is going to stick.”

The Salesforce team believes learner success and institutional success go hand in hand. As Navneet emphasizes, “an engaged and inspired faculty and staff, and great connections with a wider community, are going to help learners in the long run instead of it being a siloed effort.” For many institutions, however, a new, digitally-transformed approach to making and nurturing these connections is required.

Many relationships have been managed through so-called ‘internal knowledge’: personal connections that are managed without a clear system or strategy behind it. Now that COVID-19 has accelerated universities’ desire and commitment to digital transformation, institutions are recognising the need to become more visible and to integrate corporate relations as part of a unified, strategic plan. Jean, Scott, and Navneet shared how important it is to reduce and eliminate the data silos that often exist, and provide universities with a holistic view of how corporations are engaging with universities with the ultimate goal of helping institutions focus on nurturing and building those relationships.

And this has worked out well – seeing the success stories across the teams that quickly come to mind. “Many universities are accelerating programs that they have wanted to do for some time, and are recognising the value of digitally transforming quickly,” tells Jean. Universities are recognising the opportunities to expand their corporate relations work while being more inclusive of other departments and making use of Salesforce’s technology for actionable reporting insights they were not able to access before.

Witnessing these rapid transformations, the Salesforce team is well-positioned to further develop and learn about how other universities are evolving and approaching industry partnerships, not only in North America, but globally.

Learning about how the situation plays out in Australia, New Zealand, India, Latin America, Asia broadly speaking, etc. – that is of interest, because although there are nuanced differences, I think that there are global commonalities that we would love to uncover, discover, and highlight”.

In the same way, the Salesforce team is happy to share experiences with other businesses within the UIIN community. Their main take-away? “We see the power of being able to leverage technology to deepen actual relationships. This disruption in the globe is providing an opportunity for technology to be a commonality that allows all boats to rise.” And that is the ultimate goal: Enabling all stakeholders and constituents — the learner, the institution and the industry partners — to be successful. Technology is indeed one critical part of that success.


Jean Pembleton, Scott Gutowski and Navneet Johal

To learn more about Salesforce, you can email Jean Pembleton.

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