Salesforce Advisor Link, a watershed in student management.
For years now we’ve been hearing that higher education is changing.
There are numerous events that reveal the competition between colleges and universities for the same students.
Increasingly, students are incorporating new variables into selecting the university which will be the door to their future, such as technology and user experience.
Many universities have already realised that the change includes a technological revolution and see Salesforce as a platform to give them the complete picture from recruitment/admission through to alumni for a major competitive advantage.
As you know, Salesforce has data models geared at specific sectors. One of them is higher education, with the HEDA model. Review the benefits of HEDA in this link.
This week’s post is dedicated to the new Salesforce Advisor Link functionality, or SAL as it is commonly known.
It’s definitely a major step forward and one that will be a watershed in student management for the duration of their studies.
If I cast my mind back to my uni days -and I have to go quite a long way back I must say- the first thing I remember is the sheer amount of paper needed for any procedure, endless queuing at the secretary’s office to book a time to see the tutor, queuing for any type of monitoring… and I certainly never had the feeling there was any customised advice just for me, Sara Mesonero.
What is Salesforce Advisor Link and what is it used for?
The Advisor’s Experience
To perform their role, advisors normally have to access several digital systems and search through papers to monitor students “completely”. Add to this the fact that they often have other roles within the university and there’s little time left to do a proper job of providing the personalised advice that every student needs. The result is that it becomes more of an administrative formality than a quality, customised service.
Salesforce Advisor Link means advisors have only one data source and establishes a communication channel between them and their students that facilitates management and brings value to the sessions between the two.
It means advisors can focus on what really matters, report and scale their advice, and build trusting relationships.
Below we identify the 6 benefits SAL brings to the role of advisor.
A single vision is not usually offered because of the large number of systems a university has – normally with no connection between them. But with SAL, anyone can see what’s happening with students without needing to access additional systems.
The advisory team may consist of one or more individuals depending on how the mentoring program is established.
It enables fluid communication for mentors and students as they can see answers to their questions, solutions to their problems and the person they should address – all from the one place.
Standardised work procedures are established among all the mentors to unify goals and enable everyone to work the same way.
Alerts and Notifications
You can stay ahead of potential risks and formalities with your students.
Whether manual, detected by one mentor to alert another team member, or automatic (arising from the management of other systems such as SIS, LMS or Salesforce itself), this will facilitate more effective delivery of the advisor’s work.
Meetings can be planned easily by mentor and student alike, from a browser or mobile device, and reminders can be sent.
Advisors can define session topics, establish availability and manage their day, consult notes and prepare sessions from a single location. Students can request a meeting, modify it and add sessions to their calendar from their phone.
Take notes and upload files that facilitate student and mentor follow-up. An all-round view lets you take the necessary steps, assigning or sharing tasks between teams.
Thanks to Salesforce Advisor Link, the same message can be sent to various students who meet the right criteria, meaning advisors can create mass actions and monitoring tasks or tasks for students, saving valuable time and ensuring that students are clear on the next steps and plans for success.
The Student’s Experience
Students need systems that enable easier:
- Management: to request class or timetable changes, seek a dossier or change of tutor, report an issue, etc.
- Follow-up: they want to know how their request is going, pick up dossiers, apply for scholarships, transfers and work experience placements, etc.
- Accessibility: students can request, track and cancel things from their phone in the same way as from a browser.
Because SAL is developed on the Salesforce platform students can access it whenever they need it from an iPhone or Android device and get information right away.
Some of the Salesforce Advisor Link benefits for students are:
- Single point of contact: Through the student portal they can access information and view key points regarding their mentoring program. The portal is mobile-friendly and lets them not only view but create and edit key information and requests.
- Visibility of the assigned advisor or advisory team: whether they have a single advisor or a number of people. It lets them know their contact points based on their advisory function: technological, academic or tuition fee incidents, scholarships, mobility, etc. In fact, depending on the type of consultation, the team or individual will be assigned automatically.
- Booking meetings: Endless queues, getting to the office before it opens to secure follow-up, constant emails, having to sign a noticeboard to get notifications and schedule changes, etc. are a thing of the past. With SAL, students simply select a meeting time, review feedback sent by their tutors, communicate and time-manage efficiently and productively, without worrying about misplacing slips of paper or not getting notifications – and all without wasting time.
- Self-help: Through the portal, students can access the help section with information on campus FAQs, both general (documentation, campus map, administrative procedures, etc.) and segmented by student type (my subjects, my course, my calendar, etc.). As a single point of contact, they can use the portal to see what tasks their advisor has assigned and start a dialogue if they have any questions.
Most universities have numerous systems: ERP, SIS, LMS, etc., and this is not going to replace them because they each have their role, but what is needed is an umbrella system whereby students, teachers, tutors and campus staff can work to build the single student vision from the time they start their studies through to when they end. And this umbrella is definitely Salesforce using the HEDA data model and SAL functionality.
One of its advantages is that the Salesforce platform is customizable and includes additional functionalities that can connect the entire university campus.
Attached see a map of the SAL architecture.
Because the Salesforce Advisor Link functionality is built on HEDA architecture, it gives colleges, business schools and universities a complete view of the student across all the areas where they have a point of contact to escort and guide them along the wonderful and vastly important journey that is education.
At S4G Consulting we are strongly committed to the education sector, as shown by the numerous clients we have throughout Spain who we have helped with consulting and projects to improve the student vision.
We have already started to propose Salesforce Advisor Link to a number of universities and business schools, specifically in Madrid and Barcelona, for the many benefits it will bring them, and I hope to be able to share them with you shortly.