A leading private research university partnered with Platinum Salesforce Consulting agency DEG to re-platform its student organization portal on Salesforce Experience Cloud community.

Each new school year invites college students to take a leap and begin their adventure. Often, it’s not the school itself, but rather the clubs and organizations students join and the people they meet that create an impact on their lives.

In the digital age, these students rely on the universities they attend to provide online resources for learning about these opportunities and connecting them with campus life. That’s why one New York university set out to update its student portal before the 2020 fall semester began.

The challenge

A leading private research university partnered with Platinum Salesforce Consulting agency DEG to re-platform its student organization portal and build a user-friendly Salesforce Experience Cloud community for all students.

The strategy

Understanding both the student and administrative needs of the portal was key to the project’s success. The university and DEG identified any pain points in the current student organization portal they wanted addressed in the new portal on Salesforce Experience Cloud. DEG also crafted a process for continuous communication between the developers and university decision makers, as well as one-week sprints for implementation and feedback to ensure the new portal met the university’s needs.

The private research university and DEG launched the new student organization portal along with training materials on the first day of freshman orientation.

The solution

First, DEG implemented Salesforce Experience Cloud, integrating it with Service Cloud, and providing demonstrations to the university team. During these demonstrations, even in unrefined stages, DEG and the university identified potential issues that were then solved in later iterations of the portal.

The solution included a specific type of community portal designed for student clubs on campus (e.g., debate club, sports clubs, and student government). Salesforce Experience Cloud gave students the ability to search and browse all clubs on both university campuses, join any clubs that interested them, and engage in conversations with other students within their clubs.

DEG provided each club with a custom-built page to display organizational details to the community and university with a club-specific account record in Service Cloud. Each time a student joins a club on the Experience Cloud portal, Salesforce Service Cloud creates a record linking the students contact record to that club’s account record. DEG’s developers also set up a lot of automation behind the scenes for club and student account creation to reduce the university’s manual labor as much as possible.

University club leaders also needed the ability to manage budgets, so DEG built a custom solution for these users to submit budgets to student-led budget committees. These committees could then approve or reject budget requests, and administrators could report and view all these activities without leaving the portal.

To manage student government elections within the same platform, DEG built a custom solution to consolidate all elections in Salesforce and launch it as a single election. Based on the user level, students viewed their class-year election ballot and voted only on the positions and initiatives for their class. Then, Salesforce collected all that data for university staff to see results in real-time and pull a report whenever necessary.

Finally, DEG and the university asked students to provide feedback to make the portal easy and fun to use for all.

The outcome

The private research university and DEG launched the new student organization portal along with training materials on the first day of freshman orientation, hitting the target launch day and providing students with a mobile-responsive site to get involved on campus.

Immediately, students began customizing club pages, adding descriptions and pictures, posting, and asking questions of student leaders. A couple of weeks following the launch, students voted in the first round of elections, and the solution tabulated 2,355 votes for candidates across the university’s two campuses.

Now, more than 6,700 students have registered and created more than 200 club organization pages on the portal, embracing New York as their campus and the university as their school.

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