Customer Care Project

Customer care
2200 people affected
300 people managed
18 month project

Project Description

Challenge

As one of North America’s largest degree-granting institutions for business, technology, healthcare and management education, we needed a comprehensive system to manage student inquiries and the University application through course registration process. As part of this, we needed a more complete view of a student’s admissions process, from initial inquiry through testing/placement, application acceptance/denial, financial aid processing and eventual course registration. A key component was to ensure we rapidly respond to inquiries from prospective students while streamlining the admissions process. We previously had been using an on-premise Oracle CRM product, but we needed a more flexible, workflow enabled system that could easily expand into all aspects of the Student lifecycle to provide excellent customer service.

Solution

We conducted an RFP and evaluated SaaS, Hosted, and on-premise vendors. We chose salesforce.com for its comprehensive feature set, requirements match for our admissions processes, integration capabilities, easy of use, compelling Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), scalability, flexible development environment and fit with future planned releases as part of our multi-year program strategy.

We successfully delivered the new system in May of 2010, which corresponded with our business’s busiest time of the year. We trained over 2,800 people on the system in 94+ locations, and we converted/imported more than 15 million records into the salesforce.com environment. We customized the user interface to display relevant student information to advisors – including application information, interviews, testing/placement results, financial aid status, and much more. We also integrated with both DeVry and partner Web sites, while also integrating with multiple DeVry on-premise back-office applications to provide a seamless student admissions process. A very complex piece of the solution was the building of customized workflows with hundreds of rules to automate the routing of student inquiries to the right advisor based on degree program being pursued, nearest campus location, modality (online/onsite), University requested (DeVry University, Chamberlain College of Nursing, Keller Graduate School), and pursuing degree type (Bachelor, Masters, Doctorate, Associate).

We believe we may done more system integrations with this rollout than any other salesforce.com customer too date. We developed over 40 separate integrations to a variety of other cloud systems, and on-premise systems such as:

  • Eloqua for marketing and response automation (www.eloqua.com, cloud-to-cloud integration)
  • IBM’s Initiate platform for de-duplication, address standardization, and master data management (www.initiate.com, cloud to on-premise integration)
  • PossibleNOW for “do not contact” compliance (www.possiblenow.com, cloud to on-premise to cloud integration)
  • SunGard Higher Education’s Banner student information system (SIS) for admissions/registration (www.sungardhe.com, cloud to on-premise integration)
  • Cognos for advanced analytics and reporting (www.cognos.com, cloud to on-premise integration)
  • Microsoft Active Directory for single sign on (cloud to on-premise integration)
  • ProSAM for financial aid processing (www.sigmasys.com, cloud to on-premise integration)
  • Sallie Mae for credit card processing (cloud to cloud integration)
  • We also integrated with another salesforce.com Org that we have for B2B relationship management with companies and high schools (cloud to cloud integration)

The majority of these integration points were orchestrated through our enterprise integration architecture built upon the Oracle Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and Oracle Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) products (www.oracle.com). We employed a service oriented (SOA) architecture using Web Services as the primary integration technique; with a few secure FTP/batch XML payload integrations as well due to vendor limitations.

Results

By automating previously manual processes we reduced costs and increased efficiencies. The benefits achieved were:

  • Eliminated need to manually match advisors with prospective students, and automating numerous manual steps, saving $3.1 million annually in administrative staff
  • Increased the volume of student applications by easing the process for both prospective students and advisors
  • Decreased the average time to respond to students by 4000%
  • Decreased the time needed to complete the final application process from 10-15 minutes to 3 minutes

Ancillary Benefits

Since going live, we have also deployed 3 custom force.com applications within our salesforce.com environment. These force.com applications leverage existing data, objects, security model and/or web services to meet their objectives, allowing us to achieve re-use and speed to market. These 3 applications include Nursing Clinical Rotation Tracking, Classroom Attendance, and Health Care IT Rotation Tracking.

Lessons Learned

Ensure you have the key leadership in place before starting the project. We ended up having to replace both the DeVry leader and the consulting leader after a few months. Once we replaced the leadership with more individuals with better leadership skills (especially communication & decision making), more large program management experience, and better culture fit, the project went great.  We also should have replaced our integration platform with a more modern one that better supported web services. We made our integration platform work, but it's lack of modern integration capabilities slowed down the project and caused us to not get much re-use. We eventually had to replace the integration platform a couple years later after launch.

Highlights

received recognition / award
support from colleagues

Difficulties

large no. of people impacted
cost overrun
hard to meet schedule
reporting

Technical Skills Used

  • Java
  • Web Services
  • force.com
  • Eloqua scripting
  • Unix
  • Oracle Database
  • SQL and PL/SQL
  • VisualForce
  • Downers Grove41.8089-88.0112

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