Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How Post University is using Oracle CRM On Demand to serve students better

For the past five years, my team and I have continued to look for creative ways to support the university during a time of rapid growth.

First, some background. When I took over Post University's IT team in 2006, we began an overhaul of many outdated systems and processes to improve our ability to meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff.

Like many IT shops, we took a two-pronged approach. We squeezed as much life as we could from our existing systems, while searching for new solutions that would not only solve immediate problems, but allow for future growth and flexibility.

We've made many changes, but the recent implementation of Oracle's CRM On Demand product has already resulted in a more streamlined and efficient enrollment process for our students and all of the departments involved with the admissions process.

About eight months ago, we began the move to Oracle CRM On Demand, which is one of Oracle's flagship systems for customer relationship management. After extensively researching the market and demoing various CRM systems, we decided on Oracle CRM On Demand for its flexibility, ease of use, and advanced workflow and reporting capabilities.

We also chose CRM On Demand because we wanted more than a system. In Oracle and Apex IT (the consulting outfit that helped us with the implementation), we found two partners that would help us create a customized solution that could address our current and future needs.

Since Post University offers a traditional semester-based, on-campus experience, as well as a year-round accelerated degree program, we decided to take a phased approach to implementation. First, we rolled the system out for our online graduate admissions process.

Within just a few weeks, we realized improved workflow, requiring fewer manual hand-offs and leaving our admissions counselors more time to address students' needs. Put simply, CRM On Demand immediately enabled us to spend more time serving our students and less time serving our systems. That's a good thing.

One of things that has set Post University apart from other schools that offer online accelerated degree programs is our exceptional service. We wanted to be sure that as we continue to grow, we can continue to provide the level of personalized service that has become a hallmark of the university.

In June, we rolled out our CRM On Demand solution to the team that supports online undergraduate admissions. We again saw immediate benefits with improved call times and conversion rates.

In the coming months, we will deploy the CRM On Demand solution to our main campus admissions team, as well as to our student retention teams. After we've finished rolling it out to those parts of the university, we're going to see where else we can apply the power of process improvement using CRM On Demand.

When the folks at Oracle heard about how we were doing with the system, they asked me if I would provide a testimonial. I was happy to do so. They recently posted it on their website, which you can watch below. Oracle's Tony Berk also blogged about it last week.



We look forward to seeing the many other ways Oracle's CRM On Demand product will help us manage our growth while continuing to improve the level of service we can offer to students from the moment they contact us to long after they graduate.