Salesforce Org merge yields benefits

In 2019, leadership from the Salesforce Recruitment Org1, which included several schools, approached the ITS Salesforce Center of Excellence (SFCOE) and Student Life Technology Solutions (SLTS) to discuss merging the Salesforce Recruitment Org with Student Life’s Student Org.

Conversations took place at both the leadership and technical levels, leading to the conclusion that merging the two Salesforce orgs would result in an economy of scale and foster collaboration that would benefit all units involved. A cost-sharing budget model was developed that would allow the combined org to purchase a higher level of service than the orgs were able to afford on their own.

College of Engineering contributed a project manager to oversee the org merge project. SFCOE agreed to handle the technical aspects required to bring the two Salesforce orgs together. The focus shifted to the business processes of the Recruitment Org as all parties collaborated to document the current state and plan for the future state as part of the Student Org.

Much of the project’s implementation time was dedicated to managing data. The data schema of the Student Org expanded to incorporate new objects and fields required by the recruitment units. To facilitate this, SFCOE developed a data import tool that allows the recruitment units to independently upload data into the system.

Attention to detail was crucial during the transition of data from the Recruitment Org to the Student Org. The project adopted a phased approach to transitioning units to the Student Org, ensuring that everything was functioning correctly for each unit before proceeding to the next one. Recruitment Org units began transitioning to the Student Org in late 2020, with all units completed by early 2021.

Additionally, SFCOE created integrations using Informatica Cloud to automatically import students and prospective students from the campus data warehouse into the Student Org. This integration was a significant advancement for overall data quality and integrity over previous manual processes.

Member units of the Student Org use Marketing Cloud, another Salesforce product, to send emails to prospective students, current students, faculty/staff, and other external contacts.

This year, the Marketing Cloud instance connected to the Student Org has been instrumental in sending over eight million emails to over one million contacts. Growth is expected to continue next year, with over ten million email sends anticipated to reach one-and-a-half million contacts.

Current members of the Student Org include the School for Environment and Sustainability, College of Engineering, Stamps School of Art & Design, School of Nursing, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Ford School of Public Policy, and, of course, Student Life.

Collaboration between the recruitment units and SLTS is primarily facilitated through the Technical Advisory Group (TAG). This group meets every other week to discuss potential changes to the Student Org environment, best practices, policy, and support needs.

TAG includes representatives from each unit in the Student Org and cultivates a collective approach to supporting each other’s work. This collegiality extends beyond formal meetings to gatherings at local watering holes for happy hour.

Together, TAG, SLTS, and SFCOE created a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts: the Salesforce Student Org.

  1. Individual instances of Salesforce are called “organizations” or “orgs” for short. When referring to the Recruitment org and the Student org, it’s distinguishing between those two Salesforce instances. The Salesforce Student Org should also not be confused with student organizations, i.e., campus affinity groups created by students that include The Squirrel Club, The Michigan Blacksmithing Club, or any of the hundreds of other student organizations available on campus. ↩︎

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