Higher Education Data Architecture at Dreamforce

11/14/2018 by Linda Adams
This year’s Dreamforce Education Cloud Keynote focused on higher ed institutions and how they are improving and modernizing the student experience through Salesforce and the Higher Education Data Architecture (HEDA). Now, let’s get into the highlights of what we saw and how HEDA, the star of the show, made it all possible.

If you haven’t yet come across the Higher Education Data Architecture, it’s likely that you will soon; as of this year’s Dreamforce, over 800 organizations are using the architecture to provide a connected student experience. This is particularly important since today’s students not only have high expectations of customized digital interactions, but these customizations must also be tailored to the most diverse group of students we’ve seen yet. With HEDA, educational institutions such as those presented at the keynote, University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Dallas County Community College District, are able to hit the ground running in their goal of providing a high level of service to their students.

So what exactly is HEDA? As you might have guessed from the name, HEDA is an architecture built on top of Salesforce that is specifically designed to help higher education institutions get the most out of the platform, whether that be tracking your faculty’s courses, student enrollment in them, or your alumni connections. This architecture helps you accomplish these common tasks by providing customizations on standard Salesforce objects, as well as additional custom objects, and a wealth of documentation on best practices and common uses through the Power of Us HUB. Of course, no institution is exactly the same, so while HEDA provides you with a great base and functionality to track and see what you need to, it’s fully customizable and flexible to match your needs.

Now back to the innovative Trailblazers using HEDA to reimagine the student experience - how have they built on top of this foundation? The first of the Trailblazers highlighted at the keynote, University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, combined the Higher Education Data Architecture with Salesforce Communities and another higher-ed specific solution built on the Salesforce platform: Salesforce Advisor Link. Salesforce Advisor Link, also known as SAL, was built to facilitate an institution’s advising needs within Salesforce. With features such as success teams, a unified advising record, appointments, and mass actions, as well as tailored analytics and insights, SAL is key in connecting staff and students and keeping learners engaged. Beyond HEDA, SAL, and Communities, Dean Allan Stam and Director of IT Scott Adams also spoke to their experience of combining Einstein with all of their data. This has allowed them to make amazing predictions, such as the likelihood of enrollment based on factors such as attending UVA’s famous Batten Chili Cook-off.

The next incredible Trailblazer showcased at the keynote is the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD). Joe May, Chancellor of DCCCD, and Mark Flanagan, Director, IT, Innovation, and Solutions for the Dallas County Promise, spoke about how they are using HEDA to improve outcomes for high school graduates. The architecture provides DCCCD with actionable, organized data that allows staff to dedicate their time where it’s needed most - with the students and parents of their institution. And since this clear data is able to quickly yield insights, such as which students may benefit most from support, obstacles are able to be identified and addressed faster than ever before. In addition to HEDA, DCCCD has employed blockchain technology to create a secure and unified record for their students.

The Higher Education Data Architecture is powerful yet flexible, and the above Trailblazers have shown how you, too, can make the most of it. Thanks to HEDA, the next generation of learners can have a student experience more connected and accessible than ever before. For a more in-depth recap of this session, please see my “Trust and Transformation with Salesforce.org Education Cloud” post on Salesforce.org.

Are you involved with a university investing in tech? Tell me about your experiences on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Trailblazer Community, or directly on Twitter at @linda_adams646.

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