Patriot Connect FAQs

Browse frequently asked questions to learn more about the Patriot Connect program.

Communications and Engagement

How will I know what is going on with the program? Where can I find updates and how often should I expect them?

You can stay up-to-date with the Mason Patriot Connect program by completing the Stakeholder Engagement Form and selecting “Program Notifications” to receive updates via email. Mason is committed to ensuring that users have a seat at the table as we work with Accenture to build, configure, and launch the new Salesforce tools. Engagement from day-to-day users will be critical to ensure our success in this space.

Who will be part of the teams that build, pilot, and implement the new products?

Many members of the community are already involved in Patriot Connect. Mason is partnering with Accenture to build and configure Student Success, a mass communications tool, and Recruitment and Admissions. Faculty, staff, and student input will be crucial at all stages of this process.

I feel like I have something to contribute to the Patriot Connect program. How do I get involved?

If you would like to learn more or get involved, please contact your unit liaisonemail the Patriot Connect program management team, or complete the Stakeholder Engagement Form.

Will students across all Mason campuses be included in program implementation?

Yes, Mason is seeking to be as inclusive as possible during this process, and that means ensuring that all students, regardless of campus and location, will be represented.

What is the staffing plan for the Patriot Connect program, both for implementation and long-term support?

Mason has already hired several Patriot Connect specialists for our existing software. In addition to the current staff, our partners at Accenture will do additional development and customization of the new suite of tools. Mason intends to hire additional staff to maintain and improve the system. Exact details on those positions will depend on future needs.

What role will the colleges play in the development and implementation of these products?

Mason’s colleges and schools will play a significant role in the transition to Patriot Connect. There will be many opportunities to engage with varying levels of commitment required—from viewing a demonstration of the product and offering feedback, to providing user or business requirements to designated Patriot Connect liaisons.

Does Salesforce have implementation specialists we could work with in place of hiring an implementation partner?

While Salesforce has a professional services arm, they often defer to third-party implementers to run specific projects. Salesforce often assigns an architect to oversee and review the work being done. We have planted the seed with Salesforce that we would like assistance, given that Education Cloud is new.

What can the associate deans do to help?

Please encourage your representatives to complete the preparation documentation (requirements validation and business process documentation).


Schedule and Timeline

What is the timeline for the Patriot Connect program? When will my work in one of the current systems be impacted?

There will be several phases to the project. We expect to be designing and piloting Student Success in 2024-25. The exact campus-wide rollout date will depend on development and testing. Users will have plenty of time to be trained on the new systems as we replace legacy systems like Navigate.

Some of the functions I hope for in Patriot Connect are not named in this implementation. Will there be additional phases?

The goal of this initiative is to consolidate the systems used to support student engagement, from admissions through graduation, for both undergraduate and graduate populations. The project will first focus on a set of key functions, with priority placed on maintaining aspects of legacy systems that are important to most faculty, staff, and students. Once this phase of the project is complete, additional opportunities for enhancement will be possible.



Salesforce products bring a lot of new opportunities, but also can require some specialized training. How will training and onboarding be supported?

We are excited about all the opportunities this implementation brings and know that we'll need strong training and development options to ensure a successful transition. In partnership with Accenture, this will be one of our primary areas of focus as we leverage tools available through Salesforce for training, including free resources available via Salesforce Trailhead, as well as building our own in-house training resources.


Student Success

I currently use Navigate to support my work in academic advising. How will this be impacted?

We are excited about continuing existing important functions of Navigate in Patriot Connect, as well as the opportunity for enhanced capabilities and functions using the new system. Academic Advising, Success Coaching, and other student services are core to the functionality in Student Success and will be of the highest priority in building and piloting the new space.

Will the Graduate Education community be able to use Patriot Connect for advising and mentoring?

As part of the strategy to create a more connected student experience, we anticipate the Graduate Division and partners to expand their current use of Salesforce into Patriot Connect, part of our newly recognized system of student engagement, which will include advising and mentoring services.

Will all records in Navigate be brought over to Student Success?

Our implementation partner, Accenture, will help us export and move all relevant data from Navigate into Patriot Connect. We will communicate more information about how stakeholders can expect to see and use this data at a future date.

Does Patriot Connect offer scheduling functionality?

Patriot Connect supports self-service appointment scheduling for students, as well as manual scheduling for staff.

Will all academic advising use Patriot Connect?

Yes, Patriot Connect will support academic advising across the institution.

Does Patriot Connect apply to the Early Identification Program (EIP)?

Currently, Patriot Connect will focus on supporting entering and current students. As the EIP is primarily in the pre-enrollment space, the students in 8-12th grades will not be included in the system from a student services perspective in the initial iteration. Any services the EIP provides to currently enrolled Mason students may be included in Patriot Connect.



How will data be structured and organized in Patriot Connect? Who will have access to the data?

Balancing data functionality with data security is a top priority for the Salesforce Executive Committee, as well as the Salesforce Center of Excellence (Salesforce CoE), the governing body for Patriot Connect at Mason. Final decisions regarding design and access have not yet been made, but Mason will follow all required federal, state, and institutional rules and regulations regarding access to student information.

How is Patriot Connect different from Banner? Won’t they both house student data?

Banner acts as the "system of record" for the university, holding information related to a student’s application, program of study, semester schedules, grades, and other critical information. Patriot Connect, and connected products (Student Success, a mass communications tool, Recruitment and Admissions, Stellic, etc.) will help to enhance the student experience by bringing together various sources of data that currently exist in disparate systems to create a more connected student lifecycle. Banner will remain the university’s system of record, and Patriot Connect will be Mason’s system of student engagement.

What is the "student lifecycle"?

The student lifecycle is the journey that students take from pre-enrollment through retention and student engagement and then on to graduation and post-baccalaureate achievement.

I understand this change is focused on the student lifecycle. If I am doing non-student related business and have a use for one of these products, will I be able to access it?

The current implementation is focused primarily on the student lifecycle. Additional uses of Salesforce are under consideration and may be adopted in further phases of the project, depending on applicability and scope.

How will Mason’s Salesforce-first commitment impact future technology purchases across the university?

As a Salesforce-first institution, we are dedicated to ensuring that Salesforce aligns with the technological needs of our university. Units interested in acquiring technology solutions should consider how Salesforce can support business needs.

Please contact the program management team for a collaborative discussion tailored to your unit’s requirements.

How will Stellic and Patriot Connect work together?

Patriot Connect and Stellic will be used together to help students and advisors visualize and design degree plans for students to improve the student experience and graduation outcomes.

Will information in the current systems (notes in Navigate, applications in TargetX) be transferred to the new space for historical context?

Yes, part of Accenture’s responsibility will be to identify all data needing to migrate from the current systems to the new system. We anticipate transferring information from the current Navigate system to Patriot Connect, in accordance with a detailed, vetted, and thorough schedule and transition plan.

How will events (currently hosted in TargetX) for prospective and entering students be managed in the new products?

We will put in place the three major platforms named in the announcement (Student Success, a mass communications tool, and Recruitment and Admissions) alongside additional plug-in products, to meet all needs, including Outlook calendar integration, event registrations, and other fundamental needs.

Does this product replace any student-facing products, such as PatriotWeb?

None of these products will replace PatriotWeb, which is a direct Banner interface. However, experiences such as booking an appointment with an advisor or success coach will migrate from Navigate to Patriot Connect. We expect that Patriot Connect will also offer a “window” into important student information, such as transcripts and degree planning tools, which will reduce the number of tabs and logins needed for academic planning.

Will this new product impact the admission application review process?

Mason is moving from the TargetX system to Recruitment and Admissions. There will be some admissions processes, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, that will change. Because the data already resides in the TargetX Salesforce environment, the impact to the application review process is expected to be less than previous product transitions. However, prior to transitioning to Recruitment and Admissions, there will be a period of user acceptance testing and training.

How will the Patriot Connect program connect to the activities of Advancement and the GMU Foundation?

The GMUF instance of Salesforce and this new, student-centric Salesforce instance we are calling Patriot Connect will not initially be connected, but given the ease of Salesforce-to-Salesforce integrations, that is a possibility in the future.

Will Patriot Connect replace MicroStrategy?

MicroStrategy will remain Mason's official reporting tool. While Patriot Connect will become the university's system of student engagement, Banner is still Mason's official system of record. MicroStrategy is a tool that takes a point-in-time snapshot of Banner data and allows users to view that data in actionable ways. Through Patriot Connect, Salesforce offers a robust suite of reporting options, and those reports can be used to help inform our day-to-day work. However, Salesforce reports should not be used in lieu of an official MicroStrategy report for official reporting purposes.

Can Patriot Connect restrict information based on roles?

Yes, access to data can be granted or restricted via a user's role in Salesforce through Patriot Connect.

How will Patriot Connect integrate with Stellic?

Stellic (the vendor) is prepared to provide student-specific API hooks to use as placeholders or anchors at places that we identify within Student Success to access the degree audit and planner modules via direct link to a new tab opening.

Is the Costello College of Business using both Student Success and Recruitment and Admissions within Patriot Connect?

The Costello College of Business will use Student Success and Recruitment and Admissions.

The Costello College of Business currently utilizes TargetX, which will become Recruitment and Admissions in Patriot Connect. The Costello College of Business will also move its advising function into Patriot Connect.

How will data migrate from TargetX to Patriot Connect? What will happen with projects and campaigns?

Accenture will move data from TargetX to Patriot Connect. We will work with the implementation partner to determine the data that should be moved.

Campaign data will be moved to the campaign object in Salesforce.

Can and will Guardian integrate with Patriot Connect?

Integration with Guardian is not in the scope of the project at this time. As the Patriot Connect ecosystem grows, we will look into integrations with other current systems.

Will users of Recruitment and Admissions and Student Success be able to send out marketing campaigns?

Yes, business end users will be able to create marketing campaigns. In addition, there are plans to purchase a marketing tool that works with Patriot Connect. 

We are implementing Salesforce Education Cloud (which is the full CRM), Student Success and Recruitment and Admissions are the functionality, all tied together by Education Cloud, where the student contact record lives. All tools will feed off information in Education Cloud.

Will Housing and Residence Life's requirement be captured?

Housing and Residence Life's use of Navigate will be evaluated and requirements will be captured and reflected in Patriot Connect. Housing and Residence Life's use of other systems (StarRez, etc) are not within the scope of this project at this time, but will be a future priority.

What is the Salesforce Center of Excellence?

The Salesforce Center of Excellence (CoE) was created to represent the interests and requirements of units around the university. It determines how we collect and prioritize new features and enhancements for Salesforce, how we build these items, and how we effectively manage the subsequent change these items present to our user base. Members of the CoE include representatives of various business units (sometimes called Product Owners), business unit leadership, ITS and ITS leadership, technical teams, and individuals responsible for change management. Please contact the Salesforce Center of Excellence with any questions.