Salesforce

George Mason University is implementing Salesforce as the system of engagement across the institution for the student journey.

The shift to a single platform will streamline university data and technology systems to create a more connected student experience. This marks an institution-wide transformation in the way we approach technology solutions across academic and administrative offices and, more importantly, allows us to put our students at the center of everything we do.

By spring 2023, Mason will secure an implementation partner to gather necessary business requirements, host design sessions with stakeholders from across the university, and successfully customize and operationalize these tools for the Mason environment. Once an implementation partner has been identified, we will be embarking on a robust engagement strategy. 

Community input and feedback is critical in ensuring the success of the Salesforce implementation. If you are a member of the Mason community and would like to be engaged in future stakeholder conversations, sign up for project notifications, or ask a specific question, please complete the Salesforce Stakeholder Engagement Form below.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Communications and Engagement

Q: How will I know what is going on with this project? Where can I find updates and how often should I expect them? 

A: You can stay up-to-date with the Mason Salesforce project by completing the Stakeholder Engagement Form and selecting “Project Notifications” to receive updates via email. Mason is committed to ensuring that users have a seat at the table as we work with an implementation partner to build, configure, and launch the Salesforce tools. You will have more opportunities to contribute once an implementation partner is selected. Engagement from day-to-day users will be critical to ensure our success in this space.


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

A: Many members of the community are already involved in the Salesforce Project. Mason is currently searching for an implementation partner to assist with building and configurating our Salesforce tools: Student Success Hub, Marketing Cloud, and Admissions Connect. Once selected, the Salesforce Executive Committee, in coordination with that implementation partner, will begin standing up working groups. Faculty, staff, and student input will be crucial at all stages of this process.


Q: I feel like I have something to contribute to this project. How do I get involved? 

A: If you would like to learn more or get involved with this project, please email us at Salesfor@gmu.edu or complete the Stakeholder Engagement Form.


Q: Will students across all Mason campuses be included in project implementation? 

A: 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.


Q: What is the staffing plan for this project, both for implementation and long-term support? 

A: Mason has already hired several Salesforce specialists for our existing software. In addition to the current staff, consultants from the selected implementation partner will do some additional development and customization of the new suite of Salesforce tools. Mason intends to hire additional staff to maintain and improve the system. Exact details on those positions will depend on our future needs.


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

A: Mason’s colleges and schools will play a significant role in the transition to Salesforce. 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 salesforce liaisons.

Schedule and Timeline

Q: What is the project timeline? When will my work in one of the current systems be impacted? 

A: There will be several phases to the project. We expect to be designing and piloting a new Student Success Hub in 2023-24. 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.


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

A: 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.

Training

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

A: 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 working with an implementation partner, 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

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

A: We are excited about continuing existing important functions of Navigate in Student Success Hub, 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 Hub and will be of the highest priority in building and piloting the new space.


Q: Will the Graduate Education community be able to use Student Success Hub for advising and mentoring? 

A: 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 the Student Success Hub, part of our newly recognized system of student engagement, which will include advising and mentoring services.

Functionality

Q: How will data be structured and organized in the new Salesforce org? Who will have access to the data? 

A: Balancing data functionality with data security is a top priority for the newly established Salesforce Executive Committee, as well as the newly implemented governing body of Salesforce at Mason, the Salesforce Center of Excellence (Salesforce CoE). 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. 


Q: How is Salesforce different from Banner? Won’t they both house student data? 

A: 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. Salesforce, and connected products (Student Success Hub, Marketing Cloud, Admission Connect, 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 Salesforce will be Mason’s system of student engagement.


Q: What is the Student Life Cycle?  

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


Q: How will Stellic and Student Success Hub work together?  

A: Student Success Hub and Stellic will be used together to help students and advisors visualize and design degree plans for students to improve the student experience and improve graduation outcomes.


Q: It has been stated that 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? 

A: 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. 


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

A: Yes, part of the implementation partner’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 Student Success Hub, in accordance with a detailed, vetted, and thorough schedule and transition plan.


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

A: As part of our work with an implementation partner, we will put in place the three major platforms named in the announcement (Student Success Hub, Marketing Cloud, and Admission Connect) alongside additional plug-in products, as identified with the implementation partner, to ensure best functionality to meet all needs, including outlook calendar integration, event registrations, and other fundamental needs. 


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

A: 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 Student Success Hub. We expect that Student Success Hub 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.


Q: Will this new product impact the admission application review process? 

A: Mason is moving from the TargetX system to Admissions Connect, 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 Admissions Connect there will be a period of user acceptance testing and training.


Q: How will this Salesforce implementation connect to the Salesforce implementation in the work of Advancement and the GMU Foundation? 

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