Salesforce FAQs

Browse frequently asked questions to learn more about the Salesforce system of engagement for the Mason student journey.
 

Communications and Engagement

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

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.

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

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, Marketing Cloud, and Recruitment and Admissions. 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.

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

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.

Will students across all Mason campuses be included in project 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 this project, both for implementation and long-term support?

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.

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 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.

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 the project. 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 project timeline? 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 a new Student Success 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.

Some of the functions I hope for in Salesforce 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.

 

Training

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 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

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 Student Success, 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 Student Success 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 Student Success, 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 will help us export and move all relevant data from Navigate into Student Success. We will communicate more information about how stakeholders can expect to see and use this data at a future date.

Does Student Success offer scheduling functionality?

Student Success supports self-service appointment scheduling for students, as well as manual scheduling for staff.

Will all academic advising use Student Success?

Yes, Student Success will support academic advising across the institution.

Does Student Success apply to the Early Identification Program?

Currently, Student Success will focus on supporting entering and current students. As the Early Identification Program 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 Early Identification Program provides to currently enrolled Mason students may be included in Student Success.

 

Functionality

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

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.

How is Salesforce 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. Salesforce, and connected products (Student Success, Marketing Cloud, 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 Salesforce 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 Salesforce Project Management Office for a collaborative discussion tailored to your unit’s requirements.

How will Stellic and Student Success work together?

Student Success 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.

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

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, 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?

As part of our work with an implementation partner, we will put in place the three major platforms named in the announcement (Student Success, Marketing Cloud, and Recruitment and Admissions) 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.

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 Student Success. We expect that Student Success 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 this Salesforce implementation connect to the Salesforce implementation in the work of Advancement and the GMU Foundation?

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

Will Salesforce replace MicroStrategy?

MicroStrategy will remain Mason's official reporting tool. While Salesforce 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. 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 Student Success restrict information based on roles?

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

How will Salesforce 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?

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. The Costello College of Business will also move its advising function into Student Success.

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

The implementation partner will move data from TargetX to Salesforce. 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 Salesforce?

Integration with Guardian is not in the scope of the project at this time. As the Student Success 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 Salesforce. 

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

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 Student Success. 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. If you have a question for the Salesforce Center of Excellence, please contact salesfor@gmu.edu.