How to make the most out of your transition to HEDA: Measure Twice, Cut Once

Figure out which Relationships and Affiliations are Meaningful to your Institution

The power of HEDA is in its ability to provide you with a web of interconnected data. However, the framework is only as powerful as you enable it to be. In most cases, when institutions decide to make the leap to HEDA they are most excited about the possibility of things like this:

“Tracking prospects connected to alumni, who are connected to an employer, who has a relationship with the institution and donates annually….”

That is until they realize that they have to find that data first. Or that that data is currently 1/3 in the SIS, 1/3 in a director’s mind, and 1/3 in 10 different spreadsheets at 10 different individual’s desks.

The key to solving this issue to formulate a plan early, focus in on the relationships and affiliations that matter most to you, and create a process to start gathering data. Enter: whiteboarding!

Step 1: Create your own Relationships and Affiliations Table

If you’ve gone through any HEDA documentation, chances are you’ve seen the following image displaying examples of relationships and affiliations:

MEg 1.png

This image serves as a great example to help generate ideas. With each of my clients, I hand each of them a copy of this image, write “Relationship” and “Affiliation” on the board, and then tell them to write as many ideas as they can think of under each one.  At the end we have created our own Relationship and Affiliation Buckets that usually turn out something like this:

[insert Whiteboard Image]

It’s not always pretty, but it captures everything that you need to start writing your own requirements for the HEDA platform.

Step 2: Ask yourself the “hard” questions

 For each item I have my clients answer the following questions:

1.        How would I use and benefit from this data in Salesforce?

2.        Where is this data today?

3.        What options do I have to get this data in Salesforce?

Chances are, if you can’t answer these questions, it might not be a good idea to put this data in Salesforce.

Here’s an example:

“Current or Prior Employers” appears in my Affiliations bucket:

1.        How would I use and benefit from this data in Salesforce?

a.        An individual in the careers office is able to reach out to employers who have hired our students in the past and create employment opportunities for graduating students.

b.        An individual in the marketing department is able to target marketing efforts at particular employment sectors or at students with particular types of past employment based on employer information

c.         As an advisor, I am able to discuss plans of study and potential career choices with a student with their employment history at my fingertips

2.        Where is this data today?

a.        Student’s provide this information when they apply on their application. The application currently resides in a separate database which I can’t easily access when communicating companies about employment synergy programs, when trying to create a marketing campaigns, or when advising a student. I will need to: create a salesforce community

3.        What options do I have to get this data in Salesforce?

a.        Redesign the application experience using salesforce communities.

b.        Build a custom integration with the application system

c.         Configure an out of the box integration between your application and Salesforce (think: Form Assembly or Enrollment RX)

There are many more questions you can ask to continue down the path of discovery but answering these questions will help you narrow down not only your user stories, but also your options. You will start to see how simple or complex your implementation will be, how many departments or individuals will need to be involved, and how much integration or development will be required.

Chances are that most of the items in each of your buckets will fall into one of the following categories:

·          Data is in another system we would need to integrate.

·          Data is another system which is going away and we would need to migrate

·          Data is in excel / word / disparate sources and work needs to be done to consolidate it into a format that can be migrated to Salesforce

·          Data is not recorded and a process needs to be defined to start collecting data for future use

This exercise will help you start to define the scope of your effort to achieve your end goal on the Salesforce platform. It will also arm you with the information you need to properly set expectations with leadership regarding the type of information they can expect in your end result Salesforce Org, and how great or small the corresponding effort to achieve those results will be.