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Education Cloud and ascend – What It Means For Advancement – Part 2

Last updated: September 13, 2023

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For those of you who made it to Dreamforce 2023 in San Francisco these past few days, we hope everyone is feeling the energy and renewed excitement about the Salesforce platform and Partner Ecosystem as much as we are – and to see so many amazing Trailblazers in person again!

At Dreamforce, there was a session around Education Cloud. Including an announcement that Education Cloud will have foundational Advancement components in October built into the core.

With more information since my previous blog on Education Cloud for Advancement, here are some things to consider.

Should I Purchase Education Cloud for Advancement Now?

It depends. What makes the Salesforce ecosystem so powerful is that you have options. With Education Cloud, the vision is that under one Salesforce org, you will have core components that hopefully meet the specific use cases of Student Recruitment, Success, Retention all the way through Alumni Engagement, Advancement, and perhaps tap lifelong learners for continuing education.

There is an appeal of Education Cloud for CIOs to more efficiently manage one Salesforce org for the entire institution. For Salesforce, the strategy to leverage components from other industry clouds for Education Cloud is quite reasonable. But Higher Education has unique requirements where sometimes “one size does not fit all.”

Central IT and Business units leaders will have to evaluate the cost and functional trade offs affecting business users from various units across the entire campus.

Some things to keep in mind if an institution is evaluating Education Cloud’s single org strategy:

  • Agreement on data governance. Who owns the data? Is there agreement among all stakeholders on a common data model (Person Accounts)?
  • Agreement on the list of unique functional requirements that differ across business units, especially for Advancement.
  • If custom functionality is required, how long to build, at what cost, and who will support the customization?
  • Does the Education Cloud product team have the specific Advancement expertise and focus to continue to add the required, future proof functionality for Advancement?
  • Will I be on an island or will there be a community of cohorts on Education Cloud for Advancement where I can learn and share best practices?

Theoretically this “single-org” vision seems simpler to administer, but perhaps more difficult to bring all stakeholders together, especially at larger, complex institutions.

Though it seems more complex, in our experience building ascend since 2013, the culture of engagement and philanthropy of an institution is best represented with an Advancement solution that allows for differences in core platform features which is best supported by multiple orgs.

Each institution will have to evaluate the different options and decide for itself. We recognize each institution’s needs are unique and we fully support institutions that conclude a single-org setup is the best approach.

In addition, Advancement is more than just students, parents, and lifelong learners. Advancement is about developing enduring, meaningful relationships regardless of alumni status, including community prospects and donors.

Continued Collaboration with Education Cloud

Based on our 10+ years of serving the Advancement community, UC Innovation looks forward to collaborating with the Education Cloud product team and certified partners to find ways to leverage the best of ascend and Education Cloud. In the meantime, we have fully tested that ascend can be installed and works on Education Cloud – whether you have a single-org or multi-org strategy.

We are committed to ensuring that the core ascend product as an Advancement solution will always fundamentally and substantively support an institution’s culture of engagement and philanthropy, regardless of size or complexity, and into the future.

How About Smaller Institutions?

For smaller institutions, inherently having less internal resources than larger institutions, the Education Cloud single-org strategy may be a viable option.

However, even smaller Advancement shops (10-20 users) have similar business processes (i.e. complex Gift Processing use cases) as larger institutions. So take a close look at the Advancement components on Education Cloud to make sure it meets your needs. And if it isn’t out-of-the-box, what is the level of effort to implement and maintain any technical debt to customize those requirements on Education Cloud? What will the total cost of ownership be to have the Advancement functionality you require on Education Cloud?

As mentioned previously, a successful model we have found for Advancement shops to optimize ascend + Salesforce is a separate Advancement Salesforce org that seamlessly integrates with a different Salesforce org that manages the student side of the campus. Institutions will still have visibility on the constituent life cycle across these two orgs.

Introducing ascend Express

Now that my editorial section is over, here is the advertorial portion of my blog. LOL

Our ascend Advancement solution, a managed package, natively built on the Salesforce platform, has been informed and continues to be informed by some of the top fundraising institutions in the world from the CASE Top 50.

The implementations of these larger schools are complex, multifaceted, and multi-year undertakings – and we have had 20+ successful ascend go lives over the past 4 years with even more as we close out 2023 and head into 2024.

UC Innovation continues to improve, and we are now bringing our lessons learned and best practices to offer a much lower cost, pre-configured ascend implementation package called ascend Express.

What this means for institutions interested in ascend + Salesforce, but assumed it was out of budget, is an implementation package starting at $60,000 to stand up our pre-configured Bio Demo, Gift Processing, and Prospect Management modules. As your capacity grows, you can commensurately unlock more ascend functionality.

The good news is that you can install ascend on Sales or Service Cloud, and as you see the added value of Education Cloud, install ascend there as well.

Will Sales or Service Cloud Go Away?

No. They are core to Salesforce and still viable options that are trusted by global organizations around the world.

Declaration of Innovation for Fundraising…continues.

If you would like to learn more about ascend, please contact us.


Written by Admin

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