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Education Cloud and ascend – What It Means For Advancement

Last updated: June 26, 2023

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At Education Summit in April, Salesforce announced its new “Education Cloud” and more questions than answers have been raised as a result. This is what we know so far.

Salesforce’s Education Cloud currently has a few modules for student recruitment which have been released, with more to come. The new Education Cloud does not have any advancement modules released to date. Any module would not only have to be developed, but also tested before being brought to market. There are indications that whatever is developed, especially gift processing, would be for smaller, less complex institutions, and is designed to be a building block for Salesforce’s partners to extend.

Should You Wait on Education Cloud for Advancement?

No Need!

It is our understanding there will be an announcement around Alumni Engagement and basic fundraising components in Education Cloud towards the end of 2023. Beyond that, it is uncertain what Advancement functionality will be fully baked in Education Cloud.

You don’t have to wait.

ascend already has comprehensive out-of-box fundraising-specific functionality, demanded by Advancement practitioners to deliver complex business processes, with a cohort of 44 top institutions and growing – and more than half will have successfully gone live by end of 2023.

Can ascend Co-Exist with Education Cloud?

Yes it can!

Our UC Innovation product team recently installed ascend in Education Cloud and confirmed that ascend can indeed co-exist. ascend’s robust Gift Processing, Prospect Management, Bio Demo, and Grateful Patient functionality performed unobstructedly within Education Cloud.

We do know that Education Cloud, with its focus on student and recruitment, relies on the person account data model, which ascend does not. Inherently, this is a problem for advancement, which takes advantage of household accounts. How will Salesforce leverage the student and recruitment approach and apply it to resolve Advancement requirements? Will Salesforce be able to resolve this conflict satisfactorily? How long will it be before we see any modules for advancement that will address this conflict?

UC Innovation, as we have done in the past with new Salesforce enhancements such as ascend being EDA compatible, Shield compatible, leveraging Lightning Web Components for easier Gift Processing, continues to closely align with the Salesforce product team to ensure that ascend takes advantage of and stays compatible with the latest Salesforce technology – whether it be Alumni Engagement, Education Cloud, and Einstein GPT.

Continued Commitment to Advancement

As a Salesforce ISV (Independent Software Vendor) Partner solely focused on Advancement, UC Innovation will continue to do so. We know that our data architecture supports Advancement – proven by our growing cadre of institutions who have selected ascend as their next CRM, and by those institutions which are live on ascend to great success. We know that ascend is stable and ready for general availability, and that we will continue to enhance the most comprehensive advancement solution in the market that’s 100% native on Salesforce.

As we learn more about Education Cloud, how the person account data model may be leveraged for Advancement’s benefit, and what building blocks may be relevant for Advancement operations, UC Innovation is committed to providing a compatibility path for our ascend community to take advantage of whatever Education Cloud components may be released.

Our message is that ascend and Education Cloud are not mutually exclusive. If you need a world class, future proof Advancement CRM in the next few years, start the implementation of ascend now. As we discover potentially interesting Advancement components released on Education Cloud, rest assured that UC Innovation will be your trusted partner to guide you through how ascend will take advantage of these new technologies.

Declaration of Innovation on Salesforce…continues.

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