At a glance

When Deakin University saw room for growth in its digital systems and use of Salesforce, leadership sought out advice on how to optimize that journey and maximize their ROI. Slalom assessed Deakin’s existing solutions, identified operational priorities, recommended opportunities to improve critical capabilities, and mapped a path forward to a cohesive and efficient digital ecosystem that’s primed for growth.

What we did

  • Digital ecosystem assessment
  • Capability heat mapping
  • Target state architecture proposal
  • Salesforce optimization consulting
  • Scalable growth strategy

A vision to unlock potential 

As an organization that aims to be a catalyst of positive change for its students and community, Deakin University needed to unlock the potential of its systems for critical growth. From faculty and students to staff and partners, the university had an enormous amount of talent to work with, but faced some technological limitations. 

Their recent, initial adoption of Salesforce showed promising results, but at a relatively small scale. Deakin’s leaders saw the potential and sought out Slalom’s expertise in both Salesforce and the education industry to recommend a scalable strategy for a new phase of digital transformation. 

Seeking system synergy 

Deakin had a vision of highly efficient processes that would streamline experiences for both employees and students. However, siloed software, data, and systems made it difficult to curate those processes at scale. For example, a student might receive several emails from multiple departments, creating a user experience that, at times, wasn’t holistically collegial. This was a result of unique departments not having a central place to view what’s being sent by other stakeholders. For university leadership, the disparate sources of truth across the organization made data-driven insights hard to come by. 

“From marketing journeys and campaign management to donor relations and reporting, we had a lot of capabilities we wanted to optimize,” says Ronnie Sejean, Deakin’s digital platforms manager. “Prioritizing those capabilities and identifying the right solutions was no small task.”   

A handful of departments had access to Salesforce solutions but lacked the time and expertise to leverage those tools and unlock their potential. Deakin saw the limitations of its isolated systems, and the pandemic-driven shift toward digital learning made pain points more apparent. Overhauling its digital ecosystem in pursuit of system synergy would require a significant investment of time and resources, and the university wanted to be confident it was implementing the right solutions. 

Mapping out a path to progress 

“Our first step was a thorough discovery process,” says Clancy Brodrick, a senior consultant at Slalom. “We wanted to get a clear understanding of Deakin’s vision for growth, and the pain points that were holding them back.” Brodrick and the team met with a variety of stakeholders to identify the critical objectives, low-hanging-fruit solutions, and long-term strategies that would spur a digital transformation at scale. Armed with those insights, they got to work on a capability and requirements modeling exercise to summarize Deakin’s priority operations. 

The exercise also heat-mapped Deakin’s business capabilities by how frequently they were utilized across departments. Some of the top priorities included marketing journeys, partner acquisition, events, account management, and data analytics. With these priorities in mind, the next step was to lay out a target state architecture. 

We wanted to give them a picture of what a streamlined and integrated digital ecosystem could look like. And it was really rewarding to see their genuine excitement about that vision.

The recommended architecture included several expansions and implementations of Salesforce solutions: Sales Cloud to support partner management, Service Cloud to improve digital engagement, Tableau to develop reports and dashboards, Marketing Cloud for campaign management, and MuleSoft for integrations with non-Salesforce software. The idea was that each component would be interconnected, unifying operations across the university with a single source of truth and addressing the isolated systems that kept the organization out of sync. 

Aligned and motivated 

“Our partnership with Slalom was invaluable in validating our vision to double down on Salesforce and accelerate our digital transformation,” says Sejean. “But more than that, they gave us a fresh and insightful perspective on our priorities and a road map for the journey to growth.” 

Slalom’s team also recommended specific departments where expanding Deakin’s Salesforce capabilities would improve student and employee experiences. From admissions and digital learning initiatives to student services and marketing, they identified scalable opportunities that would contribute to big-picture goals.  

With integrated systems, unified data visibility, and improved access to strategic insights, Deakin University will be able to unlock more of its student, system, and stakeholder potential across the organization.      

Moving forward 

With a plan in place and insights in hand, Deakin’s leadership is looking forward to the next phase of its journey: implementation. Moving from planning and strategy to execution and results is set to catapult Deakin’s growth and unlock new levels of potential across the organization. 

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