CRM is not a new concept for William & Mary. It has existed on campus for years to track prospects, students, alumni, and friends using various decentralized tools – specialized databases, spreadsheets, and other ad hoc manual systems. These tools have captured a range of data elements from contact information, communication and marketing campaigns to alumni accomplishments and interests. Though the niche products have provided some functional benefits to the respective offices, the centralized approach has tactical advantages. The most significant include:
- Centralizing and sharing information. Decentralized systems do not share information with each other inhibiting comprehensive knowledge about our constituents. This leads to gaps in the data collected as well as duplicate efforts. Additionally, we’ll have the opportunity to establish common nomenclature and standard data definitions and structures. Results will lead to more meaningful reporting and analytics for strategic decision-making.
- Coordinating Communication. Because of the disparate and unconnected systems in use, individual offices lack a full picture of a constituent resulting in excessive communications, missed opportunities, and lack of constituent support.
- Streamlining Processes. A centralized system reduces redundant tasks among the offices, which results in more efficient and informative cross-functional processes and improved data accuracy.
Moving to a centralized CRM strategy was born out of the Business Innovations team’s college-wide review of processes and by a recommendation by the Board of Visitors. In June 2014 a CRM Selection Committee was formed to gather college-wide requirements for a Request for Proposal. In September 2015, contracts were awarded to three vendors to implement and build the CRM environment. Salesforce Foundation, TargetX, and ACF Solutions will provide the infrastructure, software, and services to bring the university to a unified platform.