Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Next "Ask-An-Admin" Session

The next "Ask-An-Admin" chat session is scheduled for Tuesday, December 15 at 10 am. Ask-An-Admin virtual sessions take place on the third Tuesday of each month. CRM users are encouraged to introduce topics and ask how-to questions, and the CRM Admin Team will be happy to answer them and even show brief demonstrations. Click here for the next "Ask-An-Admin" chat session.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Save the Date! 2016 Higher Ed Summit

Save the Date. Hosted by and Tulane University, the Higher Ed Summit 2016 will take place during March 30 - April 1, 2016 in New Orleans. Early Bird Tickets (until 2/1/2016) are only $100 for higher ed users. For more information, visit

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

NEW! Monthly "Ask-An-Admin" Virtual Sessions

Starting November 17, 2015, the CRM Admin Team begins hosting monthly "Ask-An-Admin" virtual Q&A chats and mini trainings. Ask-An-Admin chats are open to all users and admins and will be offered at 10 am on the third Tuesday of each month. Users are encouraged to introduce topics for discussion. Mark your calendars. Click here for the first "Ask-An-Admin" chat session.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Do You Look Backwards at Data Quality?

Image Credit:

Perhaps you should.

If data is neither correctly entered nor maintained, the data output will prove to be useless, misrepresenting, and perhaps even risky.  When an organization uses bad data for external agency reporting or to allocate advertising dollars it creates legal risk, as well as potentially wasting precious resources such as staff time and budget.  One of the common definitions of data quality makes this point are of high quality if they are "fit for their intended uses in operations, decision-making, and planning" (Juran, 1995).  When organizational data quality is low it affects everything from strategic planning to constituent relationship management (CRM).

Implementing a CRM solution is a perfect opportunity for organizations and their business units to reexamine and streamline internal business processes for efficiency gains.  In any CRM system, the quality of data is established at three discrete points: data entry, validation, and ongoing data maintenance.

Entering correct data into the CRM is not as easy as it may sound.  According to a metastudy on errors in spreadsheet modeling, 11% - 91% of spreadsheet models include data or calculation errors at the time of creation (Panko, 2009). To address these initial data entry errors, organizations must implement robust data validation and review processes.  But even the best validation process won't catch errors that emerge due to changes in constituent data.  Think about how regularly people move or change jobs, mobile numbers, and email addresses. If this data is not maintained, we will quickly find our CRM system with data quality issues.

How then do you assure quality of data? You look backwards.

If you are experiencing data quality issues, look backwards and determine where the problem originates. At what point is data quality affected? At the very beginning when new data is imported into the system? Somewhere in the middle when data is transferred between systems?  Or both? If you never go back to the point of origin, you will never fully address and resolve the problem. 

Here are some key questions worth asking -

1. Is data reviewed / validated upon data entry? Data entry can mean the actual process a person takes when manually entering data directly into a system or it can mean the process in which a person imports data from an external source (e.g. purchased list).

2. Is a current business process contributing to data quality issues? How easy or hard is it for users to update their contact information? What are the roadblocks?   

3. Are there standards to how data is entered and maintained? Are these standards followed uniformly across the organization and business units?

Some data producers may argue that there is insufficient time or resources for data validation. This is true especially when resources are scarce.  The counter argument, however, would be to think about how much more time and effort will be necessary on the tail end to identify and correct bad data. Often times, such cleanup effort is much greater than the initial data input effort.

Co-authored by:

Jonathan See (CIO) and Dr. Michael L. Williams

Dr. Michael L. Williams serves as both the Associate Dean and professor of Information Systems at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Juran, J. M. (1985). Managerial Breakthrough: The Classic Book on Improving Management Performance. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Panko, R. (2009).  Revising the Panko-Halverson Taxonomy of Spreadsheet Risks. Proceedings of the 42 HICSS.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pepperdine Uses Salesforce to Unify Its Brand

Dear Pepperdine Colleagues,

Salesforce Foundation featured Pepperdine as a success story. I'm proud of our efforts. Enjoy the read and share it with others.


Pepperdine Uses Salesforce to Unify Its Brand

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Onboarding Students | How does Pepperdine compare?

This is an interesting EAB infographic illustrating administration's perspective on the application-to-enrollment process compared to the student's experience. How do we compare? First impression REALLY counts and affects everything else in the constituent life cycle. Any room for improvements?

Is your enrollment process a game of Chutes and Ladders?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How to Connect Emotionally with Alumni? | Daniel Cohen | LinkedIn

This short blog post touches on our main strategy for Engaging Waves. The author shares - "Each school has an incredibly valuable asset in its brand that needs to be properly leveraged. The more you leverage your school brand, the greater the trust and emotion that will be generated - the greater the engagement."

Even though the author emphasizes on on-line engagement, we can easily apply what he is saying about the importance of branding onto everything we do here at Pepperdine. We have an excellent opportunity to showcase our university brand at all levels. The connection starts - and never ends - at the first touchpoint.

How to Connect Emotionally with Alumni?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Constituent as Our Center of Focus

I recently read this LinkedIn post on Efficiency vs Client Focused and it reminds me of our Engaging Waves CRM initiative. Specifically, our institutional strategy with the constituent as our center of focus.

Whether the constituent is a prospect, current student, faculty, staff, alumnus, donor or friend, their Pepperdine experience is and will always be dependent on how well we (the big WE) perform as One Institution. As an institution that prides itself with unique and personalized relationships, Pepperdine is well-equipped to delivering a positive experience. However, the "good" that one Pepperdine part does can be easily diminished by other parts that may not be delivering the "good" just as well.

Our University President has often said that we are Pepperdine's ambassadors. It's true and we are. With a common mindset that thinks institutionally versus departmentally, and a collective collaboration in which left hand knows what the right hand's doing, it is very possible to deliver a positive experience.

While we are in the midst of a campus-wide CRM implementation, reviewing business processes and all, now is a great time to think or perhaps rethink how we do what we do. How we do what we do is our institutional signature.

One good question to ask is "How is our constituent benefiting from our work?" Keeping this question always at the forefront will help us keep our constituent as our center of focus.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Engaging Waves Initiative | Year in Review

March 1, 2015

Dear Pepperdine Community,

Exactly a year ago, our University officially launched the Engaging Waves CRM Initiative. Engaging Waves is a University-driven strategic effort that engages prospects, current students and their parents, faculty, staff, friends, donors, and alumni members in a constituent-centric manner. Through an enterprise CRM platform, Engaging Waves highlights the overall Pepperdine Waves experience and elevates the institution's value, brand and competitive positioning.

This strategic initiative continues to be a major change management effort for the Pepperdine Community and I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to all involved in this journey. Without their partnership and collaboration, this CRM initiative would not have started as well as it has. Namely, these partners are:

  • Graziadio School of Business and Management
  • Graduate School of Education and Psychology
  • Seaver College
  • School of Law
  • School of Public Policy
  • Advancement
  • Public Affairs and Integrated Marketing Communications

I also extend my appreciation and gratitude to President Andrew Benton, Provost Rick Marrs and Provost Emeritus Darryl Tippens for their continued support and sponsorship of this strategic endeavor.

So where are we a year later?

A lot has happened since March 1, 2014. In the past year, our effort has been focused on building Pepperdine's enterprise CRM platform. With Seaver College having already adopted TargetX Recruitment, Information Technology focused first efforts on Graziadio and GSEP's recruitment implementations.

With both graduate schools transitioning from their respective Hobsons CRM solution, Graziadio officially went live on October 6, 2014 and GSEP on November 17, 2014.

The two Pepperdine graduate schools have adopted TargetX Recruitment well and continue to gain proficiency as they recruit our prospects. Much internal and external resources were devoted during the Graziadio and GSEP implementations as migrating Hobsons data was a requirement and it was very critical to demonstrate success and quick wins in the initial implementations.

Graziadio and GSEP's Quick Wins
In implementing TargetX Recruitment, Graziadio (under Juan Mena's leadership) took advantage of the streamlining opportunities by standardizing the recruitment funnel definition across its various programs. This effort greatly facilitated internal reporting for the business school. By adopting TargetX, Graziadio can also now - in a much easier fashion than they have before - track each recruiter's efforts in a concerted manner.

Similarly, GSEP took advantage of the streamlining opportunities and realized early success with TargetX Recruitment. Under Marian Guirguis' leadership, our graduate school for Education and Psychology marketed its degree programs to a 30,000 LAUSD listing. Using TargetX's marketing automation, this email campaign quickly generated over 600 inquiries, packed information sessions, and already two admissions applications (and counting). In the past, this process was manually coordinated but now through a streamlined process, the GSEP recruitment team can focus most of its efforts on truly engaging the prospects in a quick and highly responsive manner.

Although the Graziadio and GSEP recruitment implementations have concluded, our work is not done. The central CRM Admin Team continues to work closely with each school (including Seaver) to enhance their CRM experience and quickly address issues so that they can enjoy further efficiency gains and successes.

New CRM Center of Excellence
A major component of Engaging Waves is to create a central support team that would serve as our in-house center of excellence to manage the enterprise environment, maintain system and data integrity, provide end user support and training, and further extend and enhance the use of Salesforce CRM across the institution. We've accomplished that.

Under the leadership of IT's senior director for Business Intelligence and CRM, Novita Rogers has assembled a stellar team:

Sean Fife, Chief Application Developer, CRM
Lesbiz Tovar, Senior IT Manager, Business Intelligence and CRM
Larissa Robinson, Lead Business Analyst, CRM

You may recognize these names based on their former capacities at Pepperdine. Individually and collectively, members of this CRM Admin Team bring a wealth of local University business knowledge accompanied by great skills in development and business analysis. Instead of using an external consultant, this team is now leading and managing the recruitment implementation efforts for the School of Law and School of Public Policy.

New CRM Governance Oversight Committee
At the onset of our CRM discussions, I emphasized that CRM is a business strategy vs a technology one. For Engaging Waves to benefit from long-term success, it is essential for Pepperdine's CRM community to own the institution's CRM vision and strategy.

I am pleased to share that a formal 11-member governance committee has been formed and the institutional members had their first meeting on November 4, 2014. The committee meets monthly and is empowered to shape the CRM program to meet the institution's strategic goals.

More information about the governance committee's charter and membership can be found here:

What else are we planning to accomplish by July this year?

SOL and SPP Recruitment Implementations
The TargetX Recruitment implementations have begun for our law and public policy schools. SOL's implementation includes its JD and Straus programs, and integration with LSAC. The planned go-live date for these two graduate schools is July 13.

By the end of July, all of Pepperdine's five schools will be operating on the same recruitment platform as planned.

Social Media Listening and Unified Marketing Apps
In order to construct an effective system of engagement, IMC and IT, along with input from the CRM user community, introduced two core elements that will revolutionize how we - as one institution - engage our constituents.

Pepperdine is now a Radian6 campus. Radian6 is a social listening tool that enhances the institution's ability to actively monitor what is being said about Pepperdine University and to proactively respond and engage in the social conversation. Radian6 will allow us to build and nurture our relationships with prospects, parents, faculty, staff, students, friends, donors and most importantly, alumni. In addition to engaging constituents, Radian6 will also be used for crisis monitoring and management. Here's a brief Radian6 introduction:

Throughout the past year, the CRM user community (led by IMC) carefully reviewed solutions for a unified marketing app. After thorough evaluations and discussions, we selected the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. This unified marketing app will enable Pepperdine to connect with our constituents through personalized marketing campaigns and journeys, delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. Here's a brief Salesforce Marketing Cloud introduction:

The plan is to formally roll out Radian6 to the CRM user community this July. Implementation for Salesforce Marketing Cloud has recently just begun and will be rolled out in two phases. First phase includes its adoption by SOL, SPP and central marketing this July and the second phase will take place in FY16 for Seaver, Graziadio, and GSEP.

What else is on our plate?

The opportunities in adopting Salesforce CRM as a system of engagement is endless. Frankly, we are barely scratching the surface here.

Events Management
In addition to aforementioned items, we are planning to introduce a new Events Management system to replace the current CVENT solution. We are currently looking at some options but a decision and timeline have not been determined.

Employee & Corporate Relations
The CRM Admin Team is currently involved in initial discussions to extend Salesforce benefits to what we do in employee and corporate relations. Though a timeline has not been determined, I believe that this implementation can be handled all internally without any external assistance.

Donor Management Solution
One key objective of Engaging Waves is to introduce an advancement solution (with donor management and gift processing functionalities) to serve as the end-bracket of the constituent life cycle. There are presently very few players in this space but together with Advancement, we are reviewing some possible options in the marketplace. It is anticipated that a donor management solution implementation will be a big one and likely take 12 months. As we continue our efforts in identifying the best solution to replace Raiser's Edge, we are beginning to review and document our current business processes.

Engaging Waves is a tremendous effort that has already yielded and will continue to yield great and long-lasting results. While there is much more to do, we are definitely off to a very good start.

I welcome any questions you may have. Please feel free to share this report with others as appropriate.


Jonathan See
Chief Information Officer
Pepperdine University

Monday, February 23, 2015

Advancement Connect Review

As part of Engaging Waves' first phase, Pepperdine will be reviewing the functionality of Advancement Connect. Advancement Connect is a Salesforce Advancement solution for Higher Education that offers the essential fundraising, event, and volunteer and prospect management tools for universities to connect with their constituents in one app, 100% on Salesforce.

This Advancement Connect app is the brand for the application that includes roundCorner's emerging higher education advancement product and Salesforce's CRM platform. Click the following link for a general description of the solution.

Salesforce Advancement Connect Data Sheet

Friday, February 6, 2015

Quick WIN for GSEP!

Congrats to Pepperdine's Graduate School of Education and Psychology for the quick win! Shortly after going live with TargetX Recruitment in mid November 2014, GSEP sent out a 30,000 email campaign to an LAUSD list that quickly generated over 600 inquiries, packed information sessions and two admissions applications (and counting). Kudos to the GSEP Recruitment Team!