Traction on Demand recently joined Salesforce for a webinar, How Other Industries Can Help Modernize University Facilities Management. We briefly walked through how Salesforce Field Service could support the campus 'customer' experience that universities aspire to, whether their maintenance teams are in-house, outsourced or a hybrid model. Like commercial counterparts, universities aim for the greatest efficiency in responding to service requests across all their physical spaces. Here, we give a more in-depth look at three ways that Field Service can support the modern campus.
1. Keep up with the upkeep - tackling deferred maintenance
Even before the pandemic, 'transformation' was the buzzword in higher education. At every conference (remember those?) or webinar, you could not escape it, and it was the hot topic for good reason. Higher education is long past due for some large-scale changes, and the pandemic has only served to underscore this. The vision of the future university often focuses on a move to an online learning experience, a move that has seemingly accelerated this past year. But, as we hurtle toward the future, does the next phase of higher education completely exclude an on-campus experience? Before we board up the dorm windows, clear out the libraries, and shutter the dining halls, we think it's important to acknowledge that a move to online learning:
- Will not happen overnight,
- Is not the path each university will take, and
- Will often be an additional offering, not a wholesale replacement for all in-person learning.
Increasingly, a hybrid learning option provides a "phygital" (blending of physical and digital) experience for students. Even universities well-known for their online programs, such as Southern New Hampshire University and Arizona State University, still offer physical campuses. Additionally, some innovative universities are considering supplementing their traditional campus with swing spaces similar to WeWork. It's less of a shift away from the campus experience and more of a reimagining of physical university spaces to accommodate increasingly varied learner needs.
For those who find themselves on campus or university-operated space, the quality of the space will continue to act as a means of recruitment and retention. Though the era of luxury campuses with lazy rivers and climbing walls may be behind us, and universities' budgets are strapped, students, faculty, and staff still expect a certain level of upkeep.
A substantial backlog of deferred maintenance and assets coming to the end of their useful life is rearing its head. In fact, by some estimates, U.S universities have a collective $40 billion in deferred maintenance (2017), growing at 1.5x inflation. With 35% of facilities built between 1960-1975 at universities, a spree of replacements is coming.
Many universities are putting in plans to chip away at this deferred maintenance each year (40 billion doesn't go away overnight). Plans focus on structured, purposeful, proactive maintenance to shift future reactive maintenance requests allowing teams to move towards eating away at deferred maintenance. Get a plan in place, then look at the teams and systems that can make that plan happen.
Taking on technology
Systems that can support these plans are where Salesforce comes in. Salesforce has a perfect suite of clouds to map your campus management plans with Salesforce Field Service. With a dedicated field service product, Salesforce can help you:
- Understand your current assets
- Structure the preventative maintenance required for upkeep
- Prioritize deferred maintenance requiring attention
- Handle inbound reactive service requests
- Efficiently dispatch work to technicians
- Manage and coordinate contractors to perform work
- Visualize the burndown of outstanding deferred maintenance
The beauty of it is that as your plan expands the technology will expand with it. Start small and simple, and expand as you learn new strategies to effectively manage the balance of backlog vs reactive.
2. The Campus Experience is Part of the 360-Degree Student View
When we think about the holy grail of the “360-degree view” of a student experience, we often think about a full picture of biographic/demographic data, academic, and advising activity all in one place. This is, of course, a great starting point, however at Traction on Demand, we believe a comprehensive understanding of the student experience can include information about their non-academic life, including where they live and how they interact with their physical surroundings.
Imagine you're a student advisor, and one of your students suddenly stops attending class. With the usual advising insights from standard systems like the Student Information System (name, class, year, etc.) and Learning Management System (courses, maybe grades), you have minimal insights into what troubles your student. Advisors generally don’t have this sort of information at their fingertips because maintenance services are often addressed through specialized, siloed solutions. But what if this maintenance intel became part of your student's 360-degree view?
Unlike point solutions that fragment the university understanding of constituents, a platform like Salesforce can be used to manage maintenance requests by leveraging Field Service. Within the same system, the advisor can leverage the Education Data Architecture and advising capability like Advisor Link to bring together relevant information such as whether they have outstanding maintenance requests. A comprehensive platform like Salesforce can bring the student experience into a clear view with everything from traditional advising information, to whether your student has been struggling with a broken furnace in their dorm room for three weeks.
3. Making the Most of Unused Campus Space
With financial strains stemming from decreased enrollment numbers, stagnant federal funding, and an inability to raise tuition, universities can look to the residential real estate market for creative solutions for generating additional revenue. On summer vacation, enterprising homeowners might list their homes on Airbnb to make a little extra money while they are away. Could universities tap the revenue potential of unused dorms, auditoriums, and even labs? The challenge is one of logistics. Unlike the homeowner, whose task is relatively simple with a single property to manage, universities have sometimes hundreds of spaces that could be potential sources of revenue, making management more complex. Historically, universities might host summer programs that keep the dorms partially in use, or they rent out event spaces for the wedding of alumni, however, these spaces are often managed by individual departments.
With Salesforce there are on platform methods to support the multiple facets that come with physical space management. With the powerful digital experience cloud combined with lightning scheduler spaces can be listed internally and/or externally for booking. With Salesforce’s powerful integration methods, class schedules can be integrated to block out availability. All bookings can be tied back to the individual to build out their rental history. With space management, comes set-up, tear down and maintenance of those spaces after and before use. Salesforce enables combining your rental platform and your servicing platform under one roof.
Transform your campus with Salesforce
If your university is interested in learning about Campus Management with Salesforce Field Service to transform your campus, Traction on Demand looks forward to scheduling a discussion with you to think through your campus engagement strategy.