Modernizing university admissions with Ivey Business School
How Ivey is saving nearly 92 hours of work and streamlining the admission experience
Ivey Business School is one of the oldest business schools in Canada. Located in London, Ontario, Ivey is part of Western University and maintains teaching facilities in Toronto and Hong Kong, with full-time HBA, MBA, MSc and PhD programs. As a leading business school, Ivey had already adopted the Salesforce platform, but they wanted to further modernize their systems to meet the expectations of today’s university student. They partnered with Traction on Demand to expand the capability of their systems with Community Cloud and Salesforce’s Education Data Architecture (EDA).
Saying goodbye to technical debt
Salesforce is a rapidly growing platform with new products and functionality released every year. When Ivey first adopted Salesforce, a lot of their unique needs as a university needed to be met through custom development. As a result, they had built out a great deal of functionality that was labour-intensive to maintain and improve, limiting the degree to which their systems could scale and grow alongside their student base.
Their online application portal, for example, was heavily reliant on Visualforce, making it difficult for the Ivey team to adapt the portal to be more user-friendly for applicants and assessors. In addition, the portal had very high volume demands with thousands of applications often submitted in a span of minutes as students rushed to meet application deadlines.
Other functionality maintained through custom objects was now available natively through EDA. Ivey’s data structure, however, was not compatible with the Education Data Architecture, so they couldn’t easily implement EDA within their Salesforce instance. Ivey wanted access to regularly released features tailor-made for universities.
Ivey also wanted to embrace all the innovation coming to the Lightning Experience. To leverage this new functionality, Ivey needed to get more comfortable with the Lightning framework and transition old code from Salesforce Classic.
From custom code to declarative with Salesforce Experience Cloud and EDA
A key element the project team built was a custom Lightning component within Ivey’s Salesforce community. The component integrates with both Moneris and KIRA Talent to allow applicants to progress smoothly through the application process. It also provides an interface for admissions staff to review and score applications more intuitively.
At the same time, the team worked to eliminate technical debt, replacing legacy code with native Lightning features and components. They also transitioned from Salesforce Classic to the Lightning Experience.
Alongside new best practice aligned code architecture, the team also implemented a new data model that ensures Ivey can leverage EDA while continuing to rely on Sales Cloud for student applications, recruiting and sales.
The new, streamlined experience
With these changes in place, Ivey is driving a better experience for three important groups of stakeholders:
- Students: Applicants have a cleaner, more intuitive portal to build their applications in, supporting a low-stress process (since implementation, Ivey has seen an increase in completed applications).
- Assessors: Instead of reviewing applications through a collection of disparate fields, assessors can now view each application from the perspective of the applicant, allowing them to review and score applications faster and more painlessly than ever.
- Salesforce Administrators: Ivey’s team is relieved of the burden of maintaining custom code and can instead work declaratively within the Lightning framework to more easily make changes to their Salesforce instance and application community.
Undergraduate Assessments Staff estimate that they save about one minute for every application; that works out to nearly 92 hours of time saved over the course of each admissions cycle.
The new and improved systems have made a real difference in workload for the Ivey team. Undergraduate Assessments Staff estimate that they save about one minute for every application; that works out to nearly 92 hours of time saved over the course of each admissions cycle. Fewer applicants are struggling to navigate the portal, translating into fewer Help Desk tickets, saving both applicants and Ivey staff time and effort.
Moreover, with EDA in place, Ivey has the architecture needed to scale towards a complete 360-degree student view. As data feeds into EDA, Ivey can prepare for future expansions that will bring additional student services onto the Salesforce platform.