Can Salesforce Simplify Higher Education?

And What Happens If You’re Not Onboard?

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there are 3,982 degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States. Each one of these schools is vying for the limited number of students who enroll each year by providing an exceptional educational experience that allows each student to fulfill their goals and aspirations. Additionally, a person holding a bachelor’s degree earns an average of $32,000 more annually than someone with only a high school diploma. However, college enrollment has been in an average annual decline of 1.67% since 2010. 

So with a lot of competition, high expectations, and fewer students, what can school administrators and academic staff do to maintain, sustain, and grow their enrollment? Fresno Pacific University figured it out early. The answer: create a strong technology backbone to reinforce critical infrastructure systems or allow the decline to continue.

Fresno Pacific University is Leading the Way

Fresno Pacific University (FPU) is a comprehensive Christian institution with five campuses, a Seminary, and online programs located throughout the San Joaquin Valley of California. Since their humble beginnings with 28 students in 1944, FPU has been forward focused on “broadening the base” to expand their facilities, enlarge their curriculum, and develop the strategies to grow their enrollment year over year with a quality student experience. Their efforts have paid off with national recognition and significant awards

A big part of their plan included introducing industry leading technology to incorporate automation on all of their campuses. Over the years, FPU has done just that for their staff, faculty, and student body with their early adoption of Salesforce Classic. As a technology trailblazer in the business of education, FPU understood that each year their incoming student body would become more tech fluent and they expected high-end digital platforms that were easy to navigate and simple to use. In addition to that, Bitwise Industries uncovered that FPU’s security settings did not meet Salesforce standards and they were unprepared for critical updates, putting the health of their platform at risk. It was time to improve efficiency and adoption overall, shore up the security shortfall, and migrate to Salesforce Lightning.

Where’s the “But?”

But like all technology, it can become outdated at some point; or, at least, too cumbersome to continue using productively each day in that format. After 10 years of use, Salesforce Classic became that for FPU and they needed help to transition their whole Salesforce ecosystem to the newer Lightning Experience. When Salesforce introduced Lightning, the advantages were obvious: new workspace layout, activity timeline, and homepage features that provided quick advantages. FPU realized it was time for that changeover. 

The university approached Bitwise Industries—an industry expert—to architect the rebuild needed to keep them at the forefront of the technology vision they continually pursued. After a full health assessment of FPU’s existing platform, Bitwise consulted with the school’s Head of IT and dedicated in-house Salesforce Admin to propose a time and materials option to work through this project in the most cost-effective manner possible. Going beyond a migration, Bitwise enhanced automations and UI/UX along the way, focusing on permissions and security, system integrations, system performance, functionality, and accessibility. Most importantly, Bitwise provided consultation and education for FPU’s staff to ensure they were comfortable navigating the upgraded build. 

A Lasting Impact

Fresno Pacific University is a large, complex organization that is comfortable with pushing the norm beyond what’s expected. (Kinda like Bitwise.) There was a mutual understanding on how complex this technological transition was going to be, but the plan that Bitwise developed considered the pain points at every level to help staff and students incrementally adopt this new version. The rollout to merge these two worlds began with the school’s two most time-sensitive needs: recruitment and tutoring. 

This starting point was critical for obvious reasons: constant student interactions happened every day within those arenas. The school needed the added features of Lightning to better track the recruitment potential surrounding new student leads and furthering existing students’ ability to see and schedule time with tutors to keep their studies on track. 

User acceptance would take time. Bitwise understood that issue and created a system where users could switch back and forth between the Classic and Lightning interfaces to ease any stakeholder apprehension to this upgraded change. However, this modernized update brought champions onboard quickly as the Lightning conversion successfully moved FPU into the future with a new intuitive visualization for the user interface and a dynamic automation solution that received only praise to date from faculty, staff, and students. 

Additionally with Bitwise’s initiative, applications for Fresno Pacific University’s Student Health Center, Student Tutoring Center, Center for Advancement, and Recruiting department were all upgraded to an improved user experience on the Lightning platform. During the initial health assessment, Bitwise determined the FPU’s Baseline Standard Rating for Salesforce security was very poor and their data health was at risk with an 81% data usage and code coverage below 75%. Bitwise was able to significantly improve all scores, bringing the system up to Salesforce standards.

Let Us Help

Bitwise Industries specializes in custom software development, Contact Center-as-a-Service, and Salesforce implementation and administration. Our technology professionals have deep experience applying cutting-edge technology solutions to help Fortune 500 companies and enterprise clients navigate the technology landscape to find solutions to optimize their organizations.


If you’re interested in uncovering the tech possibilities available to your organization, click this link to schedule some time with one of our experts.

This post was written by Jeff Rickels, Technical Writer for Bitwise Industries. Right about now he’s streaming some random crime documentary to fulfill his latent Sherlocking tendencies and need to deduct the ending of the show before it arrives. If you’re wondering, it wasn’t the butler.

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