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Study Reveals Different Approaches to CRM Implementation

Colleges and universities have two philosophies to choose from when deciding how to implement customer relationship management systems (CRM), each with its own merits.

That is the conclusion of an analysis recently undertaken by Campus Management, which provides CRMs to higher education. The two different paths are called the domain-based approach and the lifecycle-based approach.

With the domain-based approach, different entities within a larger university organization take on their own CRM responsibilities that are limited to their unique functions (for instance, undergraduate admissions or graduate career services).

The benefit of this approach is that the smaller divisions in a larger decentralized university can roll out, adopt and expand programs more quickly and with their specific needs in mind. The adoption of a new or expanded CRM, in this case, can take place quickly.

The majority of higher education institutions take this approach, according to Campus Management officials. The primary drawback to doing it this way is that divisions and their processes can become siloed from those in other parts of the university and it may not always be easy to share data across the entire campus.

With the lifecycle approach, universities use CRMs for every facet of constituent engagement (for instance, from the moment potential students are recruited straight through until they become college alumni). This approach is more likely to create consistency and continuity in how schools engage and communicate with students across the campus and throughout their educational careers.

The downside here is that it is likely to take longer to implement changes due to change management and political issues. However, when the lifecycle-based approach operates effectively, metrics can be shared throughout the institution and it is possible to take better advantage of data-based decision-making.

"CRM selection and expansion is not a one-size-fits-all process," said Campus Management Product Marketing Manager Jason Soffer. "Institutions should plan selection and expansion based on their dynamics and culture to maximize the value of their CRM program."

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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