From Employer Engagement To Student Alumni, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Is Delivering Proven Benefits To The Education Sector

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The use of CRM in the education sector is fast becoming best practice.  As well as helping colleges, universities, and other educational organisations nurture relationships with students, CRM is also helping toward improving governing body and auditor reports, achieving quality standards, running employer engagement programmes, student alumni associations, and a wide range of other activities.   

For educational organisations, the ‘Customer’ or ‘C’ in CRM can be a little misleading.  However, it’s easy to replace the word ‘Customer’ with Student, Learner, Employer, Alumni, Partnership, Trainee – the list goes on.  That’s why the term ‘xRM’, rather than CRM is becoming used more and more often in the education sector – the ‘x’ simply means ‘anything’.

Because of its flexibility and ease of use, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is one of the more popular CRM software packages for colleges and universities.  With its seamless integration and a familiar look and feel to other Microsoft products, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is easy for staff to learn, which helps gain user buy-in.  Also Microsoft Dynamics CRM is extremely powerful and feature-rich, and this, combined with the flexibility of the product, means your Business Partner can adapt and configure the product exactly as the college, university or training establishment needs it to be configured.  

With increased competition from private training providers, many colleges are putting a lot of emphasis on targeting and engaging with local businesses to provide training for their staff and employees. Microsoft Dynamics CRM makes employer engagement a lot easier and more efficient.  For many educational establishments, Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides all the features required to successfully implement an employer engagement, as well as a general CRM strategy, almost straight out of the box.

For example, a recent case study on CRM in Education describes how one of the UK’s leading further education colleges successfully implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  The initial objectives were for the CRM system to help run the college’s employer engagement programme.  The system provided a central database so the college could store and manage their contacts, accounts, course, and communication information, plus it gave them tools to improve their marketing to local employers, deliver better tracking, management, and reporting, and generally improve performance and process efficiency. The results were so successful in improving the college’s employer engagement programme (including helping them achieve ‘outstanding’ in an Ofsted report), that they are now rolling out Microsoft CRM to other departments.

In the education sector, it’s not just colleges, universities, and training providers that are successfully deploying CRM systems.  For example, the UK Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) - the body charged with accelerating and supporting the drive for excellence and innovation in the further education sector in England, also uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  In fact they’re currently working with Concentrix to combine separate CRM systems which were being used by two different sector bodies.  The project’s objectives will ensure that LSIS is fully responsive to developing and changing requirements, while increasing productivity through process automation and supporting ongoing process improvement.

Here’s an important point.   If you’re with an organisation in the education sector and investigating CRM, make sure you choose a business partner with Microsoft Authorised Education Reseller status.  This means that they have met a number of strict criteria set by Microsoft, including specific training and successfully passing an examination (in other words, you have a guarantee they know what they’re talking about when it comes to providing Microsoft products to education providers). Another incentive is that, as a Microsoft Authorised Education Reseller, your business partner can provide discounted licences. And these discounts are not just available to schools, colleges and universities, but also to related organisations such as boards of education, teachers, academic staff, students, and even some museums and libraries. And the discounts can be significant!

By Concentrix Ltd - UK CRM, Accounting and ERP Software Specialists

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