Enterprise Relationship Management | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

Enterprise Relationship Management

Enterprise Relationship Management

The University is currently in the midst of a multi-year project to implement an enterprise relationship management (ERM) system. The first stages of the project have been completed with the decision to purchase and implement the Salesforce cloud-based platform to support Pitt's customer relationship management service.

Salesforce was chosen after an extended evaluation and selection project that took place between October 2015 and August 2016.


What is an ERM System?

CRM stands for constituent (or customer) relationship management. An ERM is a relationship management system that collects and shares constituent information across the entire enterprise; in our case, that ‘enterprise’ is the University.

Salesforce, once fully implemented, will give Pitt the ability to collect and share information about an individual among areas of the University in a managed and synchronized manner. A holistic picture of someone (the constituent) will be created as information about the person is added in all of their relationships and contexts.


How will the University Use Salesforce?

CSSD has identified two pilot areas that will take advantage of Salesforce, once it has been fully installed and configured to interact with University systems:

  • Undergraduate Recruiting – CSSD will work with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid to establish an updated enterprise-wide recruitment system that will replace a departmentally-purchased system. Once this system is in place, it will be made available to support regional campus admissions as well as for graduate recruiting.
  • Service Desk – CSSD will utilize Salesforce to replace the dated ticket management system currently tracking IT help requests, trouble tickets and change management. CSSD will eventually leverage the powerful Salesforce knowledgebase functions to offer better troubleshooting information for customers submitting help tickets either online, through instant messaging or on the phone.

University departments are encouraged to contact CSSD to investigate how Salesforce can be used to meet unique customer or student relationship management needs. This includes the replacement of any departmentally-maintained constituent relationship or case management applications.


What are the Benefits of an ERM?

Improved communication

Complete records of institutional communication/interaction with an individual helps to ensure that communications are not duplicated and that communication tasks can be effectively prioritized. This helps to prevent experiences where a senior leader of the University thinks that he or she is introducing a topic to an individual only to find out later that the person had already talked to someone else from Pitt (at length) about the same topic.

Stronger student support

Salesforce, once fully leveraged, will serve as a single source of information on student interactions, allowing communication that can be tailored appropriately and providing data to departments to inform follow-up action and decision-making. This will support the University’s commitment to enhance student recruitment and retention efforts.

Cost savings

Significant savings can be realized by providing an enterprise solution rather than multiple departmentally-based systems. Cost savings include software licensing, maintenance costs, and consolidated consulting support.

Integration with existing enterprise systems

The value of an ERM is enhanced by the inclusion of data from other enterprise systems holding student, faculty, and financial information, library system data, and course management information.


How Was Salesforce Chosen?

The Selection Committee for the Enterprise Relationship Management project was comprised of 19 individuals representing a broad range of operational areas within the University. Each representative was given the opportunity to nominate additional staff to assist with the gathering and documentation of requirements. Focus group sessions with these representatives were held from November 2015 to January 2016. More than 200 members of the University participated.

The results of these meetings identified 136 unique requirements for the chosen ERM solution. These requirements were forwarded to different vendors as part of a request-for-information process that kicked off the formal selection phase of the project. This process moved onto the request-for-proposal stage which was followed by evaluations of the top-ranking products by the committee.

University of Pittsburgh ERM Selection Committee

Committee Members:
  • James Baldwin, Vice President of Enrollment Management, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
  • Fern Brody, Interim Director, University Library System
  • Michele Colvard, Executive Director for Staff Personnel and Senior Assistant Dean, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
  • Tom Crawford, Associate Vice Chancellor for Corporate and Foundation Relations, Institutional Advancement
  • Chris Ferris, Executive Associate Athletic Director for External Operations, Athletics
  • Laraine Hlatky, Associate Director of External Relations/Alumni Programs, Institutional Advancement
  • Kellie Kane, Director of Operations and Strategic Planning, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
  • Jason Killmeyer, HR Project and Data Manager, Human Resources
  • Charmaine McCall, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, School of Law
  • Joe Miksch, Interim Director of News Services, University Communication Services
  • Gwen Pechan, Director of Information Technologies, Health Sciences of the University of Pittsburgh
  • David Chao, Student Affairs
  • Karri Rogers, Director of Administration, Katz Graduate School of Business
  • Kannu Sahni, Director of Community Relations, Community and Governmental Relations
  • Brian Vidic, Director of Technology Group, Swanson School of Engineering
  • Jinx Walton, Chief Information Officer, Chair of the ERM Selection Committee
  • Thurman Wingrove, Controller, Office of the Chief Financial Officer
  • Travis Wisor, Senior Associate University Registrar, Office of the Registrar
  • Jennifer Woodward, Associate Vice Provost for Research Operations
Project Team:
  • Dwight Helfrich, Director of Enterprise Initiatives, Computing Services & Systems Development
  • Fred Medley, Project Manager

Selection Methodology for the University of Pittsburgh ERM Project

Selection Methodology for the University of Pittsburgh ERM Project
  • Identification of requirements and features
  • Execution of a vendor Request for Information (RFI)
  • Completion of vendor customer references
  • Identification of vendors for continuation
  • Completion of on-site vendor presentations
  • Completion of committee reference calls
  • Execution of a vendor Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • Final evaluation and selection