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Meet Education Cloud

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Define CRM, Salesforce, and Education Cloud.
  • List the set of tools and apps that work together to form Education Cloud.
  • Explain how Education Cloud empowers students and transforms education.

At Salesforce.org, we empower education institutions with the technology solutions needed to manage the entire student lifecycle. We call this set of solutions Education Cloud. But we know that technology is just one component of student success. That’s why we define our impact not only by the transformation our customers achieve with our technology but also by the ripple effect created by our programs supporting community-driven innovation and student empowerment. We help your institution obtain great value out of our products, bring practical Salesforce skills to your classrooms, and convene education leaders to drive innovation across the industry. Put simply, we are committed to creating a more equitable and inclusive workforce and, like you, we want all students to be prepared for tomorrow.

The Fundamentals

Education Cloud empowers institutions to realize the vision of a connected campus. What’s a connected campus? A campus where students are connected to a high-speed network? That might be part of it, but a connected campus is so much more. It’s an institution that has transformed the entire student experience through technology. On a connected campus, a school drives student success by engaging with students in ways that meet their modern expectations for fast, seamless, and personal digital interactions. That remarkable experience then sets into motion a lifelong cycle of engagement, with alumni supporting the school years after their student days. 

Before we dig into the details of Education Cloud, let’s define some basic Salesforce terms:

  • CRM stands for customer relationship management, or in the case of education, constituent relationship management. It's a system that keeps your constituent information in one place, so your team can see the full history of all interactions with each person. Keeping all of your constituent information in one place helps cultivate more engaged students, alumni, parents, and staff.
  • Salesforce is the first company that took CRM to the cloud, enabling companies to access all of their customer information online, from any device, anywhere in the world. From the beginning, Salesforce committed to giving back through what was called the 1-1-1 philanthropy model, donating 1% of time, 1% of product, and 1% of equity to the community. From that initial model, Salesforce.org was born.
  • Salesforce.org is a social enterprise that resells Salesforce to qualifying nonprofit and education institutions at a deep discount. Why? We believe that everyone who wants to change the world should have the technology to do so. Today, Salesforce.org empowers tens of thousands of nonprofits and educational institutions through technology, grants, and volunteering programs.
  • Salesforce.org Education Cloud is a CRM based set of solutions that enable institutions to drive student success across the lifecycle.

Finally, Trailhead is Salesforce's online learning tool. It’s where you are right now. Trails are guided learning paths that chart your course through Salesforce skills. Modules introduce you to specific topics which are broken up into bite-sized units. Trailhead is a free and fun way to learn Salesforce, and we invite you to dive right in!

Why Education Cloud?

Today's education institutions are facing more challenges than ever. Global student demographics are shifting and demand for specific workforce skills are increasing. Student expectations are changing. And it’s getting harder and harder to retain students. Students want their educational experiences to be as easy and engaging as chatting with friends via their mobile devices, getting groceries delivered in less than an hour, and getting targeted recommendations for their next TV binge. 

Do any of these indicators of shifting needs and expectations sound familiar?

  • Student applications are down year over year and you are failing to meet new student enrollment targets.
  • More and more nontraditional undergraduate students are ready to go back to school but they tell you again and again that your systems are too complex and confusing.
  • Students enter and re-enter information across multiple campus systems while teachers, advisors, and staff struggle to work as a team to support them.
  • Increasing numbers of students are leaving school before earning their degree, either transferring to another school or giving up on education all together.
  • Fewer and fewer students are graduating in six years.

A nontraditional student prepares to go back to school, but is overwhelmed by the administrative processes. If any or all of these sound familiar, you are not alone. The explosive growth of technology, increasing competition in education, and limited funding has made it difficult for even the largest institutions to adapt to the shifting demands of incoming students. And these challenges are exactly what Education Cloud is designed to address.

Education Cloud 101

Salesforce is a powerful technology suite that includes bundles of tools or applications (apps). In fact, what most people call “Salesforce” includes many popular core Salesforce apps in addition to thousands of AppExchange apps, created by partner organizations that work seamlessly with native Salesforce products. Salesforce also offers the ability to build custom apps and to connect Salesforce to outside systems.

Needless to say, navigating all of the options within the Salesforce ecosystem can be overwhelming. That's why Salesforce.org created Education Cloud. 

Education Cloud provides a recommended set of Salesforce technologies and apps that empower educational institutions to realize the full potential of Salesforce for their specific needs. You might even think of Education Cloud as the syllabus for Salesforce for Education. It’s an outline of solutions including the Salesforce Platform, Education Data Architecture (EDA), solution sets for Recruiting and Admissions, Student Success, Advancement, and purpose-built products like Salesforce Advisor Link (SAL).

By integrating data across the student lifecycle, Education Cloud not only drives student success, but institutional success as well. It’s the only platform that uses the world’s #1 CRM, uniquely designed for K-20 education and beyond.

Education Cloud features Salesforce technology, Salesforce.org technology, and Partner technology.

The Foundation of Education Cloud: Education Data Architecture

Education Data Architecture is the foundation of Education Cloud. Developed in collaboration with our partners and customers in education, EDA is an open source, community-driven data architecture and a defined set of best practices to configure Salesforce out-of-the-box for education.

So, what exactly do we mean by “data architecture?” Basically, we’re talking about a series of standard and custom data objects built on the Salesforce Platform that model student relationships as well as affiliations to departments, prospective employers, and more.

EDA provides a complete view of students and constituents.


As data architecture, EDA empowers institutions to easily see the relationships students have with advisors and family members, as well as affiliations with clubs, departments, and more from day one. 

Accounts and Plan Requirements within EDA

In the time before EDA, education institutions had to spend lots of time and IT resources to develop a similar architecture from scratch. There wasn’t a standard Salesforce data model for education. Now with EDA, any Salesforce admin can get up and running faster by leveraging a proven architecture, integrated apps, and set of best practices vetted by our most experienced and successful users who we call Trailblazers. 

As you start to learn more about Education Cloud, you might also hear about another Salesforce.org app called Salesforce Advisor Link, which we affectionately call SAL. SAL helps advisors be more efficient and proactive, so students can be more successful. From a unified advising record, advisors can have richer conversations with students and better understand the issues that matter most. With real-time insights, collaborative tools, and a platform for engaging students on every channel, SAL can support your advisors as they help students to go further. 

Salesforce Advisor Link provides a unified advising record, including contact information and an overview of student progress.

Salesforce technology empowers every student so they have a pathway to graduation, and we’re empowering your institution to create high-quality student and staff experiences. The ultimate goal is to improve student focus on the business of learning and give staff the ability to get things done faster.

Salesforce.org: Connect to a Better Tomorrow

At Salesforce.org, we believe that giving all students what they need to be successful is the first step in supporting their journey as they grow, learn, and create positive change in their communities. Our work in education is a commitment focused on equality—to level the playing field and increase access to opportunities. 

In fact, Salesforce.org has a philanthropic program committed to getting youth and young adults school-ready, tech-ready, and workforce-ready. We call it Future Ready. Through grants and technology donations, the Future Ready program provides students with access to resources that empower their learning journeys from the classroom to the workforce. By connecting schools in local areas with education institutions, we can create pathways to learning so every student has the opportunity to thrive. 

We’re able to generate revenue to invest in programs like Future Ready because of Salesforce.org’s social enterprise model. When you purchase our technology, you’re not only investing in the development of industry-leading products for education, but also in programs to help uplift students in need. 

The Salesforce program Trailhead for Students partners with universities, colleges, and educational nonprofits to provide everything educators need to prepare students for careers in the thriving Salesforce economy. Salesforce provides guides, classroom materials, and coursework—fully tested and validated within professional and academic communities—to give students real world skills that today’s employers want.

All this is to say that Salesforce.org and our partners are deeply invested in education. This investment means that working with us is a bit different than working with your traditional technology vendor because your success is literally part of our mission. 

Ok, enough about us. Let's get back to your work and how Education Cloud can help. 

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