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Customize EDA

Learning Objectives

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

  • Discuss common EDA customizations.
  • Understand where to find support for customizing EDA to your institution’s needs.

Education Data Architecture (EDA) provides your institution with the starting point for creating a Salesforce instance that’s a perfect fit for your specific campus community. EDA will need to be customized to the processes and systems that are already in motion at your institution.

In this unit we focus on three key topics of EDA customization. First, we address how to get started with customization by highlighting the details of common EDA customizations. Next, we review resources for community builds with Open Source Commons and the Power of Us Ideas. And finally, we talk through some options for collaboration and support as you prepare to move forward with your institution’s customization plans.

Common EDA Customizations

Generally, EDA is not implemented and used straight out-of-the-box, and for good reason. No two schools operate exactly the same way. EDA is meant to be a foundational data model that gives institutions of all shapes and sizes access to the core functionality they need to get started—while also allowing them to take advantage of the flexibility of the Salesforce platform by adding additional fields, objects, and automations. With that said, there are some common customizations that we’ve seen a number of schools implement to solve similar use cases.

There are varying levels of effort to set each one of these up. Some can be handled by you as a Salesforce admin, while others will most likely require you to work with a consulting partner or developer. An important note, however, is that you don’t necessarily need to implement all of these customizations and you don’t need to implement them all at once. As you review the items in the table below, choose the ones that you would consider to be “must haves” in order for your architecture to work properly and select others that you’d like to have eventually. If there are any left that don’t seem applicable to your specific set of use cases, you can skip them for now and revisit them if anything changes in the future.

Customization

What’s it for?

How hard is it to build?

Steps to take

Student ID Field

Create data consistency, synchronize with Student Information System (SIS) and other applications, and more.

Low complexity

Add a custom field to the Contact record page.

Note: Using this field in an integration involves some additional complexity that's best handled by an integration specialist.

Account Naming Conventions

Administrative Account and Household Account names are automatically generated for you, based on the names of contacts associated with an account. This may not be ideal at an institution with a large student population. Change the naming conventions for household accounts as needed.

Low complexity

Account Naming Conventions are found on the System tab of EDA Settings and you can see a step-by-step for this customization in Unit 1 of this module.

Letter Grades as Opposed to Numeric Grades

The standard fields used for grade tracking in EDA are numeric. However, some schools prefer to use letter grades, and having a field that can track grades based on letters instead of numbers may be required for integration with a SIS.

Medium complexity

Add a custom "Letter Grade" field to the Course Connection record page and use formulas for automatic conversions between letter and number grades if needed.

Majors / Minors

EDA uses the concept of an academic program but students often major in one subject and minor in another.

Medium complexity

Use accounts to track majors and minors and affiliate with student contact records. If integrating with a SIS, collapse the program plan stack into a single account.

Concentrations

Track academic concentration areas in addition to majors and minors.

Low complexity

Add a text or picklist field to the program. Or use accounts with record types to track concentrations along with an additional lookup field on the Program Enrollment object.

Student Housing

While the facility object is traditionally used to store locations related to classrooms, it can also be used to store student housing data with a small customization.

Medium complexity

Create a junction object between the Contact and Facility objects along with a new record type on the Facility object to help separate housing related facilities from classroom related facilities.


Now that you have a sense of some of the common customizations, let’s explore ways you can jumpstart the work of tailoring EDA to your institution.

The EDA Readiness Initiative on the Salesforce AppExchange

The Salesforce AppExchange is a fast and easy way to extend Salesforce. With thousands of solutions that install in just a few clicks, there's something for every business challenge. But as an education admin, you want to make sure the apps that catch your attention on the AppExchange are a good fit for EDA. That’s where the EDA Readiness Initiative comes into play.

The Education Data Architecture (EDA) Readiness Initiative website

The EDA Readiness Initiative helps you quickly find apps that leverage EDA in the AppExchange and provides a single place to see which apps are self-certified to work with EDA. Check out the EDA Readiness Page on the Salesforce AppExchange to learn more. You can find a link to the EDA Readiness Page in the Resources section at the end of this unit.

Open Source Commons

The Salesforce.org Open Source Commons Program was designed to support the efforts of our open source communities to solve and address concerns around trust, continuity, and sustainability. This program provides you access to useful, compatible, and sustainable community-driven, open source solutions that address the diverse needs of our Education Cloud customers and partners.

For example, when the University of St. Thomas was implementing Salesforce for undergraduate admissions, they realized the university’s current events management tool needed to be replaced. They needed a tool that could function across multiple departments and with relatively low support from IT. After considering several existing event management tools, University of Thomas’ CIO decided the best path forward was to build their own tool using the Salesforce.org Open Source Commons Program. Because it's an open source, the events app that the university built has the ability to serve a broad variety of needs while being sustained through community collaboration. That means it opens up ownership to a community of stakeholders rather than a single owner—nice! To further explore the Salesforce.org Open Source Commons Program or to read more about the University of St. Thomas use case, check out the respective links in the Resources section.

Power of Us Ideas

Another way you can team up with other members of the education community to spur progress is through Ideas in the Power of Us Hub. Through Ideas, the education community can suggest and vote on new EDA and Power of Us Hub enhancements, and collaborate with colleagues, partners, and our Salesforce.org Technology & Product teams.

The Ideas section of the Power of Us Hub.

If you have a favorite Idea that you are passionate about, make sure you submit or vote for it! The popularity of an Idea (which is measured through votes and comments) is what helps Salesforce understand which Ideas are important to you, and which Ideas you want our Salesforce.org Technology & Product teams to consider.

Get Help with Customizing EDA

If you find yourself in a situation where your customization needs require resources outside your internal team, but community build options aren’t quite the right fit, there are several other places to turn to for help in the Salesforce ecosystem. Here are three options to consider when you are ready to start approaching more complex customization tasks in EDA.

  • Salesforce Consulting Partners
    Find Salesforce-certified consultants that specialize in serving the education community. Working with a partner brings valuable expertise and experience to your EDA implementation, allowing you to complete customizations much faster.

  • Salesforce.org Success Services
    When you work with Salesforce.org Success Services you gain access to certified experts, specialists, and resources for every stage of your EDA journey. You have access to always-on expertise and data-driven insights to plan your strategic roadmap.

  • Pro Bono Projects
    The Salesforce Pro Bono Program matches higher education institutions with Salesforce professionals to maximize their Salesforce implementation and transform their organization. If your institution has a live instance of Salesforce (not a trial) you can apply for Pro Bono services to start the matching process. Program Guidelines recommend a narrow, specific project that can be completed within a modest time frame (approximately ten to twenty hours).

Customizing EDA to your institution’s unique needs is important and rewarding work. As you learned in this unit, it usually requires support and collaboration, so don’t hesitate to reach out to the community when you need a hand. The jam-packed Resources section directly below is a great place to start.

When you’re ready to move on, meet us in the next and final unit to explore data import and integration in EDA.

Resources