From the Chancellor’s office: stakeholder relationship management system

Na zdjęciu Kanclerz SGH dr Marcin Dąbrowski

One of the strategic projects within the framework of the digitization of organizational processes entails the implementation of a CRM system that will comprehensively support building and maintaining relationships with the University’s key stakeholders: applicants, students and alumni of the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programmes. In its target form, the system will also support our scientific, conference and business contacts and help to develop fundraising activities – says SGH's Chancellor Marcin Dąbrowski, Ph.D.

The works on the project begun in late 2020 and early 2021, when we defined the key goals and expectations as well as formed a professional project team. This gave us the opportunity to comprehensively explore the market and gather the experiences of more than a dozen universities from all over the world, both those using CRM systems offered by global technology leaders and those utilizing more regional solutions (for instance in Scandinavian countries)

The accumulated experience enabled us to select the technological environment with the greatest potential for achieving the defined goals. We opted for MS Dynamics 365 Marketing & Sales and PowerApps. Good practices shared by foreign universities also helped us to determine the roles and processes to be supported by the CRM system that are essential for building sustainable relationships, effectively managing contacts and successfully reaching customers with offers tailored to their needs, all of which indirectly help to build a positive image of the university among its key stakeholders.

Next, a proof of concept was carried out in cooperation with Microsoft. Works at this stage allowed us to define in greater detail the tasks of the project in terms of the required standard of communication, professional conduct of advertising and outreach campaigns, management of leads and approvals, and integration of CRM with the university's IT systems. To prepare for the implementation of CRM, we have built a centralized system for contact consent management (the Central Consent Database). Owing to its professional character and comprehensive approach, which takes into account the purpose of the contact, the system has already proved beneficial, not only in the context of CRM. The tender conducted earlier this year resulted in the selection of an experienced IT provider – OneDynamics, with which we have been working intensively since April on the contract tasks, namely developing the architecture and analytical description of the system, configuring the production environment, and launching the processes for managing relationships with one of our highest-priority stakeholder groups − the alumni of SGH Warsaw School of Economics.

The contract also entails the implementation of an advanced electronic communications system which will be used to launch the first communication campaigns designed to maintain and improve alumni relations and to attract prospective postgraduate students. It will also enable us to run pilot campaigns for selected conferences.

In the future, the implementation experience gained in this manner will help us to adjust the further steps relating to contact maintenance and to expand the scope of the CRM system to encompass all stakeholder groups, including students and postgraduate students, new data sources and additional contact channels, such as social networks. 

Another essential area of CRM development will be its use in managing relationships with the institutional partners of SGH Warsaw School of Economics, conducting university admissions campaigns and supporting the organization of the didactic process.

Such comprehensive extent of the planned integration of the CRM solutions into organizational processes has no parallels on the domestic higher education market. To date, only a few Polish universities have implemented CRM-type systems and only to a limited extent. Therefore, we profit from the support and the willingness to share good practices by academic centres from abroad, both European and those operating in the Anglo-Saxon higher education system, namely in the United States and Australia. In addition, we take advantage of the solutions designed under Microsoft's Higher Education Accelerator, which is based on the most successful CRM implementations in the world.