With almost 10,000 students on traditional and vocational courses, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest and most respected universities in private ownership in Germany. Founded in 1848 as a «Chemical Laboratory» and accredited in 1971 as a state-certified university in private ownership, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences now has study centres in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Idstein, Cologne, Munich and Zwickau. Practice-based, innovative degree schemes and training courses that are also designed to meet the demands of the job market, small classes, well-known cooperation partners and an extensive alumni network are just some of the many advantages of Fresenius University of Applied Sciences.
From a mountain of paper to an online applicant portal
Several systems used to be employed at the various sites to handle enquiry and application management. The consequence was redundant data which, in the worst- case scenario, led to double or even triple applications. At the same time, there was a real mountain of paper, with information materials that were supposed to be sent by post and applications coming in by the same method. This point of departure, combined with the aim of providing an online applicant portal, gave the team from Fresenius University of Applied Sciences the incentive to look for a CRM system. This was to make all data available to all staff across all of the sites – and to do so in real time. All aspects of document management were also to be handled in this way, along with the facility to receive applicant data online.
Salesforce-Project Manager at Fresenius
PARX with its many years of experience in the field of education
In Salesforce, the university found the optimal solution – and in PARX, the optimal implementation partner. The key to their cooperation was the experience that PARX already had of Salesforce implementation in other training and higher education establishments.
From the initial enquiry to a signed study contract
One way for potential students to request information materials about all courses is through the website. From the point of submitting a request, the potential student is supported by the candidate and applicant management system (IBM) in Salesforce through the entire application process, up to the decision for or against taking a course at Fresenius University of Applied Sciences. «We have never before been so close to our potential students and applicants as we are with Salesforce,» says Evelyn Menke, Salesforce project manager at Fresenius University of Applied Sciences. Information brochures, check lists, confirmations, applications and, last but not least, the study contract are automatically or manually generated by Salesforce and forwarded either by e-mail or by traditional post. If potential students decide to apply to the university, they can enter their details online on the applicant portal and submit their application. The candidate can also register for the selection procedure there and upload the documents required.
Standard processes, different documents
One of the biggest challenges was to ensure that, despite the standardised system, customised documents can be generated and sent out for each site. This is possible in Salesforce by using Conga Composer, one of the leading tools for document generation in Salesforce, and a data model customised for this purpose.
Since the introduction of the new system, data have also been imported from sister firms of Fresenius University of Applied Sciences into its Salesforce system. The homogenisation and import of new data and the adaptations and extensions to the processes were carried out by PARX in close collaboration with the university's project managers.
Analysis of target figures
Mapping of the entire application process facilitates analysis of the current figures by means of reporting in Salesforce. A comparison of the target and actual applicant figures helps the management of the university to make decisions about the growth and further development of individual departments.
Among other things, candidates who still have to submit missing documents before they can be accepted unconditionally for a course can be promptly identified by means of the reports. «I think the system is great. The reporting, in particular, is great fun,» says Evelyn Menke.
Further development to follow
Following the successful integration of the data and the application process of the Akademie Mode & Design (AMD) into the instance of Salesforce running at Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, an applicant portal with a similar process and its own branding is also to be provided for AMD. Applicant portals are being planned for other sister companies, too.