Open Universities Australia

It all started from the premise: how can we make tertiary education better? For so long, education was about the teacher and the classroom. With the help of Salesforce, we’re placing the student at the centre of the equation.”

—Paul Wappett, CEO

A new tradition for tertiary learning

Tertiary education is steeped in tradition. Yet, if universities lean too heavily on this tradition, they risk getting left behind.

Sensing this, Open Universities Australia was created in 1993 to forge a new path for education. It offers an incredibly flexible learning model that connects students and universities in revolutionary new ways. A student can study from anywhere, at any time; and can even study units from different universities at the same time and still end up with a degree from one university.

“Our model of learning fundamentally requires us to stay one step ahead in how we use technology – to effectively liaise with our 20 tertiary education partners, and to ensure that we deliver great courses in ways that truly connect with our students,” said Paul Wappett, CEO.

Connection is key

To achieve its goals, Open Universities Australia relies on a highly flexible Salesforce platform that connects every area of the business with each other; connects the business with students; and connects students with each other. The powerful platform is being used in many ways, with great results.

Student advisors are using Sales Cloud to collect valuable information about prospective students – not just to close a sale, but to build trusted relationships that help guide these students on the path to success.

Via the self-service community in Service Cloud, students are constantly connected to information. Through this community, remote students experience a sense of belonging, which is a valuable part of the learning process.

And, internally, Open Universities Australia is using Salesforce Chatter to drive transparency – and to inject a bit of fun amongst staff. The organisation notched up a 97% adoption rate for Chatter right out of the gates, a great demonstration of just how ready staff are to use this powerful communication tool.

Speaking the students’ language

Using Marketing Cloud, student relationships are deepened further. Open Universities Australia responds to students’ enquiries however they come in. “If they tweet, we tweet them back. If they come through Facebook, we reply in Facebook. If they call us we are ready to talk,” says CIO Michelle Beveridge. “Salesforce makes this incredibly easy.”

Beyond this, Salesforce is being used to absorb the daily conversation, understand the profile of Australian students, and identify student ambassadors – to thus chart a strong course into the future.

A revitalised call centre

“Our call centre is the absolute life-blood of our business. With Service Cloud, we can see the full customer journey – so we know what support they need on their way through,” said Beveridge.

With Salesforce at the helm, call centre advisors have access to everything they need – from customer data to course information. The system is configured to provide them with prompts and alerts, so each call is more successful for both the advisor and the student.

Open Universities Australia has shifted from a sales transaction-focused company, to a customer-focused company – and Salesforce has been a big part of that.


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