However, even before its 2008 launch, 2U recognized the need for a partner to help make its vision of exceptional online learning a success.
“I was looking for a flexible, scalable, and easy-to-use platform to facilitate everything from admissions to graduation and beyond,” says Kenigsberg. “We didn’t just need a piece of technology, but an adaptable tool and framework that we could utilize in multiple ways.”
2U found that partner in Salesforce, though not in the usual way.
As Kenigsberg explains: “Campus management software has very specific functions for brick-and-mortar campuses. We wanted to do something totally new. One product we reviewed actually required us to buy Salesforce licenses because it was built on Force.com. I thought, ‘We should just get Salesforce and build our own product on top of it.’ Seven years later we have 1,400 licenses.”
2U has found Sales Cloud to be incredibly adaptable to its specific needs.
“Sales Cloud is the foundation for our educational services and admissions process,” says Kenigsberg.
Senior Salesforce Developer Luke Cushanick explains further: “We’ve actually relabeled ‘Opportunities’ in Sales Cloud as ‘Application.’ Our custom online application system feeds data into Sales Cloud, which creates a record that we share with our partner universities, so they can make an admission decision. Once that decision is made, for us that’s the equivalent of a closed opportunity. And if the student is accepted, we’re able to very easily convert that into a student record in Salesforce. We can help a university keep everything from when a student is first contacted to their career placement in one record.”
2U also uses Salesforce to extend white-glove service to its partner universities’ prospective students, differentiating the company from other online learning enablers.
“Other online application systems don’t provide admissions teams with visibility into how a student is progressing with their application,” explains Kenigsberg. “We have full transparency, so we can assist students as their needs arise. For example, if we see a student stuck on an application for three weeks, our admissions team can reach out and provide support or other helpful resources. With Salesforce, we make sure our students’ experience is top notch from the beginning.”
2U relies on Service Cloud to ensure that its white-glove service philosophy also encompasses its 24/7 support centers, which caters to students and faculty.
“We’re very much a customer-first organization,” says Kenigsberg. “Our support agents live in Service Cloud. It gives us a 360-degree view of our partners’ students, their needs, and their full history with us, which is invaluable.”
2U also recognizes the evolution of modern students and their ever-changing needs.
“Service Cloud’s phone and live-chat features work really well for that extra personal touch,” says Kenigsberg. “We also help our university partners offer a self-service portal on their websites to provide an experience that’s tailored to the needs of each student.”
Additionally, 2U’s service team is using Chatter to better connect and support partners’ students and resolve customer service cases faster.
“We use Chatter heavily for operations,” says Kenigsberg “It’s really had a big impact for us, so we’ve expanded it. By adding Chatter, we’re offering an even more complete set of options for customer service.”
As 2U grows, it’ll continue to define success by the number of lives it impacts. “Our future plans are to continue executing on our mission,” says Kenigsberg. “We want to remove the word online from online education, because what we’re providing is a great education. With Salesforce as an ally, I know we’ll be successful in accomplishing that mission.”