College of Law

Future-ready further education platform

Challenge

The College of Law is Australia’s leading provider of professional and practice-focused legal education in Australasia. Its students range from graduate lawyers obtaining their practising certificates to experienced legal practitioners undergoing specialist training and taking advanced qualifications.

The College has long been a pioneer of innovative education methods, including online learning. Long before the pandemic accelerated the drive to e-learning, the College offered digital and distance-based programs.

In 2021 the College internally identified three of their major strategic initiatives to further consolidate and expand its leading position in the legal education sector were highly interdependent and could be revisited with a customer lens of being one project. This included:

  • Building a modern functional marketing stack around an educational focused CRM, marketing automation and customer data platforms
  • Creating a retention strategy to continue engagement with students and introduce subscriptions to new product offerings relevant to alumni post completion of the Practical Legal Training the College is known for.
  • Developing a customer portal that unified access and provided students with the utility to engage with learning services provided by the College.

The project was put out to a competitive tender. Sudo Roux won because of its holistic approach, in aiming to deliver the entire vision rather than individual aspects.

“How do you transform while keeping the lights on? The key is to put levels of abstraction around legacy systems, and let them form a subset of functions while newer technology is implemented.”

Solution

There were two significant challenges with the project. The first was that the three initiatives were being treated separately, managed by people in different departments with disparate goals. This was leading to “analysis paralysis” where projects weren’t able to move forward. To resolve this, Sudo Roux brought different departments together and encouraged them to take a more holistic view of the strategy.

“Getting marketing, IT, operations and finance onto the same page was a key tipping point. They were able to find common ground and see how the initiatives were aligned. Instead of hundreds of requests and requirements from three different stakeholders, we could distill it down into 25 shared themes,” explains Matt Sayer, Sudo Roux. 

The second issue was that the College was using legacy software that was no longer fit for purpose, in this case a Student Management System developed on Salesforce. The College had hoped to continue reusing existing systems where possible, but Sudo Roux advised that this wasn’t feasible for playing the role of an educational-focused CRM. The old application wouldn’t deliver the functionality required or be interoperable with newer systems. 

“Inside every organization, we often find a Tier 1 legacy application – usually one that is mission critical to the operations of the business but due to its longevity, its legacy foundations, unstable support options, lack of upgrade paths or ability to interact with modern systems becomes the cause of constant consternation and discussion,” Matt Sayer says.

“It creates a paralyzing effect because you can’t replace it because you’re dependent on it, but it means you can’t move forward until you do. How do you transform while keeping the lights on? The key is to put levels of abstraction around legacy systems, and let them form a subset of functions while newer technology is implemented.”

Removing the old Salesforce system immediately wasn’t viable, as the College’s current systems were so dependent on it. Sudo Roux recommended gradually decoupling it from business processes and deploying a new Salesforce EDA (Education Data Architecture) that would eventually replace it.

Similarly, the College was using Sitecore as its Digital Experience Platform but wasn’t fully leveraging its value. Sitecore wasn’t integrated with CRM and many of its features weren’t configured or used.

Activation

Having brought the three strategies together, Sudo Roux could ensure that design and development were aligned across the projects. Sudo Roux deployed Salesforce EDA and built a new instance of Sitecore, running 10.x application code base, and integrating it with an upgraded uCommerce platform.

Result

With the new system, the College of Law finally has a reliable, trustworthy system of record for its customers. The College has a central repository for existing and future data sources to be standardised for consolidation, reporting, analysis, and decision-making in the future.

The new Salesforce EDA can link student contacts to multiple accounts, which represent the courses, programs, faculties and departments of the College.

The common API framework enables connecting existing and future systems and extracting data as insights. Instead of ending in “not currently possible”, brokering control of cross-platform synchronisation results in “yes this can be done, promptly”.

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