Staffing in the Age of the Cloud — Advice from a Higher Ed CIO

by msatin | June 9, 2015

As CIO of Lasell College, Deborah Gelch is known as a transformational leader who seeks innovative solutions to complex problems and builds collaborative, loyal teams. She leads the technology function for a unique consortium that serves Lasell College (undergraduate and graduate education), Lasell Village (a retirement community and Medicare-compliant skilled nursing home), Pine Manor College, and three other independent organizations.

When the College Board discontinued support for Recruitment PLUS several years back, Lasell began to identify new systems to manage enrollment. In 2012, Deborah led the team to work with Enrollment Rx on the implementation of a new CRM system as well as a custom student portal. Initially implemented for Admissions, Enrollment Rx has since been expanded to other departments, including Development and Professional Advising. Built on the Force.com platform from Salesforce, Enrollment Rx offers great flexibility; but with flexibility comes responsibility.

As Deborah recently wrote in an article for Evolllution: “The good news is that there is no request we cannot fill. The bad news is that there is no request we cannot fill.”

In her two-part series — titled “Staffing in the Age of the Cloud” — Deborah shares a personal account of the lessons she learned in the shift to the cloud. This is valuable advice for other higher ed CIOs, Directors of Admissions, Directors of Development and Dean for Advising, so we thought it would be helpful to share a few highlights here, including our favorite bits of advice from Deborah.

On evaluating your business processes:
“Identifying what the true business process ought to be in today’s world—versus what it’s come to be based on prior software limitations—is a fine art, but one that must be learned for a successful implementation of a new CRM.”

On helping to educate the business side of the house:
“It’s… imperative that the IT office is working closely with the business units during (and after) the implementation of the transition to a new CRM. This is a two-way street.”

On adopting agile:
Adopting Agile methodologies in IT and educating our business units on how to work within our Agile Scrum framework was critical to moving the project forward at a swift pace with limited time and resources.”

On taking advantage of training resources in other departments:
“Recognize your pockets of expertise and power users and encourage them to be collaborative and share knowledge.”

On hiring for new IT skills:
“A team member with skills that combine IT with business process and social engagement expertise can be a critical bridge between IT and other departments using the CRM.”

Read more from the two-part blog series, published in Evolllution earlier this month.