UMass Uses Saber to Accelerate Project Success

UMass + Forcivity

UMass & Forcivity: Creating a Cohesive Environment to Provide a Seamless Customer Experience

The University of Massachusetts, or UMass, with the support of Forcivity, infused a digital transformation across their campus, creating a community for the procurement process, which led to several other communities managing other departments, creating a unified and streamlined approach to service.

About UMass

University of Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts is a world-class public research university system committed to advancing knowledge and transforming lives. With four comprehensive campuses, a top-ranked medical school and a mission-driven law school, UMass is renowned for the quality of its academic programs, the scope and impact of its research, and the strength of its public service mission.

The UMass President’s Office, helmed by UMass President Marty Meehan, provides leadership, financial management, and oversight to the university and its campuses, spearheads joint academic and financial initiatives, and provides shared services in order to drive maximum efficiency and effectiveness on behalf of its 75,000 students.

The Challenge

Salesforce had been used on the campuses for a while, yet the UMass President’s Office had little utility with it. UMass was leveraging Service Cloud and Salesforce CRM, but didn’t have a front-facing component for campus and internal users to go find questions, forms, submit requests, etc. They were looking for the right solution to:

  • Systemize the procurement process
  • Create purchasing synergy across campuses
  • Unify the process for vendor license agreements and other managerial tasks
  • Design a visually aesthetic and dynamic webpage to showcase information to outside users

Partnership with Forcivity

UMass first met Forcivity at Dreamforce (the flagship Salesforce conference) in November 2019. A few of the UMass team members attended a Forcivity demo presentation about Saber, Forcivity’s Lightning Component Pack, and immediately knew this was the solution they needed. This app helps users accelerate their community building by providing 21 reusable no- and low-code components. It allows users to save time by building a component once and dragging and dropping onto any page in Experience Builder. This would prove to be an integral piece of the UMass strategy as they built out several unique communities. 

The project was all about partnership from the start. UMass employs a talented group of admins and developers, but they had limited experience with Salesforce Communities. Furthermore, their timeline was tight (starting in November 2019 with a January 2020 launch). 

With only one developer on the team at that time, adding another piece of technology with communities was daunting. 

UMass knew they wanted to work with a strategic partner that could guide them through best practices yet instruct along the way. Optimizing the time with Forcivity was a way for them to accomplish their goals now and be set up for success in the future. 

With a finite number of resources, having a partner who could provide a reusable component that we can consume, customize, and be able to plug and play in various environments to meet our needs was incredibly valuable to us.
Shawn Skelly, UMass
Shawn Skelly
Director of CRM and Digital Experience, UMSO

The Approach

The UMass team planned to create one community for the Office of the President procurement process. If all went well, the team would create several other communities based on the first to manage other departments, creating a unified and streamlined approach to service across the university. 

UMass

With the app piquing their interest at Dreamforce, and with Forcivity’s guidance, they were excited to employ Saber, Forcivity’s Lightning Component Pack. Saber provides the ability for admins and developers to create impactful experiences and reusable components for your Lightning App Builder and Experience Cloud pages with clicks, not code. The solution is simple enough for those with no technical expertise to manage, but flexible enough to allow for detailed branding to be added via CSS. 

Using Saber for this project allowed UMass to create beautifully styled pages with pre-made components. It made their pages more interactive, more user-friendly, and provided information in an easy-to-read layout. 

With over 5,000 UMass internal and external users, the driving force was user engagement and self-service control.  If users could log in to create and monitor their own support tickets, it opens up a new level of transparency that helps remote users across the university system. 

Some of the key strategies: 

  • Create the first community for procurement, laying the groundwork for future IT services and HR Payroll communities, among others
  • Use Forcivity’s data architecture expertise 
  • Train UMass engineers and admins on using Saber to efficiently create pages using reusable components.
Forcivity was helpful in the design and architectural aspects in integrating Salesforce data and exposing that Salesforce data on the pages. They were very instrumental in designing a user-friendly site with the components and getting the information to the consumers in a nicely styled manor.
Tracy Axelson, UMass
Tracy Axelson
Lead Web Developer

Results

Using the component pack helped UMass reach their timeline by building and deploying their first community in less than two months. With Forcivity’s resources and teachable expertise, the implementation was made even better. A more critical step in the process was strategizing the architecture for the community to be the foundation for other subsequent communities, a move that would pay dividends in the long run.

Through creative collaboration, UMass was able to generate cohesive environments that would offer a seamless experience for their customers and encompass other digital technologies such as Salesforce, Slack, and Dropbox. 

Pandemic Effect

The COVID-19 pandemic has validated that this particular design was the right choice. The UMass team has not missed a beat, even while staff and students are at home. The ability to have one central spot to go to was critical in helping business affairs stay operational. The pandemic exposed the fact that there is the ability to do great things with the right infrastructure and technology behind it.

The refined digital transformation continues to push us on a path forward in adapting and operating remotely online. I think that's why we’ll see a bigger push to see more communities that can be set up in the future.

Shawn Skelly

This project laid the groundwork for sweeping digital transformation and improved customer engagement across the university. Not only was the timeline expedited, but the budget was also The use of Saber, partnered with the teaching-while-doing approach with Forcivity, allowed UMass to get the end result they desired well within their budget and allotted time frame.

The adoption by users confirmed how much campuses appreciated not having to manage their own processes. Traffic on the site has remained strong adding roughly 110 unique logins per day. UMass has now become a communities-focused organization adding to a more cohesive service offering across all campuses, and providing easy access for users through reusable components.

There isn’t a single page in our community that isn’t using a Forcivity component. The support in terms of guidance, consulting help, and really just being the wise old owl on our shoulder; it’s something that we still lean on today. I feel like it’s really a partnership for the future.

Shawn Skelly

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