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Friday, 16 October 2020 11:05

Charles Sturt University selects Microsoft for digital platform deployment


Chares Sturt University has deployed a new digital platform aimed at streamling student engagement and to boost and support online learning access for students.

The new platform has been developed using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement solution, replacing an older legacy CRM.

“One of our short-term objectives is to build more of a 360-degree view of our students, whether they are a student studying by distance or an on-campus student,” said Phil Roy, CSU Project Director.

“We’re very diverse in terms of our geography as well as our modes of study. We’re naturally a deliverer of online education so we’ve been doing online education for a long time now, and that’s part of our DNA, part of our nature.

“The platform has allowed us to improve the environment with which we engage students and makes it easier for the students to ask things of us, to seek out support. It makes it more efficient for us to provide that support for students and hence improve their experience that they’re getting from the university.

“It’s been a particular boon during the COVID-19 pandemic when students have been able to use the system to get instant advice about how courses or timetables might be affected. And while change management and training of staff using the system needed to be tweaked when the university moved to remote working, the ease of use of the Dynamics 365 platform meant there was no delay in its continued deployment.”

Microsoft partner KPMG helped CSU develop its technology strategy and priorities roadmap, and then partnered with Microsoft in a successful tender to deploy Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement as the core CRM across the University.

Shane Parsons, Director, KPMG said; We have worked together to create a student engagement platform for CSU that meets the University’s current needs – but also has the flexibility and agility that it will rely on in the future.

“CSU has been able to leverage the broader Microsoft Azure ecosystem to deliver the security and data governance that it required, as well as to handle identity and access management. Power BI meanwhile has supported reporting requirements to provide transparency to executives and academics about the student body.”

Roy says the vision for CSU is to use Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement to support the full student lifecycle from applications to alumni. 

“Our next and final phase will be looking at student recruitment, so the whole marketing phase,” he says.

“At the moment, the work that we’ve done supports campaigning and communications around admissions, and the engagement of students. Then through to things like orientation when a student comes to the university.”

Microsoft says the system also manages student services such as changes of grade, appeals and special consideration requests through a specially designed student dashboard that has had “very positive reviews from undergraduates” - with additional support channels and chat features improving the efficiency for students and the 450 university personnel with access to Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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