Creating a connected approach to advancement and alumni engagement ‍

June 27, 2023
6 mins

Xavier University recently partnered with Propel Integration Partners, a leading data integration specialist firm, to revolutionize its advancement solution. The collaboration aimed to establish a connected approach to advancement and alumni engagement, empowering Xavier University to make a lasting impact through philanthropic donations that benefit their current and future students, academics, and campus programs.

Xavier University, founded in 1831, stands as the oldest Catholic college in Ohio. With its four colleges serving approximately 7,000 students, Xavier University is recognized as one of the nation's best universities and is committed to providing a top-notch educational experience to its diverse community of learners.

Modernizing and connecting legacy systems 

Like many higher education institutions, Xavier University was utilizing a range of different systems and technologies within its advancement program. Unfortunately, these systems were disconnected and siloed and required substantial manual effort for data management and reconciliation. 

"To build deep, trusting relationships throughout the constituent lifecycle, we recognized the importance of a comprehensive 360-degree view of all individuals associated with the university. Seamless communication between interconnected systems was vital to achieving this goal,” said Brent Billock, CRM Product Manager at Xavier University. “By building a comprehensive understanding of our constituents' actions, touchpoints, and journey from prospects to alumni, we can enhance their experience and forge more meaningful connections."

Prior to working with Propel Integrations Partners, Brent, and his team were struggling with:

  • Siloed Legacy Platforms: Xavier University grappled with the limitations of its existing platforms, Sugar CRM and Ellucian Banner. These isolated systems led to manual processes/data entry and operational inefficiencies.
  • Disconnected Data: The lack of integration between systems resulted in fragmented/disparate data, impeding personalized experiences for alumni and donors. 
  • Resource Limitations: Xavier University lacked dedicated in-house expertise to plan, implement, and manage a seamless data integration solution. They sought a trusted partner to bridge this gap and support them from project planning and implementation through to ongoing operational maintenance.

Enter Propel Integration Partners

Understanding the need for dedicated expert integration resources, Xavier University sought to partner with Propel Integration Partners. With their extensive experience in integration projects and a managed support approach, Propel offered the perfect solution to create consistency and simplify/consolidate the data between Xavier University's disparate systems. 

"Propel Integration Partners exceeded our expectations at every step of the process. With minimal input from us, they efficiently completed the work, consistently delivering on their promises. Working with Propel was always a joy. They were by far the smoothest part of our implementation project."  — Brent Billock, CRM Product Manager, Xavier University

Salesforce and Ellucian Banner integration

Propel built an advanced integration solution that seamlessly connected the university's instances of Salesforce and Ellucian Banner applications. This integration solution serves as a vital conduit for the exchange of crucial data entities, supporting Xavier University's comprehensive advancement solution.

"Given the unique deletion process in Banner, where nothing is truly erased, there existed a significant gap in how records interacted between Banner and Salesforce.  However, Propel effortlessly devised an elegant solution that addressed this uncommon challenge, going above and beyond the initial scope of work."

“The primary focus of the integration solution is to enable the bidirectional flow of data between Salesforce and Ellucian Banner,” said Sawyer Clemmons, Integration Developer at Propel Integration Partners. “By establishing this seamless exchange, the solution empowers the end-to-end business processes required for Xavier University's advancement initiatives.”

Specifically, the solution integrates the core data entities housed in Ellucian Banner, which are essential for supporting the UCInnovations Ascend advancement solution in Salesforce. Furthermore, the solution ensures that any additional data entities captured in Salesforce are seamlessly integrated back into Xavier University's core student and financial information system, Ellucian Banner, completing the entire process and creating data parity between the two systems.

Seamless connection, accelerated impact

The integration now runs seamlessly, providing a synchronized flow of data between advancement activities, biodemographic information, and Ellucian Banner records. Changes made in one system are automatically reflected in the others, saving Brent and his team countless hours of manual work and freeing up resources to accelerate impact.

“Previously, we encountered significant manual effort and duplicated data handling, but Propel's solution has automated these processes seamlessly.”
  • Empowered Teams: With streamlined systems, Xavier University's staff can say goodbye to manual data entry and reconciliation and focus on meaningful objectives. The reduction in manual workload enables greater efficiency and improved resource allocation.
  • Enhanced Constituent Engagement: A seamless integration between biodemographic, student, and financial data empowers Xavier University to build stronger relationships with constituents. Personalized outreach, real-time data access, and improved reporting capabilities enhance the constituent and fundraising experiences.
  • Accelerated Philanthropic Impact: The bi-directional integration between the UC Innovation Ascend Salesforce application and Ellucian Banner expedites fundraising initiatives. Real-time data and insights enable Xavier University to engage potential donors effectively, driving accelerated philanthropic donations.

A partner that goes “above and beyond”

By going above and beyond on project delivery and managed support, Propel Integration Partners built a strong foundation of trust with Xavier University, allowing the university to focus on their core mission.

“The only thing that exceeded their professionalism and their expertise was how nice they were. Dealing with them on a day-to-day basis was an absolute joy.”

“Even when data migration was initially beyond the project scope, Propel took it upon themselves to handle the task,” said Brent. “This demonstrated their unwavering commitment to the partnership and ensuring that Xavier University's data was seamlessly connected, despite it being far beyond their obligations.”

The partnership between Xavier University and Propel Integration Partners marks a transformative shift towards enhanced connectivity. Through streamlining processes, empowering teams, and cultivating meaningful relationships, Xavier University is now positioned to create a profound impact through elevated philanthropy and outstanding campus programs.

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