NMIMS Global Access School for Continuing Education (NGA-SCE), the distance and online arm of Mumbai’s Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) deemed university for management education is amongst India’s top institutions in the executive, online & distance space. NGA-SCE was founded in 1994 with an aim to provide distance education and in 2013 began the journey towards online learning.
Today, NGASCE (NMIMS Global) is a leading online and distance learning university with 600+ faculty members, 17,000+ alumni, NAAC Grade A+ and Category 1 Autonomy by UGC. In the last six years alone, the number of students has shot up more than hundred-fold to 100,000. The Coronavirus pandemic increased the adoption of remote/online learning multifold, but NGASCE on strength of its vision for digital education was much ahead of times.
“When I joined the university in 2014, there were no clear processes or systems in place—we had to start from scratch,” recounts Rajiv Shah, CEO while adding, “Our goal was to move everything online—from marketing and sales, to admissions and student services. We wanted to build a digital-first university that would effectively meet the needs of the 21st century student.”
Till 2014, NGA-SCE’s operations were largely manual and fragmented. Student data was scattered across spreadsheets, leading to discrepancies and traceability issues. At one point, over 700 cases related to student issues like examination marks and progress reports went unresolved for months because the data couldn’t be consolidated from across numerous spreadsheets. Senior management didn’t have enough visibility into sales metrics. The lack of data transparency also hindered the sales team’s ability to track channel partners’ performance.
Meanwhile, the customer experience was hampered by manual admission processes. Students had to physically visit the university to pay fees and submit documents, despite opting for distance learning. Shah and his team were determined to overcome these challenges through digitisation and automation. This led them to Salesforce.
Salesforce, a customer relationship management (CRM) multi-national platform, from hereon took the digitization processes. “The advantage of Salesforce is that it can be used not just for marketing, sales, and CRM, but across other processes such as admissions, document verification, product knowledge assessments and logistics,” says Shah. “That means we don’t have to keep adding new systems for each process. Everything can be managed either on Salesforce or our indigenously built Learning Management Solution (LMS).” Salesforce has digitised and unified the different parts of NGA-SCE’s operations on a single platform, enabling the university to deliver seamless customer experiences.
All marketing campaigns—about 1,000 at a time—are managed through Salesforce Pardot; helping to engage prospects with the right message at the right time, while providing useful metrics on email performance. It also fills the sales funnel with high-quality leads from social media, web-to-lead forms, and affiliate programs.
These leads are automatically routed to 120 sales channel partners and their 900 employees across 30+ cities for nurturing and conversion. Data from their calls and text messages with prospects is captured on Salesforce for easy tracking. Since all partners are now on one platform, it’s much simpler for internal sales teams to follow up with them, and review their performance.
Student onboarding has also been streamlined on Salesforce
“We’ve made it possible for students to do almost everything online—filling admission forms, submitting documents, and paying fees,” says Sanket Panaskar, Head of Engineering at NGA-SCE, and a key force behind the Salesforce implementation. “Our teams can easily verify documents, schedule interviews, and communicate with students through Salesforce.”
Every day, NGA-SCE accepts around 300 admission forms, which are reviewed and turned around by the team in less than 48 hours. The platform also integrates with FedEx systems to track the delivery of physical learning kits to students across 6,000+ pin codes.
“As you can see, Salesforce is the premier go-to tool for our entire ecosystem,” says Shah. “In fact, we are one of the few formal education players in India to have an in-house development team, which in the past year alone has completed 172 development projects.”
NMIMS – Possible for students to do almost everything online
NGA-SCE has made it possible for students to do almost everything online—filling admission forms, submitting documents, and paying fees. The university teams can easily verify documents, schedule interviews, and communicate with students through Salesforce.
Scoring points with customers and partners
Salesforce also consolidates case-related data from chats, emails, and other sources on one platform, helping customer support teams across nine cities to swiftly resolve over 12,000 cases a month. Integration with Avaya and Knowlarity telephony solutions gives agents the data they need to reduce call handle times and improve customer satisfaction. Most cases are now resolved within 36 hours, with a net promoter score (NPS) of over 93%.
Meanwhile, a Partner Community strengthens collaboration with channel partners, enabling them to efficiently manage their pipelines, track lead profiles, and report sales metrics.
“Salesforce has made it so easy for our partners to do their jobs that many of them are deploying the solution for their own use,” notes Shah.
Knowledge is power
Rich analytics and dashboards on Salesforce provide a 360-degree view of marketing and sales performance, empowering senior management to make confident decisions. Shah and his team can drill down to view granular details such as the types of students applying for a course, the factors driving their decisions, and the marketing campaigns yielding the most returns.
“We track a lot of information—over 100 fields in admission forms and 300-400 fields in marketing and sales data,” says Shah. “The reporting and analysis of this data is driven through Salesforce.”
Being a true Trailblazer, NGA-SCE has built its own Salesforce reporting tool — Student 360. It tracks the entire student journey, including lectures attended, assignments submitted, and exams taken. These insights are used to keep students motivated, and ensure that they don’t drop out of the course.
Pushing the envelope
NGA-SCE has integrated both Salesforce and its LMS with a BI tool for analytical insights and is now experimenting with AI to automate and make student ID verification more accurate. The institution is also looking at doing more with Salesforce—for instance, adopting Marketing Cloud for omnichannel marketing.
“We want to continue innovating on Salesforce to strengthen customer and employee satisfaction,” says Shah. “We also want to improve productivity. Imagine being able to reduce document verification time from ten minutes to two minutes—that’s the kind of automation we’re looking to achieve with Salesforce.”