University of Washington: A Case Study
System enhancement improves efficiency and effectiveness of communication
Date : June 26, 2014
West Monroe Partners helps the University of Washington improve efficiency and effectiveness of communication with thousands of prospective students.
Enabling recruitment
One of the leading public institutions in the United States, the University of Washington communicates regularly with tens of thousands of prospective students throughout the admissions process. To administer these communications, the school’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions uses Ellucian’s Recruiter application in conjunction with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

Over time, the office added various fields and workflows to track communications sent to prospective students. As a result, its communication process became very time consuming, with many manual steps required when running the print "mail merge" function. This added complexity also increased the potential for issues in the communication process, such as duplicate or untimely letters. The office sought a solution that would both improve efficiency and prevent the possibility of communication "points of failure."

Leveraging Dynamics CRM expertise
For assistance, the Office of Admissions turned to West Monroe Partners, which previously assisted with development of a concept for a student information hub running on Dynamics CRM. In particular, West Monroe’s deep Dynamics CRM knowledge and capabilities for developing customized solutions, as well as its focus on process improvement, provided a strong fit for the university’s needs and goals.

Streamlining mail-merge operations
Working with the office’s assistant director of admissions, West Monroe Partners created a solution that automates mail merge operations for print mailings to "contacts" and "applicants." The solution consisted of two customized CRM elements:

  • "Job," which stores job configuration information such as the letter template and query/view used to retrieve the list of applicants
  • "Job History," which stores job execution history and statistics and provides easy access to generated documents

In addition, West Monroe developed a console application to handle the mail-merge operation, using Aspose.Words to generate documents. Now, users can log directly into CRM and view job history and active records and, if action is required, easily open and review letters in Word, print and mail letters, and then mark the job history as complete. The solution also uploads the finished letter back into CRM for an accurate record of contact/applicant communication.

Effective and efficient communication
Within just a few months, West Monroe Partners created a solution that frees significant staff time—in some cases, by up to four or five hours per day— for other important tasks. Even more significant, though, is the improvement in communication precision and effectiveness by eliminating manual steps that could lead to "points of failure" (e.g., duplicate letters) in communication with applicants or prospective students.

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