In the past several months, we've seen a transformative shift in education as schools around the globe have pivoted to virtual learning. Universities in particular have been thrown into uncertain waters as they convert to online-only courses while dealing with issues like applications, admissions, tuition, and student loans. And now, those same institutions are facing the equally unique challenge of how and when to return to campus safely.
During this year's Higher Ed Summit Virtual, the University of Florida (UF) shared how Salesforce has enabled them to innovate during the current health crisis and begin the path to safely reopening. In the presentation, Jay Schnedl, a Senior Application Analyst at UF, also discussed how OwnBackup has helped them protect their critical data and speed up development times.
Jay Schnedl: We're going to talk today about how our financial aid office manages the CARES Act requests from students and staff. We'll also talk about how the UF Office of Research is managing the reopening of campus labs to continue research. And also how OwnBackup provides key data protection for all the data that we're collecting for these processes.
"We have over 1.7 million EDA affiliations related to those and 850,000 cases."
Regarding our EDA (Education Data Architecture) environment, we have over 1 million contacts which include faculty, staff, students, alumni, and various other contacts. Our case management system has been up for a little over three years. We have Service Cloud for student services, finance and accounting, and research. And we also have academic advising support, which is based on our case management system but it's a little bit different functionality that we have for them and facilitating their student visits.
For our financial aid and CARES Act aid requests, students and staff will go in and fill out a form built on form assembly. We have that protected by single-sign-on so we know who they are once they log in. Once they fill out the form and tell us the different categories of aid that they require, a case is created with supporting documentation that our financial aid staff reviews and approves or denies based on the request. And then they'll go in and they'll mark the amount in our Campus Solutions system to handle the disbursement of money.
"For the return to campus, our office of research is using Salesforce to manage the reopening of our labs."
Labs are requesting to reopen and the VP of Research will go through those, analyze the request, and then approve them if they are eligible to open. That's important because a lot of these research labs that we have are tied to the local economies and economies in other parts of the country and the world.
To hear Jay’s story, watch the video or read the highlights below.
"It's very important that we have a platform to protect our data since data retention is key. A lot of this data that's coming in is the source of record."
When we were first building out Salesforce, a lot of the data that we had was sourced from other systems. So if there was something that changed, we were able to go in and just make modifications as needed and then just refresh the data from the source system.
Now that we have a lot of key data being the source of record inside Salesforce, having a platform that can allow us to back it up and locate changes and track history on all that is extremely important. And OwnBackup has been the platform that we used for that.
"When we imported these cases, the case email address overwrote the provided email of about 150-200 contact records."
About two weeks after we installed OwnBackup, we were importing cases from another org for historical purposes. Most of the triggers and workflows that we had set were either turned off or set to ignore the import. But we missed the one (unfortunately) that updates the provided email from a case onto the contact record.
"If we hadn't had the backup happening on regular intervals, we probably would not have been able to recover that data."
And if we were able to recover it, it would have taken us days. But thanks to OwnBackup, we were able to go in, identify the records that changed, pull in the old values that were overwritten, and restore those values to our contact object in about an hour.
We've also used Sandbox Seeding, not necessarily for disaster recovery, but for saving time and getting our testing up and going. Sandbox Seeding allows us to move a specific set of records that we define from our production org to our sandboxes, so we can use those records to test.
Otherwise, we would have to build out each of the separate objects and the relationships by running our modified integrations against these sandboxes or just building out the set of test data by hand. With Sandbox Seeding, it takes a couple hours to do. So this has saved us a lot of time.
With OwnBackup, we have the ability to anonymize records as well. If we're going to show those records to a vendor or someone outside the university, we don't have to worry about FERPA compliance.