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London School of Economics

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Implementing Salesforce, proved a complex challenge for The London School of Economics (LSE): a task Mike Page, Head of Enterprise CRM & SRS at LSE, likened to “running a city.” The goal was to streamline decision-making processes and improve productivity without sacrificing system stability.

Watch Mike Page, explore the implementation strategy, challenges, solutions, and outcomes of this initiative, with a focus on the role of Elements.cloud in facilitating an agile Change Intelligence approach.

Background

With its wide range of academic programs and an international student base, LSE was seeking an efficient way to manage and streamline its intricate operations. Mike Page explains, “Most of what we do is around student administration, student engagement, but it is also about other capabilities that we try and roll out across the institution.” This multifaceted challenge led LSE to Salesforce, initiating a sophisticated transformation journey.

Implementation Strategy

LSE engaged with Elements.cloud to leverage its Change Intelligence Platform, aiming to expedite decision-making processes and improve productivity without compromising system stability. Elements is not a DevOps application per se, but rather a tool to enhance the quality of output from the DevOps pipeline.

Through the Elements platform, the team sought to design, build, and understand the impact of changes on their Salesforce setup. This approach ensured that they focused on creating value, rather than merely replicating legacy systems in the cloud. The integration and deployment involved three key elements:

  • Design: Understanding the system’s design requirements. The idea was to build a system that provided business value, taking into account current requirements and potential future developments.
  • Change Intelligence: Elements.cloud enabled LSE to understand the impact of changes and plan accordingly, preventing potential issues before they happened.
  • Architecture: This involved ongoing construction and leveraging of ‘Org wisdom,’ with the goal of improving documentation, design, and ultimately, end results.

Findings

The integration of Elements into the Salesforce platform at LSE resulted in an agile and efficient system. With the capability to visualize and understand the potential impacts of system changes, LSE could accelerate decision-making and reduce the time and resources spent on investigating impacts. By doing so, they minimized the risk of ‘breaking things.’
LSE’s approach to building as generically as possible to facilitate reuse across different business areas also contributed to the return on investment and the system’s consistency.

Using the Elements platform allows us to give comfort to our executive team. We’re doing this in a way where we’re not creating the problems of an undocumented end-to-end coded solution as we did in the past

Additionally, the Elements platform allowed LSE to better map their products and understand where each component was used architecturally, offering a more profound insight into their complex business environment.

Analysis

LSE’s Salesforce implementation is a prime example of how a well-thought-out approach to design, change intelligence, and architecture can lead to efficient systems that provide significant business value. By leveraging Elements’ Change Intelligence Platform, LSE moved from legacy systems to a cloud-based solution, reducing tech debt and enhancing productivity.

However, it’s also important to note that the implementation was not a one-time event, but an ongoing lifecycle involving continuous improvement and evolution. The focus on generic building and reuse also helped LSE maintain a consistent user interface across a complex business environment.

Conclusion

LSE’s journey with Salesforce and Elements.cloud highlights the potential for a well-executed digital transformation strategy. As Page remarks,

What we’re trying to do is use these for architecture mapping and Elements to drill down through those layers to really represent that higher education business capability model… in an LSE context

Mike Page – Head of Enterprise CRM & SRS at LSE

This strategic, forward-thinking approach can serve as an effective blueprint for other organizations embarking on similar journeys. Although the implementation process is challenging, the benefits of a more agile, efficient system can provide substantial business value and pave the way for future enhancements.

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