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3 Updates that Will Disrupt Salesforce Higher Education

According to Traction on Demand’s Vice Presidents of Higher Education Services

We recently attended the Higher Ed Summit in San Diego: three inspirational days of learning and connecting. It’s amazing that in just a few years, this event has grown from a handful of attendees (Traction on Demand’s Vice President of Higher Education Services Jennifer Walker was there in the early days!) to a sell-out event with over 2,000 people. Among demos, panels and happy hours—not to mention the launch of Traction on Demand’s Higher Education practice—this year’s Summit challenged us to think about making waves in higher education by creating changemakers and not just graduates.

If you missed the Salesforce Higher Ed Summit, not to worry, we’ve got you covered! We can’t share the amazing weather and delicious food (#fishtacos4ever), but we can share the announcements and our learnings. Here are 3 higher education updates that we think are bound to shake up the Salesforce ecosystem:

1) Salesforce doubles down on education

Okay, let’s start with the elephant in the room. By now, you have probably come across the blogs, tweets, and announcement about purchasing for $300 million. A bit of background info: for several years, the nonprofit market has been served by a separate Salesforce organization, previously the Salesforce Foundation and, more recently, The goal of this initiative was to make the platform accessible to all nonprofit organizations, regardless of their size or mission.

While the integration of into creates some uncertainty, it’s an exciting change. Just as we, in higher education, are being called to nurture future changemakers, Salesforce has a long history of being a changemaker in business, society and education. Whether it’s showcasing Pepuptech on the Dreamforce stage, to highlight a tech program for underserved students, or sharing Magic Johnson’s passion for mentoring at the Higher Ed Summit, Salesforce has demonstrated a tireless commitment to education and giving back. It’s clear this is a company that is invested in education.

2) More commitment means more opportunity

So what does this acquisition mean for’s education customers? In our minds, the acquisition is an opportunity for influencers in higher education to tap into, one of the tech sector’s biggest changemakers. One way this could play out is through enhanced product offerings. Over the past few years, has developed a number of awesome products targeting the unique needs of higher education such as HEDA (now EDA—see below), SAL and GEM, with more on the way. The acquisition means these products can now be developed alongside’s mainstream offerings like Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Einstein, with the full force of the Salesforce development team behind it.

traction on demand higher education team
Traction on Demand’s higher education team at the Higher Ed Summit in San Diego.
In the middle are Jeff Dixon and Jennifer Walker, Vice Presidents of Higher Education Services.

3) Good bye HEDA, hello EDA

Another indicator of Salesforce’s commitment to the holistic view of learning is the broadening of Higher Education Data Architecture (HEDA). HEDA will now be known as EDA (Education Data Architecture), bringing K-12, higher education and continued education together in a seamless fashion.

The development of K-12 solutions will be particularly interesting because while all levels share some common administrative objectives, such as enrollment and student management, the underlying operations look pretty different within K-12. As Salesforce dives deeper into K-12 and continued education, we can anticipate that EDA will adapt to broaden its reach across the full learner lifecycle.

“Bringing the Higher Ed Summit to the home of Marketing Cloud shows just how intertwined Salesforce and higher education are.”

We’re already looking forward to Higher Ed Summit 2020, which will be co-hosted by Indiana University (IU). While IU, as a renowned Salesforce partner, is a natural place for all of us to gather, Indianapolis is also Salesforce’s second-largest employee hub. Bringing the Higher Ed Summit to the home of Marketing Cloud shows just how intertwined Salesforce and higher education are and will continue to be as Salesforce’s commitment to support the industry keeps growing.

All right, Salesforce community—start your engines! (#SorryNotSorry for the use of this cheesy racing reference. We couldn’t help ourselves.)

For information on Traction on Demand’s higher education practice, see our one-pager.

Written by Jennifer Walker and Jeff Dixon, Vice Presidents of Higher Education Services at Traction on Demand.

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