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Last modified: Wednesday, July 8, 2009

FAQ: Lifetime Constituent Communications at IU

The IU Office of the Vice President for Information Technology recently announced plans to implement a "Lifetime Communications" constituent relationship management (CRM) platform for managing data and communications across the entire university.

University Information Technology Services (UITS) will provide Campus Management's Talisma CRM platform as a university-wide solution integrated with Student Information Systems and other data sources. To help you better understand what this means, we've developed the following series of answers to the university community's possible questions.

Q: What is CRM?

A: In university settings, CRM refers to constituent relationship management (in industry settings, "customer" relationship management). For further explanation, see:

Q: Why is IU implementing a university-wide CRM solution?

A: IU currently has several different software systems in place at various campuses and in various departments, plus requests from additional departments and campuses for similar solutions. This creates fragmented data that makes it difficult to effectively communicate with IU constituents. A CRM platform addresses the need for a strategic "lifetime" communication solution to help the university manage its relationships with prospects, students, alumni, donors and other constituents more effectively.

Q: How does this agreement support sound fiscal stewardship?

The previous point solution model is more costly to the institution as a whole with regard to licensing and maintenance fees. This new agreement leverages funds already being used for those diverse and disparate CRM services to provide a common CRM platform to the entire university.

Q: What is the primary benefit of this agreement?

A: IU anticipates an improved ability to coordinate and target communications, delivering relevant information to constituents via channels they prefer.

Q: Will this project deliver added CRM functionality?

A: Yes. Previously, the proliferation of CRM products across IU had complicated the university's ability to integrate this data with other university-wide systems. Now UITS will integrate the university-wide CRM platform with SIS (Student Information System) and other data sources, while pursuing possibilities for greater integration with other IU systems. Additionally, the Talisma CRM products provide added functionality such as event management, knowledge base and chat.

Q: How does this initiative tie in with the new IT strategic plan, Empowering People (

A: The initiative significantly supports the following principles of Empowering People:

  • Advancement of IU's IT infrastructure supported by sound fiscal planning (Recommendation 1)
  • Unlimited availability/philosophy of abundance (Action 5)
  • Partnerships and creative exchanges with hardware, software, and service vendors (Action 6)
  • Maintain and refresh IT infrastructure by consolidating enterprise-scale (multi-campus) services for software systems (Action 7)
  • Collaboration and communication systems (Action 11)
  • Student success (Recommendation 10)
  • Engagement beyond (Action 52)

Q: What are the terms of the enterprise CRM license agreement?

A: During the six-year university-wide license agreement, entities on all campuses will be able to use Talisma CRM products without additional license, maintenance or campaign usage fees. IU's license agreement -- an expansion of the existing IUPUI contract with Campus Management -- provides unlimited use similar to university agreements with Microsoft and Adobe. For Campus Management, this represents its first agreement combining CRM and specialized fundraising functionality into an integrated, lifetime communications solution.

Q: Which units, departments and campuses will be part of this project?

A: Student Enrollment Services (SES), admissions offices, offices of the registrar, other student services offices, the Alumni Association, the president's office, pilot sets of undergraduate and professional schools across all campuses and several other offices.

Q: How long will the implementation project be?

A: The implementation plan will span a period of 18-24 months. If desired, additional schools/departments may be implemented after that period.

Q: What is the support model for this project?

A: We're anticipating a centralized System Management model. Student Enrollment Services will provide support for admissions and other student enrollment services offices across the institution. In turn, System Managers will be identified to support non-enrollment services departments as well as undergraduate and professional schools.

Q: Where can I find additional information about this initiative?

A: The IU Knowledge Base, the university database of answers to computing and IT questions, includes a Lifetime Constituent Communications overview at For more detailed project information, visit the UITS projects page at