The University of Michigan Uses a Feature-Rich Form Process to Enhance Communication
Case Study Snapshot
The University of Michigan’s Center for Educational Outreach and other departments on the University of Michigan’s three campuses use FormAssembly for a variety of uses from surveys, to event management, to internal business processes, and even a faculty feedback form. Here’s the story of why they chose FormAssembly, how they use it, and why it’s right for their higher education institution.
About the Center for Educational Outreach
- Advances the university’s commitment to academic excellence
- Inspires youth across the state to pursue postsecondary education
- Strengthens the relationship between the university and local K-12 schools
The needLack of Coordination Across Campuses
The Center’s work involves coordinating with internal and external groups to ensure that events and services go smoothly. As they pursued ways to be more effective, staff sought a way to simplify communication across campuses.
“We have several projects where we needed to be able to connect to Salesforce and prefill forms and distribute those unique links to folks across campus. We didn’t want a platform where we had to create yet another database where people have to log-in to access the information that we need them to update,” Skoczylas said.
FormAssembly offered the flexibility to share secure, Salesforce-connected data without additional administrative hassle.
We didn’t want a platform where we had to create yet another database
The solutionEasy Integration and Feature-Rich Forms
Adaptable to Different Needs
Across University of Michigan’s three campuses, there are four separate FormAssembly implementations used by 15 total units. This widespread use showcases the ability FormAssembly users have to make the solution fit their needs.
Skoczylas said he loves how flexible and feature-rich FormAssembly is and how it’s capable of handling both internal and external use cases throughout the school.
“We have institutional access to Google Forms, we have access to Qualtrics, but none of these are flexible enough to meet the number of use cases we put to these tools. FormAssembly in that regard is pretty dynamic given that we can do some major building and process automation.” Skoczylas said.
“I like that it’s user-friendly. We’ve had groups come in where we’ve provided very little training, and they’re able to get their forms up and running.” Gould said. “That’s one of the things about higher education that’s really important. Especially in a decentralized environment, you want people to have some kind of ownership over a piece of the process, and this is an easy thing that they can own with minimal oversight from an administrator.”
“It has been really great to see it spread across campus. We use it on all three of our campuses now: Dearborn, Ann Arbor and Flint,” Gould said.“
A new diversity census promotes office collaboration.
The initial project that the Center for Educational Outreach started was a Diversity Census for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The yearly census aims to identify activities related to diversity, equity, and inclusion on the University of Michigan’s campus. Unfortunately, information gathered in the past hasn’t enabled the two offices to collaborate and connect as much as they’d like because of the static nature of the information gathered.
“Before FormAssembly, we were collecting data with another tool and every activity was a new row in a spreadsheet,” Skoczylas said. “By being able to connect Salesforce, we’re able to track and link those diversity activities with individuals in the university’s HR database. Then we have connections to what department folks work for.”
Prior to using FormAssembly, individuals would simply report names, but there would be no connection to their identity. By connecting the data sources, staff could glean richer data.
Smart web forms make event registration simple.
FormAssembly can be used to create customized event registration forms with multiple questions and fields. That’s one of the main use cases for groups on University of Michigan’s campus that use FormAssembly. These event registration forms allow departments to collect RSVPs and identify details like dietary restrictions and special circumstances.
Basic interest forms create an easy gateway for prospective students.
FormAssembly is excellent for complex forms, but it can also handle any simple use case that comes up, such as the program interest forms that the University of Michigan uses on various program websites.
“We’ve got some intake forms so people who are gathering brand new interest off their website can then create those as contacts inside the system. Then, they use that contact to reach out and learn a little bit more about someone’s interest in that program,” Gould said.
A form-based survey will replace an outdated paper process.
Another use case the University of Michigan explored was using FormAssembly for their Faculty Lifecycle Survey, which polls faculty members on their activities so the university can connect that information to merit funding. The previous paper-heavy process became a hassle by presenting the faculty with poor user experience.
“It used to be paper forms for about 80 faculty members between two schools, and they basically had a 10-12 page form to fill out,” Gould said. “Basically it was an administrative nightmare for the groups pulling it together, but it also didn’t offer a very nice user experience for one of the more vocal and important groups on campus, the faculty group. So, we’re out to solve those two issues and also allow for reporting, which will be the first time they’ll be able to do anything on the aggregate level since gathering that data.”
Even in the testing phase, the form helped improve processes in terms of automating workflows in Salesforce and streamlining form questions with repeatable sections.
FormAssembly’s integration features make internal sharing easy.
The Center for Educational Outreach also takes advantage of FormAssembly’s Google integration with forms that manage payment requests from different university offices.
“Our business office staff are able to share and collaborate in Google Sheets and track that information, but the information is getting pushed there through FormAssembly,” Skoczylas said.
Thanks to University of Michigan for sharing their use case!
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