This is actually an old post that I had published on another website of mine, that I kinda killed in the end (RIP and that might be outdated by now. But, who knows, it might be helpful for anyone who’s looking to get started with the HEDA package.

In a previous post on the explosion of student journeys, we wanted to first give an overview of how a student journey analytics program can help student affairs professionals, directors and VPs better understand the journeys of at-risk population and gain the insights to improve those student’s experience.

But without getting into too much technical details, we think it’s important for anyone considering such a student journey analytics program to understand how such a program is structured and on top of what it is built.

I’ve helped HigherEd institutions in the past further deploy their CRM so that they could leverage their data to improve their student’s experience and success.

This blog post is the first of what might a series of posts that will take our readers on a “deep dive” within the CRM infrastructure that allows an institution to better capture data on student’s interactions and how to leverage that data for student experience improvements.

Providing our readers with a demo environment requires a dataset that mimics an institution’s own CRM data. We took great care to generate such a fake first dataset but want to take this further. We know of many ways to improve that dataset but would first like it to actually live within a real CRM environment. And this is the goal of this first blog post on the underlying data architecture of any student journey analytics program.


As I’m setting up a demo platform to play with and demonstrate how student analytics can be used to improve student’s journeys, I’ve been meaning to migrate my fake data to a real CRM and to structure that data with HigherEd best practices as guidelines.

I should mention that my main past experience with a HigherEd CRM was with Talisma (from Campus Management). My perspective on how a CRM for HigherEd is being structured and how we can leverage its data for analytical purposes is influenced by that experience. But Salesforce has always been appealing to me because of its innovative track record and is an opportunity to expose myself to a different CRM environment.

When HEDA was announced, I got further intrigued and read about everything there was to be read on the subject (the Software Requirements Specifications document is a must-read to get a good understanding of the data structure deployed with this package). This was the right incentive to deploy a development Salesforce environment and play with the HEDA package.

This post only covers the basic setup, but I will continue reporting on my exhilirating adventure as I go through those objectives:

  1. Create a playground from which our team can develop and test our first automated integration to a CRM
  2. Familiarize myself with the Salesforce environment from a HigherEd employee’s perspective
  3. Explore the Higher Education Data Architecture Package
  4. Point our demo platform to a dataset extracted from our Salesforce sandbox


Honestly, Salesforce can be overwhelming at first. The offering is so vast that you’re not really sure where to start. It’s kind of the same feeling as when my kids showed me Minecraft – so what exactly am I suppose to do here? So I rolled up my sleeves, pushed through the initial hurdles and Tadam! here I am with a beautiful initial developer environment. This is just a screen capture of the tables I can see from my Tableau connection.

I don’t want to get into the details of what the HEDA package is, as there is already a lot of documentation on that subject out there. But I think the the following 2 graphs are important as to how it fits in the overall Salesforce architecture and its internal architecture.

High-level view of HEDA…

Detailed view of HEDA…

With no experience of Salesforce, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of installation process of the HEDA package. I was surprised of just how easy it went. Of course, I was starting from a canvas, so that might very well differ with institutions that have a fully deployed Salesforce CRM and what to integrate the HEDA data architecture.

1. Installation link from the GitHub repository

2. Verifications of my current setup

3. Packages to be installed

4. Installation Status

5. Completed installation

I will go into the details of the HEDA package in a future post but I wanted to show just a basic screen capture of how the package added new elements to my environment and how I was able to structure my first course offering within my new Salesforce environment.

The view within Salesforce…


The view within Tableau…


In our first post on student journey analytics, we talked about the explosion of student journeys and how analytics can help better understand the multiple journeys by leveraging the data from an institution’s CRM. Part of this blog’s mission is to share with our readers the underlying infrastructure that allows for such an analytical initiative.

The HEDA package provides a basic structure upon which a Higher Ed institution can build their CRM. As I’ve mentioned initially, I’ve always been curious about the whole Salesforce cloud offering and this is the perfect opportunity to explore this. One of the streams we want to explore for this blog will be about building that CRM infrastructure within Salesforce so we can provide our readers with a complete overview of a student journey analytics program.