Winter is Coming…. I mean, HEDA is Coming

There has been a lot of chatter around Smith the past year about our future transition to HEDA (Higher Education Data Architecture). 

I know this transition has been long awaited for many of you, especially for the Salesforce users who have been patiently waiting for some HEDA solutions to make your days more productive.

To help prepare you for this migration, I put together a post in the form of what I would anticipate being your most frequently asked questions. 

Happy Reading!


Oh, man! When is this happening?! Monday, March 19th – Tuesday, March 20thSince we are planning to complete the migration during Spring Break, we are hoping you’ll be lounging on a beach sipping on a mojito (one of my personal favorites). Since you’ll be so busy with that, you won’t have any disruption to your normal Salesforce activities.

Will I be able to access Salesforce while this is happening?! Unlikely. We will probably shut it down Monday, March 19th – Tuesday, March 20th. We will communicate with you if this is the case, and keep you alert of any service disruptions. 

What is HEDA? Basically, it’s an out of the box Salesforce environment that is pre-built for the needs of the Higher Ed community.

But what does that mean? Well, it means we would have to build fewer custom solutions to meet common needs. It also offers new solutions to challenges we haven’t yet been able to tackle making those available much sooner for our users. One example is the need to track course enrollment for students. HEDA has an out of the box course object that will solve that problem for us!  Hooray!

What do we have now? We are currently on NPSP (Nonprofit Starter Pack) which is an out of the box Salesforce architecture designed for nonprofits, and a lot of the solutions are geared toward fundraising — so we actually don’t use a lot of what it offers since it doesn’t quite translate to higher ed needs. 

But why are we switching? Here are a few reasons why:

  1. We will gain out of the box solutions to our current needs.
  2. The enterprise-wide Salesforce roll-out across the main campus will be using HEDA as their data architecture. It is important that both the Smith Salesforce org and main campus Salesforce org are on the same data architecture to make the data integrations between the two platforms more seamless (this is related to the Advance integration)
  3. We should really migrate prior to rolling-out Marketing Cloud
  4. We expect Salesforce will continue to add new features and update releases that continue to offer new out of the box solutions designed to meet the changing and growing needs of higher ed. All of these future features will likely only be available on HEDA. 

How will this impact me? You shouldn’t notice any major differences from what you see now and how you use Salesforce. There are a few important things to be prepared for, however:

  • REPORTS: Since we have to map our existing Salesforce data to the fields that HEDA offers (this might mean we map a custom field in our current environment to an out of the box field in HEDA), this may impact your reports. Some of the names of fields may slightly differ from what we have now, so if you’re using the old fields as filters and those fields no longer exist… you’ll have some report errors. 
  • OBJECTS: Some of the objects may differ in terms of naming convention and layout. Not to worry, this should be minimal. 
  • ACCOUNTS: HEDA is geared toward the student. Since students don’t typically have a job at the time of enrollment, HEDA recognizes that and has a solution different from ours (which is to assign students to a custom company record called University of Maryland – Students Only). HEDA also recognizes that some people have multiple affiliations with different Accounts (aka organizations/companies). It will allow us to tag all of those accounts and choose one as the primary that will get rolled up to the contact record.
  • AESTHETICS: You might notice some small tweaks, but nothing dramatically different than what you’re used to! 
  • OTHERS: There may be some other small things I’m not thinking of at the time of posting, or that I won’t know until after we migrate. Rest assured, we’ll be with you on this journey to make sure the northern wall doesn’t fall down… I mean, Salesforce.

What can/should I do to prepare? I love it when you ask this question! I’ll do my best to offer training and support post-migration, but you could get a head start on preparing for these changes by educating yourself on HEDA and it’s account model referenced above. Take this trailhead  and earn your HEDA Basics Badge.

I have more questions… but the FAQ is over, what do I do? As your Salesforce Admin, my door is always open. You can call me, email, g-chat, @mention me on chatter, or request a 1:1 meeting — happy to accommodate all requests to make sure you feel good and ready. 

Please keep an eye out for post-migration HEDA training offerings when we’re back from Spring Break! 

Stay Warm,

Your Salesforce Admin







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