PSB Academy gets smarter with data through Microsoft

 |   Singapore News Center

Leading Singapore-based education institution leverages Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity suite to enrich campus experience for current and future cohorts of students with data

Dr Martin Grunert, Head of School of Life and Physical Sciences for PSB Academy, at the institution’s cutting-edge laboratory on-campus


Singapore, 16 June 2016 – Microsoft announced today that PSB Academy, Singapore’s leading education institution for tertiary and university studies, has tapped on Microsoft to ramp up its productivity and inventiveness in serving its students and prospects. With the deployment of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365, the Academy is making leaps into workflow automation, as well as gain greater visibility of its 11,000 students and potential enrollers.

With over 50 years in applied experience, PSB Academy prides itself on its ability to draw upon the academic strength of its educators and standing of its university partners in equipping students with knowledge and practical application experience relevant to real-world and professional situations. The Academy sought solutions to address the need to transform its operations in order to improve its ability to engage with existing and potential students, as well as to make smarter decisions for targeted student engagement.

“At Microsoft, we are committed in empowering every organization and individual to do more. The Academy’s goal in becoming better stewards of its students was key in its digital transformation and we are delighted to be able to partner with them in their journey in transforming its operations to meet the demands of its ever-changing and growing community,” said Ngiam Foong Chee, Marketing & Operations Lead, Microsoft Singapore.

“Productivity is embedded in our DNA. We believe that learning cannot simply take place via rote or classroom settings, but through the application and use of technology and hands-on experimentation to drive productivity transformations across organisation and communities, as well as enhancing the way an individual works in a professional environment,” said Derrick Chang, Chief Operating Officer, PSB Academy. “It was thus important for PSB Academy to also walk the talk. We needed to explore ways to enhance our operations with data, to ensure that we continue to offer a compelling and enriching experience to our students.”

Considering finite resources as one if its main challenge within the organisation, PSB Academy sought capabilities that would help market the institution at scale, and to appeal to potential candidates who had the calibre and fit for the education experience it offers. It was important for the Academy to better understand its students, which meant that they needed the capability to capture, analyse and visualise data to drive better insights.

Mr Chang said: “Knowing our students – what courses they are taking, how they are progressing, and how they prefer to be engaged – these are things we need to keep track of. A better understanding of our students will help us better shape policies and syllabus, and so, we embarked on this partnership with Microsoft having recognised that we can do a better job.”

Better workflows, deeper insights for improved engagements with students

 Previously, PSB Academy relied mainly on spreadsheets in order to manage enquiries to gain insights of its student database. Inquiries averaged about 5,000 per month. The institution recognised that she needs to be more responsive to the needs and preferences of her existing and potential students by gaining insights into key trends, observations, and important workflows in real-time.

With Microsoft and their partner Pratyaya, PSB Academy migrated its data and workflows into Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, a cloud-based customer engagement solution. The deployment resulted in significant gains in terms of visibility, traceability and the ability to make smarter student-engagement and operational decisions from insights generated. Pratyaya also provided the level of automation PSB Academy required in improving its workflow. For example, each request or feedback previously was tagged with individual ticket number, and needed to be cross-referenced. This resulted in delays and inefficiency due to limited tracking mechanisms in place.

The migration to Dynamics CRM Online has improved PSB Academy’s ability to assess the fit and calibre of potential candidates, and also the ability to help students arrive at a more informed enrolment decision. “For every 100 inquiries today, we are able to tell which ones will likely translate to actual enrolments. In fact, we are able to tell which source the inquiry came from, and we can look into specific profiles or in aggregate. By knowing specific trends and details about prospective students, we were able to focus engagement efforts where it was most needed.” Said Mr. Chang.

The ability to analyse potential student pool has enabled PSB Academy to engage and recruit at scale, whereby Mr. Chang and his team are now able to optimise applications from the onset and to be able to work with each of these applicants even in the early stages of programme enquiry. The deployment has also enabled the Academy to engage with candidates every step of the way, and identify when candidates become less engaged.

Mr Chang shared: “With Dynamics CRM Online, we have seen over 14 percent rise in enrolment numbers, without having to spend an additional cent on more marketing.”

Growing brand equity with the millennials

 At PSB Academy, social media engagement is an important component of the institution’s student education and engagement strategy, especially when its primary audience are millennials and digital natives. With Dynamics CRM Online, PSB Academy is able to rely on alerts and triggers whenever there are mentions or discussions of the institution across social channels.

Mr. Chang recalled an incident with a candidate and how he managed to extend help to him. “It was through social listening on public forums that I discovered how a potential student had wanted to apply with us, but was worried about financial resources. I personally reached out and referred the student to our office for academic aid, with hopes that he would be able to pursue his studies with us.”

 Cloud-based collaboration and engagement for a new era of education

 PSB Academy has also deployed Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity tool, in a bid to drive collaboration among students and educators. The deployment has enabled staff to be able to work on documents together, communicate with colleagues virtually, as well as better keep-track of academic calendar.

The institution remains focused on empowering lecturers with the ability and convenience to collaborate, and work on-the-go, from almost any device. In the near future, PSB Academy hopes to integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online with Office 365 as well as its educational portal to customise the user experience for each student. This will enable the Academy to gain better and deeper insights into every student, and interact better with students by appealing to their preferred mode and themes of engagements.