In recent days I’ve seen some quite interesting offerings built upon salesforce.com’s force.com platform which leverage the building blocks the salesforce already provides, but tailors them for distinct verticals.
One of the offerings is still in stealth mode but the other is an interesting little solution for students. Studentforce can be thought of as CRM for students. Rather than the academic institution pushing information to the student, studentforce enables the student themselves to “manage their day to day interactions with classes, faculty, assignments, classmates, career opportunities; and, more significantly, the relationships between each other”.
Studedentforce organizes key parts of students experiences including:
- Academics – Users can follow classes, test schedules and results, course curricula and the like
- Career/Internship Search – since a career/internship search is similar to a sales process; studentforce enables students to effectively interact and track their search progress as they consider opportunities.
- In addition, students can transpose this process onto the scholarship search process in order to meet requirements, document submission and all the other hurdles they need to go through in order to be noticed and selected for these benefits
- Finance – Users can track their student grant and financial aid applications and also their job searched
- Social life – I’m told student life still includes a healthy dose of socialising. Studentforce allows for the all-important frat party lists to be maintained – even integrating with Facebook for some Gen Y cred
- Document management – all the usual stuff – email, docs, music, videos etc
Studentforce also leverages the salesforce/facebook integration to have Facebook profiles appear within the application – how willing students will be however to use a “social” application within a “formal” framework will need to be seen. Interestingly for an application which leverages the force platform that Studentforce can also be deployed on Zoho’s platform (disclosure – Zoho is a sponsor of CloudAve) making it somewhat vendor agnostic.
Studentforce makes sense for me – students have lots of different threads of information to keep track of and this offering does a good job of aggregating them all in one place. Of course the challenge, as always, is in making a buck. Studentforce’s business model is free to students supported by contextually sensitive advertising (see example below). I’m kind of dubious about ad supported applications to be honest – time will tell whether this is a successful angle for studentforce.