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Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) improves the user experience while reducing a heavy reliance on developers in move from legacy AMS to Fonteva.
Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), founded in 1950, is an educational and service organization that supports the growth and advancement of women in engineering. SWE boasts a membership of 40,000 individuals and has more than 300 collegiate member sections and 100 professional member sections.

Key Results

User-friendly system gave staff direct access to member data

Leveraged the flexibility of Fonteva for both membership and events

The Challenge

SWE used their previous system for four and a half years. They found that it was not nearly as flexible as they needed it to be, and there were a number of key motivating factors in making a switch.

According to Honna George, SWE’s Deputy Executive Director, the Society desired to create a better user experience for their members. In their legacy system, some processes were cumbersome and time-consuming.

Additionally, SWE wanted to establish better practices and more transparency with their data. They needed a cleaner and more simplified way for staff to access data. The Society sought to be able to utilize marketing and communications preferences more fully. These preferences were not bi-directional in their old AMS.

The Society prioritized reducing a heavy reliance on developers. The back-end of a new system also needed to be more user-friendly and easier to learn. Staff onboarding and training needed to be a smoother and quicker transition.

“We wanted a better user experience. We wanted to have more transparency with data. What we had was not nearly as flexible as what Salesforce offers,” stated Honna George.

The Solution

As SWE embarked on its search for a new solution, the Society already had a relationship with Salesforce, having used the software for sales, invoices, and contract management. They had realized the power of the platform and experienced the flexibility of the system. SWE quickly concluded that they could leverage the Salesforce platform more fully by utilizing Fonteva for both membership and events.

SWE knew that with the selection of Fonteva it was time to revisit their business processes and that they would need to change some of those processes. With Fonteva there was also a desire to keep their design processes simple.

In August 2019, SWE undertook a data governance evaluation to really look at their data practices and current documentation. This initiative helped SWE identify both strengths and weaknesses in their approach to data. They then worked through a roadmap to start addressing data issues. Next, SWE carefully reviewed their documentation and prioritized the key functionality they would need in a new system. This process enabled SWE to gain board-level support. They presented their data governance findings to the board, and they also built a strong case for a move to Fonteva.

According to Honna George, SWE essentially reverse engineered their data management. They looked at reports currently in use, considered core data that needed to be in the same place, and asked about the data they’d need to get out of a system. SWE then built their requirements based on those needs.

“After some training, I was able to do it myself; and I’m not a developer. So the infrastructure is a lot more user-friendly. I regularly go to the AppExchange, and I’m thrilled by the seamless integration that I can handle without a development background.”

Honna George, Deputy Executive Director, Society of Women Engineers

With regard to creating a better user experience, Honna George reports that their join process with the previous system took 20 minutes. Now in Fonteva a new member goes through a join process in just five minutes. Similarly, marketing and communications have been streamlined. Through the use of Pardot, communications preferences can be captured and stored in a member’s profile. That information is then conveyed back to Pardot. Forms can be built by staff in Salesforce or Pardot without the need for a developer. This functionality has enabled email preferences to be indicated for subgroups such as disciplines or schools, and SWE now has an increased capacity to specifically target lapsed members.

“After some training, I was able to do it myself; and I’m not a developer. So the infrastructure is a lot more user-friendly,” observed Honna George. “I regularly go to the AppExchange, and I’m thrilled by the seamless integration that I can handle without a development background.”

Honna George also noted that new SWE staff members are able to more quickly learn how to use Fonteva than they would have been able to with their previous system. Since they can easily be trained on Fonteva, the end result is that more and more staff are readily using one primary system for core data.

Honna George concluded, “We fell in love with the UI, and the data model matched very closely with what we needed. So Fonteva was miles away the best solution for us.”

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