How a Slack App MVP is Informing Product Roadmap Decisions

Helping a Top 4 Professional Services Firm with MVP Slack App Design and Development

Have an idea for a new or improved offering? That’s a great place to be! But whether you want to build a new app, an AI-powered chatbot, or reimagined digital experience, there’s still a long road ahead and a lot of questions to ask. How do you know if that idea will work? How will you test it? When will you seek feedback? And how will you bring everyone else on board? Robots & Pencils supports clients at every stage of product design and development, including advising you on what ideas to test and how. Then, we help you get those ideas out into the world as minimum viable products (MVPs). By doing so, you can gather early feedback that will guide your future direction. Below, we share how we helped a major professional services firm test their idea with a Slack app MVP.

Recognizing the Power of Slack

One of the best things about Slack is its ability to bring together people, systems, and processes all in one place. If your organization uses Slack but doesn’t integrate other technology and workflows into the platform, you’re missing out on opportunities. Being able to interact with your systems right from Slack to get the information you need is a huge win. It benefits the employee experience and the entire organization by making work faster and more efficient.

Knowing the potential and promise of Slack, a top 4 professional services firm approached us with an idea. They wanted to give users of their Salesforce-based supplier lifecycle management solution access to the tool’s features inside Slack. This access, they hypothesized, would allow users to work more efficiently and effectively. Now, they wanted to build a Slack app MVP so that they could test the theory and demonstrate the benefits of integrating the two systems.

Creating a MVP Slack App to Test with Potential Customers

An experienced Slack services provider and longtime Slack partner, Robots & Pencils was well equipped to help our client. We provided expertise for the product strategy, UX/UI design, documentation, and development for the proof of concept Slack app. For this app, the team honed in on two important employee use cases: onboarding suppliers and collaborating on tracking issues.

In the resulting Slack MVP app, users can easily access and share new supplier details and onboarding statuses from Salesforce in Slack. Depending on their needs, users can share supplier info in channels or conversations. For issue tracking, our developers set up the integration so that new incidents added in Salesforce automatically post in Slack. As issues arise, users can discuss and collaborate on problems in real time. After an issue posts in the incident channel, users can also share it to other channels and conversations. Additionally, the Slack posts contain links that users can click on to see more details about the supplier or incident in Salesforce.

Robots & Pencils also assisted in configuring Slack and Salesforce to automate the app deployment process to the client’s internal AWS environment. Now, the client is demoing the MVP to customers and potential stakeholders to gauge interest in the app and its features. Already, the process has provided valuable insights for improving their product and refining their roadmap.

How to Get Started on Your Product Idea

If you’re ready to take the next steps on your product idea, Robots & Pencils is here to help. Early on, we’ll leverage stakeholder and user interviews combined with quantitative studies to uncover unmet needs and opportunities to innovate. In design and product vision workshops, we’ll align your team on goals, plans, and priorities. When you’re ready, we’ll partner with you to conduct technology and creative experiments to test the feasibility of your ideas and how they resonate with users. Of course, we also assist with agile product development, from designing and building products to measuring performance and learning in ways that power continual improvement and growth. Rounding it out, we deliver change management strategies and services that maximize business impact.

Want more information? Contact today!

WITness Success: Reflections from a Women in Tech Event

What I Gained from WITness Success, a Salesforce Women in Tech event

by Danica Ríos, Client Strategy Analyst at Robots & Pencils

Attending the WITness Success Conference (a Salesforce Women in Tech event) earlier this year was nothing short of extraordinary. The event offered a tapestry of personal connections, newfound friendships, and an encounter with my favorite CEO that left me inspired and empowered.

I had the opportunity to establish more personal relationships than I could have ever imagined. The conversations flowed effortlessly. The shared passion for Salesforce created strong, instantaneous bonds. I believe these friendships formed through work and networking are more than just connections. They have the potential to be lifelines that sustain you through challenges. They can make you feel resilient in the face of uncertainty. 

Seeing so many successful women, especially in the tech world, at the WITness Success Conference was inspiring. From personal experience, I know that the connections we make and moments we share with others can leave lasting imprints on our lives. Watching the ripple effect of positivity, enthusiasm, and support at the conference reinforced this notion. Every individual has the power to uplift those around them!

Impactful Encounters

One of the most pivotal moments of the conference was meeting our CEO, Tracey Zimmerman, in person. A true force to be reckoned with, her presence exudes strength, determination, and a genuine commitment to our collective success. As she navigated the room with grace and purpose, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of admiration and respect for her leadership.

The words she spoke to me echoed in my mind, filling me with pride and validation. She identified me as a “hand raiser” – an individual who takes initiative, embraces learning, and embodies the spirit of growth within Salesforce. Hearing those words from someone I deeply admire was a testament to the impact of hard work and dedication.

Caption: Danica Ríos (lower left) and Robots & Pencils CEO Tracey Zimmerman (middle) pose with Charlie Issacs (left) and Corey Snow (right), members of the Salesforce community in town for Midwest Dreamin and WITness Success.

Looking back, I realize how far I have come in just two and a half years. From a recent graduate of the Talent Stacker program to a certified Salesforce Administrator, I have transformed my aspirations into reality. But it isn’t just my personal achievements I am proud of. I have found a company that resonates with my values. I have a team that feels like family. At Robots & Pencils, I discovered an environment where individuals come together to be more than just the sum of their parts. Tracey’s presence at the conference was a living reminder that great leadership is the driving force behind organizational growth and value.

Session Takeaways

I also found value in the sessions I attended. In particular, a panel of senior Salesforce professionals offered valuable advice on leveling up your career. Even just learning about their work experience and current roles helped me imagine what my career could look like 10 years from now. 

That panel also emphasized the importance of community involvement and mentoring. One lesson they emphatically shared was how mentors can learn as much from mentees as mentees learn from you! Moreover, they reminded us that every interaction matters in the workplace. Each time you talk with someone is an opportunity to contribute to improving communication and collaboration in your organization. Eventually, these interactions add up to create a positive atmosphere for all.

Closing Thoughts from WITness Success

As the conference drew to a close, I carried with me a heart full of gratitude, inspiration, and a renewed commitment to excellence. Witnessing success in its various forms – in the connections we forge, the friendships we cultivate, and the leadership that guides us – reaffirmed that this journey is about more than reaching milestones. Without doubt, it is also about embracing the profound impact we can have on each other’s lives, especially as women in tech. 

About Danica Ríos

Profile photo for Danica Ríos

Danica is a Client Strategy Analyst at Robots & Pencils. She is a Salesforce certified professional with expertise in product management, business analysis, and Salesforce administration. As a Trailblazer Mentorship Circle Mentor, Danica is proud to support the growth and development of fellow Salesforce professionals.

Dreamforce 2023: 5 Game-Changing Highlights

Dreamforce 2023, the annual gathering of Salesforce enthusiasts, brought together tech innovators, business leaders, and industry experts to showcase the latest advancements in customer relationship management and technology. This year’s event was nothing short of exciting, with groundbreaking announcements and product launches.

“AI was the theme of Dreamforce ’23. Many of our conversations with customers at the event centered on how they could take meaningful steps to take advantage of the AI opportunity,” shared John Carton, our VP of Salesforce Growth.

“Marc Benioff reinforced that Slack is ‘going to be the promise of AI for a lot of our most important customers.’ At Robots & Pencils, we feel that Slack is the perfect spot for customers to experiment and prove out AI use cases for your organization,” John added.

In this post, we outline five key takeaways from Dreamforce 2023 that are set to revolutionize the way businesses operate and interact with their customers.

Our Top 5 Dreamforce 2023 Highlights

1. Meet Einstein Copilot: Your New AI Partner in Productivity

One of the most remarkable highlights of Dreamforce 2023 was the introduction of Einstein Copilot. This AI-driven assistant is designed to revolutionize how users handle tasks including email composition, meeting coordination, and CRM data management. What sets Einstein Copilot apart is its focus on trust and safety. Salesforce has integrated the Einstein Trust Layer to ensure that AI can be a trusted partner. By avoiding toxicity and hallucinations, Salesforce is prioritizing responsible AI usage, making it a safer and more reliable resource.

2. Data Cloud’s Power Boost: Governance, Privacy, and Security for Free

Salesforce’s Data Cloud is expanding its functionality, particularly in data governance, privacy, and security. This development is significant as data is at the heart of modern business operations. What’s even more exciting is that certain licenses, such as Sales and Service Cloud, Enterprise, and Unlimited licenses, can access these enhanced capabilities for free. With Data Cloud licenses for up to 10,000 profiles, Salesforce is empowering organizations to take control of their data and leverage it for informed decision-making.

Additionally, Salesforce is offering two free Tableau Creator licenses, making it easier for businesses to harness the power of data analytics. Tableau is a dynamic data analytics product that leverages the capabilities of AI to not only crunch numbers but also generate insights. Tableau Pulse anticipates users’ questions, making data-driven decision-making more intuitive than ever before. By posing questions users might not have considered, Tableau can unveil hidden opportunities and challenges within your data. With Tableau Pulse in your toolkit, data is your greatest asset and insights are your guiding light.

3. Sustainability Cloud: Measuring and Mitigating Environmental Impact

In an era when sustainability is a global imperative, Salesforce unveiled its Sustainability Cloud at Dreamforce 2023. This innovative platform can assist companies in quantifying and mitigating ecological footprints. This tool enables businesses to track, measure, and reduce their carbon emissions, water consumption, and waste production. By integrating sustainability into their operations, companies can demonstrate a commitment to responsible business practices, enhance their brand image, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

4. Salesforce and Google Cloud: Supercharging AI Innovation

Dreamforce 2023 also brought exciting news of a strategic collaboration between Salesforce and Google Cloud. These two tech giants are joining forces to expedite the advancement of AI-driven applications. This partnership holds the promise of enhanced AI capabilities, better data integration, and improved cloud services. With Salesforce’s expertise in CRM and Google Cloud’s prowess in AI and cloud computing, businesses can look forward to more innovative solutions that streamline operations and deliver enhanced customer experiences.

5. Automate Your Success with Data Cloud-Triggered Flow

Last but not least, Dreamforce 2023 introduced a game-changing feature for Salesforce users: Data Cloud-Triggered Flow. This feature enables users to create automated workflows triggered by data events within the Data Cloud. Now businesses can set up tailored, real-time responses to specific data changes, enhancing their agility and efficiency. Whether it’s updating customer profiles, triggering marketing campaigns, or managing inventory, Data Cloud-Triggered Flow empowers organizations to automate critical processes and respond to changing data conditions swiftly.

What These Innovations Mean for Organizations and Industries

The unveiling of these new products and integrations at Dreamforce 2023 holds immense potential for Salesforce customers. Take, for instance, the impact of Salesforce Data Cloud. For any company managing multiple Salesforce instances and ‘data lakes,’ Salesforce Data Cloud can be a powerful ally. It enables seamlessly consolidating data from various sources, including third-party platforms like AWS. With the added advantage of data cleansing, deduplication tools, and AI-powered data analysis, companies can harness the true potential of their data. They can identify emerging trends, make more informed decisions, and ultimately, transform the way they operate.

Dreamforce 2023 showcased Salesforce’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and responsible AI usage. All the above takeaways are poised to transform the way businesses operate and engage with their customers. Salesforce is not only keeping pace with industry trends but leading the way in shaping the future of CRM and technology. Businesses that embrace these innovations will be better equipped to navigate the evolving landscape and stay ahead of the competition.

Want to level up how your organization uses Salesforce?

Robots & Pencils helps clients leverage data and insights plus intelligent automation to get the most out of their Salesforce investment. Send us a note at to learn more.

Robots & Pencils Announces Launch of Student Apps to Simplify and Elevate Learner Success

Led by newly appointed Head of Product Ryan Gialames, the student-centric mobile, web, and Slack apps powered by Salesforce focus on powering the learner journey and providing students with full wrap-around support

CLEVELAND, October 25, 2022 — Today, Robots & Pencils, a digital product company focused on transforming businesses with mobile, web, and frontier technologies, announced the release of its new education product, Student Apps. Concurrently, the company has appointed Ryan Gialames as Head of Product, Edtech, to lead and execute the ongoing strategy and design of Student Apps.

Student Apps provides students with a seamless, customized experience that supports each learner’s unique journey. Powered by Salesforce, Student Apps integrates backend systems, including student information systems and learning management system platforms, under a user-centered front end. This multi-app platform is a breakthrough in the educational technology field as its unique method of consolidating all student data eliminates the data silos that normally impede the ability of staff to support students.

“Student Apps is designed to meet the needs for institutions focused on providing full support to learners who would like to optimize their existing technological investments, unlock the power of Salesforce and Slack for education, build a journey unique to each learner through automation, connect learners to their community, and deliver innovative programs,” said Tracey Zimmerman, President and CEO of Robots & Pencils. “Our goal is to break current barriers and create new and innovative solutions that meet the needs of our clients in the current digital landscape.”

Student Apps has already had a successful trial run with Arizona State University. In 2019, ASU and Robots & Pencils partnered to find a way to streamline ASU’s technology in order to better communicate with students. Robots & Pencils created a Slack bot, now available as part of the Student Apps suite, that helps with the onboarding process and cuts down the amount of manual labor required to get students enrolled and engaged with the institution, driving better student outcomes.

“Universities often “ship the org chart”, with each department vying for the learner’s time and attention. Combine this with a landscape of disparate edtech technologies and the student experience suffers. Student Apps solve this problem, providing a set of tools to help learners manage the important tasks and milestones that will support their success and connecting them to those who can help, including staff and peers. ” said Gialames. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a forward-thinking company like Robots & Pencils to help universities and professional learning providers solve pressing matters and build the optimal learner experience.”

Effective immediately, Gialames has stepped into the role of Head of Product for the company’s education technology. In this role, he will be responsible for launching edtech products, such as Student Apps, and bringing them to market while also driving the future innovation of these products. Most recently Gialames served as the Sr. Director, UX/UI at Western Governors University. Previously, he served as the Director in Product Design at Robots and Pencils where he led product strategy and design across all education clients including Arizona State University, University of Texas, Texas Oncourse, and Trilogy Education which was acquired by 2U. Prior to joining Robots & Pencils, Gialames was the Senior Director of Product Strategy and UX at the Carnegie Mellon University backed edtech startup, Acatar, and was Manager of Online Student Experience at Education Management Corporation.

Student Apps is now available in the Salesforce Appexchange. The platform has an annual license fee and implementation service fees, and can be configured to suit the needs of the institution.

This rollout follows additional growth across industries for Robots & Pencils, who announced an investment from Salesforce Ventures and the company’s partnership with LunaYou, a women-centered maternal wellbeing program created to address the maternity crisis earlier this year.

To learn more about Robots & Pencils, please visit

How a Customized Platform Built on Salesforce Made a World of Difference For This Financial Institution

A private portfolio lender, Level Capital needed to create an improved loan management system to support ongoing nationwide growth. The answer to their pain points came in the form of Robots & Pencils, a digital transformation agency that excels in designing and building Salesforce solutions to improve businesses.

Introducing Level Capital

Level Capital is a private portfolio lender that provides loans to builders and investors for construction on new homes.

Their loan programs are designed to address the specific needs, challenges and business objectives of small to medium sized builders and real estate investors.

Why Level Capital Turned to Robots & Pencils

Innovation in the financial sector can be complex so it’s crucial to pick a digital partner who understands the strict guidelines and security requirements that financial institutions have to embrace.

To process, manage and report on an increasing number of loan applications, Level Capital needed a more streamlined and reliable approach. Level Capital decided to rebuild the entire platform they used for running their business and Robots & Pencils knew that Salesforce was the perfect solution.

The Digital Solution

Robots & Pencils designed and configured a solution to improve how Level Capital processes and monitors loan applications via a customized and robust system that relies on Salesforce. By integrating third-party tools and custom code, the new system and workflow allows Level Capital to better:

  • Manage loan applications
  • Access and analyze more loan data
  • Report on loan applications
  • Monitor credit approvals
  • Stay on top of budgets
  • Scale loan management
  • Provide stronger data security
  • And more!

Today Salesforce is a huge part of Level Capital’s business. From the second a builder submits an application and becomes a lead in the system, all the way to a loan being approved, funded, and eventually paid off, everything is done within the Salesforce ecosystem that Robots & Pencils helped to build.

“R&P’s team brought Level’s vision of modernizing our business via a platform built on top of Salesforce from vision to reality. They are partners in every sense of the word,” said Lyra Waggoner, EVP, Software Strategy at Level Capital.

The Finished Product

Now that Level Capital has digitally transformed their way of doing things, they are able to stay efficient, communicate effectively with customers and employees, manage and monitor financial processes, and scale loan management. Their new platform is also much more flexible and easy to build on for future improvements, so that Level Capital can quickly get new products out to market.

Clients and employees are delighted with Level Capital’s innovation and their new way of doing things.

Want to talk to us about transforming your workflows with Salesforce? Reach out to us anytime!

How Salesforce Automation Changed Sprinklr’s Way of Doing Things

As businesses grow, it’s common to face new challenges and experience a need for doing things a new way. At Robots & Pencils, we usually step in when a company is experiencing growing pains and create digital solutions to accelerate our clients’ processes. We also love sharing what we learn along the way, which has inspired this post.

It’s no secret that the overwhelming majority of companies use Salesforce not only to aid in their sales process and for CRM, but many are using the platform to run many or all of their critical business processes post-sales. We have worked with many clients to first identify the most impactful opportunities, and then to design, configure and customize Salesforce and other systems as needed to drive business impact while also improving visibility to data and drive actionable insights. Sprinklr is one of the great companies who trusted us with optimizing their Salesforce implementation, and the results were astounding.

Meet Sprinklr

Sprinklr is the most comprehensive platform on the market when it comes to CXM (customer experience management).

Thousands of the world’s largest enterprises use Sprinklr every day to engage consumers online. The ability to leverage insights leads to better collaboration within organizations, creates a unified view of customers and ultimately creates better experiences for consumers.

Sprinklr mixes modernity into all of their offerings and has a great blog where you can glean strategies to apply to your business.

A Complicated CPQ

Sprinklr relies on Salesforce’s CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) platform. However, as Sprinklr grew, the CPQ instance became increasingly complicated and was affecting their workflow. The setup was putting the sales team at risk for generating improper quotes.

The Sprinklr team was manually fixing CPQ inaccuracies which was time consuming and frustrating. They wanted to be able to rely on Salesforce for their workflow. These hangups became problematic in many ways including how to make future technical enhancements.

Sprinklr needed a new way of doing things.

The Far Better Way

Robots & Pencils met with Sprinklr to first understand their existing tools, processes, and requirements. After analyzing their existing Salesforce implementation, we began to simplify and eliminate unnecessary CPQ fields and customizations. Our work ensured that all of the information needed by the sales team and clients would be automatically populated on Sprinklr’s order forms. R&PWe also made changes to Sprinkr’s CPQ instance to ensure accurate pricing and discount calculations.

With more efficiency and accuracy, the Sprinklr team is now able to provide more accuracy when it comes to quotes. Their team is able to fully rely on Salesforce’s CPQ platform again.

The Robots & Pencils team created a workflow for Sprinklr that embraces:

  • Faster order form creation
  • More useful views and automation
  • Accurate CPQ calculations
  • Prominently displayed customer discounts
  • Easy to understand multi-year deal prices
  • Clearly shown payment schedules

Key Takeaways

Here at Robots & Pencils, we work a lot with what we call “the frustrated innovator.” We help our clients’ brands implement digital transformation strategies so they have that companies have a far better way of doing things. Our work with Sprinklr using Salesforce is just one example of the solutions we can implement work we do. We pride ourselves in delivering technology that delivers a competitive advantage for all of our clients.

The biggest takeaway from this example is that companies who have a solution implemented but aren’t getting the impact expected or are still using a lot of manual workarounds don’t have to settle for complicated workflows. There are experts out there who can help with user-centered design, technology and business process improvementes like Robots & Pencils to unlock the business value technology can have when done well whether it’s us or another digital agency.

Robots & Pencils Announces New Investment to Further Develop Slack’s Ecosystem

A long-standing partner of Slack, Robots & Pencils brings a myriad of knowledge on how organizations can best utilize Slack as well as offers unique solutions to challenges they may face.

CLEVELAND — April 26, 2022 — Robots & Pencils, a digital innovation and solutions firm focused on transforming businesses with mobile, web, and frontier technologies and strategies, announced today an investment from Salesforce Ventures. The investment comes as Slack, which was acquired by Salesforce in 2021, continues to bolster connections and partnerships with pioneering technology startups that help organizations maximize the combined Slack and Salesforce platform.

After many organizations made the necessary shift to remote work at the onset of the pandemic, Robots & Pencils has continued to grow at an accelerated pace as it helps clients transition from stop-gap solutions to building out thoughtful, holistic digital transformation projects. Over the last year, the company has grown its Salesforce and Slack consulting business by 70%, while key executive hires in the Consumer & Retail Goods and Financial Services sectors have helped bolster company growth by 40% overall. The investment will enable Robots & Pencils to accelerate growth of its unique capabilities in developing complex, integrated Salesforce and Slack solutions.

“It has been a fun and transformative journey working with both Slack and Salesforce, partnering closely to develop scalable and innovative solutions to drive impact across a wide array of industries,” said Tracey Zimmerman, CEO and President of Robots & Pencils. “This investment from Salesforce Ventures is a testament to our team’s early adoption and unique expertise with both platforms, and we look forward to the next phase in our partnership.”

With deep working knowledge of how to optimize both platforms, Robots & Pencils is uniquely positioned to help companies accelerate digital transformation, drive collaboration, and improve operational efficiency with custom Salesforce and Slack solutions. Robots & Pencils has a rich history and deep expertise with Slack, recognizing its potential as a transformative workplace tool early on and signing on as the company’s first official services partner in 2016.

In 2018, Slack acquired Missions, a powerful no-code solution developed by Robots & Pencils to make it easier for teams to automate processes and tasks in the platform. Today Missions is available to all Slack users and is integrated in the core Slack platform as Workflow Builder. As a Salesforce Consulting Partner and Registered Higher Ed Partner, Robots & Pencils has been designing and developing scalable and innovative Salesforce solutions across industries since 2014. Led by Daniel Peter, a seven-time Salesforce MVP with over 30 certifications, the Robots & Pencils team has developed custom solutions that allow companies like University of Texas, 2U and Sprinklr to push the boundaries of what’s possible with Salesforce.

“We are always looking to work with forward-thinking companies that are changing the ways companies think about work, collaboration and the ability to bring the digital HQ to life for our joint customers,’’ said Yolanda Wong, VP of Partner Investments at Salesforce. “We are excited to invest in Robots and Pencils as they expand their Slack solutions across industry. As early champions of the Slack platform they have established a strong perspective on how to help organizations leverage Slack as an agent of change and we look forward to seeing the ongoing innovation they bring to market.”

In January 2022, Robots & Pencils hired Todd Sbarro as chief operating officer to help scale the organization’s strategic growth initiatives across the Consumer & Retail Goods, Financial Services, and Education verticals. The company has created several new leadership roles over the years, strengthening its team to over 200 talented professionals across North America specializing in UX, Design, Mobile, Salesforce, Web, and more.

In the summer of 2022, Robots & Pencils will be launching “Operating Smarter with Salesforce and Slack,” a webinar series where the company’s in-house experts will break down how the platforms can be leveraged in a hybrid work setting. To learn more, please visit:

About Robots & Pencils

Established in 2009, Robots & Pencils is a digital innovation firm founded on the then-contrarian view that mobile would be more transformative than the Internet. Today, in an age of unprecedented technology acceleration, Robots & Pencils helps companies maintain a competitive advantage by developing new digital strategies and products focused on education, financial services, and retail & consumer goods. For more information, please visit

How ASU Achieved a Harmonious Student Experience With Slack Integrations

Arizona State University (ASU) is always looking for a way to better engage students.

“It’s our mission to help Sun Devils feel more connected to each other and the diversity of opportunities around them,” says CIO, Lev Gonick. “Slack has been a connective tissue across ASU, enabling deeper discussions and greater productivity in both formal and informal spaces.”

They have gone all in with Slack as their digital campus solution and this blog post is here to tell you all about it so that you have key takeaways to apply to your own institution.

A Brief Background on ASU

ASU has multiple campuses, along with thousands of online students who are located all over the country and the world. ASU has been recognized by US News & World Report as the country’s most innovative school and prides itself on graduating more than 27,000 thinkers and innovators each year.

Since so many of their students are enrolled digitally, ASU is constantly looking for better ways to engage their students online. Engagement is especially important during enrollment and the onboarding of new students.

Knowing that innovation is the backbone of success, ASU knew they needed a technical solution to step in and improve how they communicate with students.

ASU’s Previous Student/Success Coach Process

ASU aimed to streamline their process for admitting and enrolling students as well as keeping them engaged and successful throughout their school year.

They have a student network where they set new students up for success and also provide a way for students to network with each other. ASU really wanted to build a sense of community at their universities.

A lot of work went into keeping students engaged especially because ASU’s students are all over the country, not just in Arizona. Networking and engagement relies more on digital workflows than a lot of other schools.

The previous platform relied on Facebook authentication, but Facebook is dwindling in usage for the college demographic so this became problematic.

Why ASU Decided to Work With Robots & Pencils

ASU and Robots & Pencils started the initiative in 2019 after getting fed up with the complicated way of communicating with their students.

To avoid relying on Facebook or other social networks, ASU wanted to find a way to use their own single sign on technology to communicate with students.

In February of 2020, after some beta testing, ASU’s new program launched, utilizing Slack as the communication hub and cutting down on all of the digital clutter from their old workflows.

Robots & Pencils not only was willing to create a tailored solution for ASU but they also helped re-imagine their workflows. Companies find that they need a healthy balance of technical and creative so Robots & Pencils often creates solutions but doesn’t stop there — we also help with the visual and planning aspects of implementing something new.

Slack wasn’t designed to be a social network or a student portal, so ASU needed a partner like Robots & Pencils to customize Slack and tailor it to their needs in order to create a space that was useful and accessible to their students.

The Digital Solution

Robots & Pencils implemented a streamlined way for ASU to connect students with other students and stay engaged throughout their college career.

Broken down by channels in Slack, Robots & Pencils helped ASU create spaces for students characterized by student type, campus and college groups.

In June of 2020, Robots & Pencils implemented a Slack bot that helped with the onboarding process and cut down the amount of manual labor that was going on to get students signed up and engaged in the portal. It also automatically puts students into the right channels and simplifies moderation within the community.

The Slack bot keeps onboarding organized and automated so it has resulted in a lot of time savings for ASU staff and eliminated frustrations for the students. The bot also allows ASU employees to message students based on student type, major, and other traits so the communication process has gotten a lot easier. Student Success Coaches can even quickly look up information about each student so that they provide learners with better, more personalized support.

How Slack Integrations Transformed ASU’s Student Success

Once ASU transitioned to Slack in 2019, they were able to streamline their student engagement and instead of using 4 tools, they consolidated everything into Slack.

Once the new Slack processes were created, ASU saw the amount of active students in their portal jump from 8,000 a year to 15,000 a year, showing that students have been responding well to these new workflows.

What Does This Example of Digital Transformation Mean for My Brand?

As this example shows, there is always a better way to do things when you have the right technology partner. If you think parts of your process are too time consuming or you rely on too much manual labor, there is definitely a solution out there for you.

Slack doesn’t have to be just for internal communications; when structured properly, it can be a communication hub if you’re willing to think outside the box.

What areas of your external and internal workflows could be improved? We’d love to have a great chat with you about it in the comments below!