Cambrian College’s admissions Success with greymatter


Cambrian College, an arts and technology-focused post-secondary research college located in northern Ontario, Canada, supports more than 11,000 students with over 4,100 enrolled in a full-time program and 7,000 in part-time programs, with three main campus locations within northern Ontario, found in Sudbury, Espanola, and Little Current/Manitoulin Island. In 2018, Cambrian College sought to implement a solution that would improve recruitment and admission results when attracting international and domestic students.

Frequency Foundry’s was awarded the opportunity to implement its full lifecycle Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) solution, greymatter, for Cambrian College, beginning with domestic recruitment functionality.

The Challenges

Cambrian College identified three key challenges that a CRM would be required to overcome:

1. Arguably the most important challenge for the college centered around recruitment process hurdles when facing the increasing competition between institutions to recruit students.

2. Cambrian lacked a cohesive and consistent plan for the curation, management, and monitoring of current student data. College processes suffered from using multiple siloed legacy solutions that contained different and completely disconnected subsets of student data. Cambrian required a CRM solution that would integrate data from the pre-existing legacy systems to provide a more complete picture of current student data. The integrations required by the college included:

  • Banner SIS by Ellucian
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • WordPress
  • Moodle LMS
  • Cambrian College Student Portal

3. Lastly, Cambrian lacked a smart solution for donor management. The college had been traditionally challenged by their processes of capturing, managing, and mining donor and student award data from across multiple siloed systems. Cambrian required that the CRM provide a strong integration framework that would provide the Alumni Relations and Development team with improved results.

The Solution

Frequency Foundry was confident that greymatter was a demonstrable solution for Cambrian’s three primary challenges and offered an extensible platform with which the institution could grow and evolve in the long term. In reflection of Cambrian’s respective challenges listed above:

  1. To compete for student recruitment, the college recognized greymatter’s provision of centralized, extensible student records, codeless task automation, and holistic, 360-degree views of prospective student data would increase the efficacy and efficiency of their overall recruitment efforts while enforcing best practices. With greymatter’s 360-degree record view, users can review relationships between constituents and associated records, such as between a student and the institution, their previous schools, parents, advisors, etc.
  2. By replacing soiled systems and integrating with the college’s requirements, Cambrian benefitted in having a single solution, or “One-Stop Shop.” Through greymatter, the college gained centralized access to all current student data, which simplified the necessity of analyzing data to increase student success and satisfaction.
  3. To improve Alumni Relations and Development, Cambrian leveraged data centralization and the Advancement functionality of greymatter, which supported the college in improving on their communication, tracking, and data mining efforts while bettering the experience of communication recipients.

As the successful respondent to Cambrian’s RFP, Frequency Foundry worked with the college to identify the following key scope areas for implementation:

  • Tracking of recruitment campaigns through the utilization of analytics, reporting, and graphical representations of key data,
  • Support prospect management, new student entry and transition, student enrolment and retention, and the facilitation of relationships with other constituents, such as donors, Identify, capture, and manage critical data related to current students, including interaction/engagement history,
  • Implement best practices in contact management, marketing, and other aspects of strategic enrollment management and retention,
  • Full student lifecycle tracking and engagement, from prospective students to alumni,
  • House student awards information and track prospect and donor engagement,
  • Reduction of manual processes related to marketing by utilizing automated communication emails and notifications,
  • Improve marketing efforts using a platform that provided personalized messaging, and
  • Integration with legacy systems.

The Technology

greymatter is built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Platform and Common Data Services and relies on Azure services for infrastructure, platform, and software. The solution sits within the customer’s Azure and Office 365 tenants and brings together the Power Platform, Azure AI+ML, Productivity, and business apps on the common data service. It has been technically validated and certified for AppSource and is the only solution built on both Microsoft’s Higher Education and Nonprofit Accelerators.

Foundry is the only vendor to combine two of Microsoft’s industry solutions using the Common Data Services model, which ensures that greymatter remains standards-driven and standards-based to allow for ease of integration.


Upon implementation, Cambrian College immediately saw returns on its investment, especially in a decrease of administrative overheads during campaigning, higher response rates to personalized messaging, and recruitment conversions. Using greymatter, Cambrian increased conversions by tracking and analyzing recruitment data, from prospect through to enrolment, to identify where how prospects were being successfully converted, and prompting the college to refine its conversion focus and adjust its marketing and recruiting approaches to broaden its profile of prospects.

The college has leveraged greymatter for greater impacts and savings through improvements in managing recruiting processes, accessing prospect data, executing marketing campaigns, monitoring results with reports & analytic tools, planning and execution of events, and registering prospects at recruiting events. Using greymatter, Cambrian now plans better campaigns, provides reminders, solicits feedback, automates follow-up activities (which were previously long and tedious administrative tasks), analyzes data to improve marketing efforts and recruiting events, and accesses registration, attendance, and conversion data in real-time.

Cambrian College is continuing its investment in greymatter by increasing its CRM scope to cover more aspects of the constituent life cycle. In 2019, Cambrian moved forward with International Recruitment and Advancement functionality and is assembling a plan to move forward with further expansions to other departments.

Frequency Foundry, being honored and proud to support Cambrian College on its greymatter journey, is excited to maintain the college as one of our valued clients and as a vocal advocate for the greymatter solution.