University of East London Press Release

A pandemic-proof project: The University of East London delivers Dynamics 365 with Pythagoras

Pythagoras and the University of East London (UEL) are delighted to share the launch of the first phase of a customer relationship management (CRM) project, which was successfully delivered remotely in just ten weeks during the UK’s first Covid-19 lockdown.

UEL identified a need to consolidate various CRM-type systems across the university into a single system to provide all users with up to date, accurate information about their enquirers, learners and alumni. Microsoft Dynamics 356 was selected as the preferred platform, enhanced by Evolve HE: Pythagoras’ higher education-specific accelerator. The project was divided into four distinct phases that would deliver cutting-edge functionality across the entire student journey, including enquiries, application, enrolment, on-course, graduation and alumni.

Speaking about the importance and aims of the programme of work, Amanda Niblett, Director of IT at the University of East London said, “Crucial to delivering our ‘Digital First’ initiative is to deliver a CRM platform that can be fed with consistent, gold-standard data from many applications and systems. This will allow us to produce really good managed information; to collaborate across services; and ensure that stakeholder interactions and engagements are recorded in one place, across their whole journey from applicant to alumni.”

A pandemic-proof project

During the delivery of Release One, the UK went into lockdown, making working from home mandatory for all who were able to do so. Luckily, UEL had invested in delivering Microsoft Teams in 2018, meaning work could continue without impacting the project schedule or system quality.

“Overnight, we were able to ensure that everyone could work from home and that we could continue to deliver teaching remotely. We could also continue our three key digital transformation projects that were just beginning, CRM being one of them.

“Microsoft Teams has allowed us to continue to collaborate during lockdown. The success of the Dynamics 365 project was dependent upon our teams being able to deliver functionality and train our users completely remotely. I believe it’s been extremely successful.”

Amanda Niblett, Director of IT at the University of East London

Strategic benefits for the CRM platform

  • Delivering a better experience for learners by simplifying interactions with UEL across all touchpoints.

  • Enhancing personalisation of communication with prospective, current and past students.

  • Integrating with other systems, including telephony and chatbots, to build a clear, 360-degree view of each student and their interaction with UEL.

  • Reducing the number of systems across the university to provide an accurate audit trail and increase strength of GDPR compliance.

  • Reducing manual intervention using automation, freeing up staff’s time to deliver value to students and other stakeholders.

Dynamics 365 for Alumni Engagement

One of the first teams to begin using Dynamics 365 was the alumni team, who went from pulling disparate data from multiple databases to having a single source of truth about all former students. Some of the benefits that have already been identified include:

  • Enhanced open and click through rates on email communications.

  • The ability to design detailed user journeys for all communications and report on engagement at each stage.

  • An increase in alumni satisfaction rates, including communication ratings and Net Promoter Score (NPS).

  • A cleansed set of contact records with up to date full audit tracking.

“Our communications now have much more of a professional feel, they are on brand, templated, personalised, automated. None of this was achievable with our old system.”

Charlie Werren, Alumni Engagement Manager at the University of East London.

Both UEL and Pythagoras are currently busy working on the second and third releases, with significant new functionality being launched over the next few months for optimising student recruitment and enhancing the university experience for learners.

The University of East London

The University of East London prepares its students for the jobs of the future. It has been pioneering futures since 1898, from the Second Industrial Revolution through to where we are now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Located in one of the world’s most multi-cultural areas, the University’s 15,000-plus students are a microcosm of this diversity, representing 150 different nationalities. With London campuses in Stratford and in Docklands, it is at the heart of the industrial and creative shift east, and a powerful global gateway.

Vision 2028, the University’s 10-year strategy, aims to create a 4.0 Education for learners: producing graduates with the skills, tools and competencies sought by employers and entrepreneurs in a rapidly changing world.


Pythagoras is an experienced digital partner specialising in delivering digital transformation with the Microsoft Cloud. Having worked with over 30% of UK universities, Pythagoras has the expertise to provide strategic advice that takes into account the objectives and challenges of the education sector, alongside robust technical guidance. Our consultants are highly skilled in Dynamics 365, the Power Platform, Azure, Office 365 and SharePoint.

To get in touch with Pythagoras, please contact or call 01628 519 000.