College of Computing and Digital Media Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-2-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Computing

First Advisor

Theresa A. Steinbach, PhD

Second Advisor

Richard A. Rocco, PhD

Third Advisor

Hamed Qahri-Saremi, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Olayele Adelakun, PhD


The 4th industrial revolution (4IR) describes a series of innovations in artificial intelligence, ubiquitous internet connectivity, and robotics, along with the subsequent disruption to the means of production. The impact of 4IR on industry reveals a construct called Industry 4.0. Higher education, too, is called to transform to respond to the disruption of 4IR, to meet the needs of industry, and to maximize human flourishing. Education 4.0 describes 4IR’s impact or predicted impact or intended impact on higher education, including prescriptions for HE’s transformation to realize these challenges. Industry 4.0 requires a highly skilled workforce, and a 4IR world raises questions about skills portability, durability, and lifespan. Every vertical within industry will be impacted by 4IR and such impact will manifest in needs for diverse employees possessing distinct competencies.

Customer relationship management (CRM) describes the use of information systems to implement a customer-centric strategy and to practice relationship marketing (RM). Salesforce, a market leading CRM vendor, proposes its products alone will generate 9 million new jobs and $1.6 trillion in new revenues for Salesforce customers by 2024. Despite the strong market for CRM skills, a recent paper in a prominent IS journal claims higher education is not preparing students for CRM careers. In order to supply the CRM domain with skilled workers, it is imperative that higher education develop curricula oriented toward the CRM professional. Assessing skills needed for specific industry roles has long been an important task in IS pedagogy, but we did not find a paper in our literature review that explored the Salesforce administrator role.

In this paper, we report the background, methodology, and results of a content analysis of Salesforce Administrator job postings retrieved from popular job sites. We further report the results of semi-structured interviews with industry experts, which served to validate, revise, and extend the content analysis framework. Our resulting skills framework serves as a foundation for CRM curriculum development and our resulting analysis incorporates elements of Education 4.0 to provide a roadmap for educating students to be successful with CRM in a 4IR world.

Available for download on Monday, June 30, 2025