We are in the heart of the busy spring conference season, and last week one of the companies I got to spend time with was Cornerstone OnDemand. Cornerstone continues its impressive growth trajectory, citing more deals closed in 2015 that its first 11 years. It’s one of the last remaining standing talent management providers, so it’s worth taking a look at where they are progressing.
Learning will always be at the core of Cornerstone, and if you’re a regular reader of my blog you know I’m a big believer in the DNA of companies. But it’s turning the corner to being a true, full capability talent management platform. There were five key product introductions (or re-introductions) this year, bringing the total to 21 products, though CEO Adam Miller groups them into four suites – learning, performance, recruiting and analytics. Here’s a quick look at the highlights.
Edge – Edge was discussed last year, but this year the power of the Edge marketplace was on full display. The onstage demo showed the speed and ease with which one could procure, integrate and begin using complementary technologies. My colleague Madeleine has previously discussed the difference between a marketplace and market hype, and Edge is clearly beyond the hype.
Link – This is best described as Cornerstones step towards the core HR space, though they were very clear to stop short of calling themselves an HRIS. But they do now offer effective dating and organizational charting, which may be enough to support the core HR needs of some organizations.
Analytics – This was a hot button topic in the analyst discussion. First of all, Cornerstone introduced its View, Insights and Planning products to build on its current reporting capabilities. View is all about data visualization and dashboards. Insights is focused on evolving analytics to both predictive and prescriptive analytics (more on this in a moment). And Planning is Cornerstone’s Big Data workforce planning solution. All of these products play an important role in building out the Analytics suite, but the conversation around the use of predictive and prescriptive analytics drew boisterous debate.
The idea of truly predictive analytics is moving beyond straight-line forecasting to help both individuals and organizations make decisions around prescriptive learning, or career paths, or succession. Prescriptive analytics moves beyond what is likely to happen, to what organization should do based on that information. But it’s important to remember that there is a big difference between using analytics to recommend a learning course and making a hiring or succession decision. One of the most important things Cornerstone can do is not only provide insight and analytics, but utilize its learning heritage to make sure that individuals and managers know how to use this information properly, and put it in the context it requires.
It’s important to remember that predictive and prescriptive analytics do not abdicate managers and leaders of their responsibilities around decision-making, they are simply a voice in the process. And organizations need to be careful in understanding the quality of the data that goes into the models as well as how to use the output. No matter how sophisticated the tool is, without those obligations being fulfilled by the user, it will never be as effective as it could be. And as a partner, Cornerstone can play a critical role in advising its customers in this area.
Cornerstone continues to work hard on building out its full capabilities, and is making the most of its position as one of the last independent providers standing. By depending on their heritage of learning to make sure that the appropriate adoption of their new solutions occurs, it’s easy to see the trend of customer success they have enjoyed continuing.