It is early Monday morning following Cornerstone Convergence and I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the three key topics.  Cornerstone puts on a first-class event which is fun, engaging, and educational.  There were a little over 2,000 participants this year and I feel as though I met most of them.  It was a busy week.

What are the Three Most Important Things I Learned at Convergence?

Skill Development Is a Priority

Cornerstone has gone all in on Skills as the new currency.  Much of the focus on Learning for the past year has been Cornerstone’s move into the content market with Content Anytime.  At Convergence we began to see the evolution take shape with a serious focus on developing people.  The announcement of Career Center, was to myself, the most important advancement in the platform.  Using machine learning to drive continuous learning, engagement and career development was exceptional.  It is interesting that this feature is available through the Performance module and my expectation is that this will replace the development plan feature.

What is unique about Career Center from other similar type platforms is that it included as a part of an LMS and is not an add-on. (Yes, it is part of the Performance module so there is a possibility it is an add-on for some Clients.)  The visualization of a career path is quite revealing.  Focus on highlighted career development opportunities that morph (AI driven) as each user completes courses, expand learning outside the LMS, take on new roles or gain positive reviews from your supervisors or co-workers.  The AI engine does the work of assessing and aligning your future career goals to the best path forward.

Career Center is exciting yet the focus on expansion of the Cornerstone application is really on the overall ability to identify skill/talent gaps and remediate those gaps.  The Recruiting module focuses on identification of skills in potential candidates, Learning expands the ability to deliver learning/training, microlearning and knowledge to develop specific skills, Content Anytime provides content to fill corporate skill development gaps, all in order to develop the potential of the Individual.

Performance Evolving into Continuous Conversations

Now that we know we are focused on developing the skills of the individual we need a plan for evaluating performance.  The traditional performance review is now looked on as dated and non-informative.  Enter Cornerstone’s evolution of the Performance module.  Imagine Constant Conversations recorded to provide an ongoing map of the performance review.  Performance was the one module where Clients were beginning to lose interest.  There has been a rapid change in the idea of a performance review process and how it should be handled inside organizations.  We have seen multiple organizations eliminate performance reviews all together.  Other organizations feel stuck because a performance review score drives annual compensation planning processes.

Cornerstone now combines the traditional performance review process with the ability to manage consistent feedback and tracking of person progress by an individual, manager and HR.  The addition of Constant Conversations to the Performance module is inspiring.  This step provides the opportunity to use the Performance module to help train Managers how to manage and develop people.  Through Constant Conversations we gather data, potentially lots of data that can be used to properly place people in future workforce conversations or simply help them improve their focus on future development.

This brings me to another relevant announcement which is the expansion of the Workforce Planning module.  This is also part of the Performance suite, which includes Performance, Succession, Compensation, Engage and Workforce Planning.  The ability to tie Workforce Planning to Recruiting, Learning/Skills, Career Center and modern Performance evaluations is intriguing.  The volume of data provided to allow the AI engine to drive recommendations is the future of the analytics portion of Cornerstone in my opinion.  We all gather lots of data today, but what do we do with it?  This is where it all comes together.  Workforce Planning.

To be sure, this is only a Planning tool and not a Workforce Management Tool.  Yet the power of incorporating corporate skill gap analysis and succession planning into a tool which helps managers make decisions is exciting.  The difference here is that Cornerstone is finally recognizing the benefits of its acquisition of Evolv a few years back.  Machine learning or AI is growing within the product and we can see the future of the Performance module, driven by AI.

There is a Plan: Cornerstone 2.0 is in Full Swing

With all of the exciting developments with the product we must step back and recognize that it was only a few short months ago that Cornerstone made dramatic changes to its business model.  No longer papering services and focusing on selling recurring revenue only was a risky move, but a risk that is already starting to pay off.

As a Cornerstone Partner we can see the benefits of the evolution on our business, but also on Cornerstone as they drive a heavier focus on software and development of the application.  Cornerstone has communicated an increase in its engineering staff, with a specific focus on Recruiting and Learning applications.  This is good for business.

Josh Bersin wrote in his blog that the momentum for Cornerstone is rising.  I believe this is because of a renewed focus on Learning and specifically skills development.  It is easy to think about building additional modules but making the decision to be the best at what you already have is often difficult in these markets.

There is quite a bit to be excited about with the evolution of Cornerstone’s market leading human capital management application.  The company is strong, its Partner community is emerging as the top Partner ecosystem in the Learning community today and most importantly Clients are truly using the application to make a different in their business.  This is honestly my favorite part of Convergence; sitting down for coffee or a drink and hearing stories from our Clients and from Cornerstone Clients who are not yet Bluewater Clients.  These individuals are the innovators and the people we should follow and learn.

If you have never been to Cornerstone Convergence or Converge event, I recommend you take a little time. Collaborate with your fellow participants and see a vision of the future that is provided by visionary Clients, great software and partners who know how get the most out your investment in Cornerstone.

There is so much more to share.  If you have questions about Cornerstone, Convergence or how you can get the most out of your investment in Learning and Talent Management technology please let me know.  I would be happy to share a conversation or simply respond to your questions online.

Were you at Convergence?  I would love to hear your story!