Talent Management

How to Choose the Right Cornerstone Partner for Your Business

colorful doors depict the concept of choice
colorful doors depict the concept of choice

Jonathan Heath

Jonathan Heath is a Sales Manager at Educe focused on building relationships with organizations implementing the Cornerstone CSX and…

You have found the right platform, done all the hard work to get your organization behind the change, secured the budget, and now you need to successfully choose a Cornerstone partner to guide you through the implementation of your new system.

It’s important to approach the selection process with confidence and a clear understanding of your needs and expectations. Choosing the right Cornerstone implementation partner is a big decision, one that can greatly impact the success of your business or become a headache that diverts energy away from your goals. In this blog, we’ll share the best practices we’ve seen successful companies utilize to evaluate and select the right Cornerstone partner for their organization.

Step 1 – Clearly Define What You Need from Your Cornerstone Partner

Organizations that understand their business challenges, project goals, and what level of support they need from their Cornerstone partner, are much more successful in selecting a partner that meets their expectations. It sounds fundamental, but the clearer you can be, the more detailed a consulting partner can be when illustrating how they can solve your specific challenges. Conversely, if you don’t know what you want or are unwilling to share specifics, you will likely receive vanilla proposals, generic presentations, and ultimately a longer selection cycle.

Prior to engaging with potential Cornerstone partners, get internal consensus on the following questions:

  • What are your project goals at an organizational and departmental level?
  • What challenges do you foresee within your business that could potentially impact the project?
  • What issues and risks have you already identified?
  • What areas do you anticipate needing the most help during and following your initial project?

Step 2 – Consider the Experience and Expertise of Potential Partners

Organizations that choose the right Cornerstone partner, take the time to thoroughly research and evaluate potential consulting firms. Cornerstone has a closed ecosystem of consulting services partners who are trusted to work with the customers of their platform. There is a rigorous ongoing certification process to make sure Cornerstone consultants deliver the highest standard of service to you. In addition to certifications, make sure the consulting firms you are considering have a proven track record of success with other organizations in your industry and can provide you with specific case studies and examples.

Once you’ve identified a short-list of firms, reach out to your sales contact or account manager for an introduction. As you evaluate the firms further, consider the following indicators of experience and expertise:

  • Bench strength: How many consultants does the firm have and what is the average tenure of the team? Working with the same team over time and having access to an extended team with an array of skillsets to draw on for support and expertise is important.
  • Flexibility and Customization: Your business has unique requirements, so your Cornerstone partner should be able to customize their approach to fit your specific needs. Look for a firm that is willing to work with you to understand your business processes and goals, and can provide a tailored plan that meets your requirements.
  • Value proposition: How does the partner position themselves? Do they have a transparent and structured approach? Is the firm’s pricing structure clear? Does it account for the long-term costs of ongoing support, updates, and maintenance? Remember, low cost is generally an indicator of lacking experience, expertise, and successful outcomes.
  • Communication and Support: Open and clear communication is crucial. An experienced partner will define their communication strategy and set expectations for both themselves as well as you. If communication is unclear at this stage, it is not likely that things will get better.

Step 3 – Evaluate the Long-Term Relationship Potential of Partners

Organizations that select a Cornerstone partner with the future in mind, see more impact from their Cornerstone implementation over the long run. Neither business nor technology is static. When selecting a partner, consider the breadth of services the consulting firm offers. Those with a full suite of offerings will be more equipped to help you navigate changes to your business and your needs over time.

The most trusted and successful Cornerstone partners offer services in three areas:

  • Strategy & Advisory: These types of service offerings bridge the gap between your talent management technology and your business strategy. From understanding how Cornerstone fits into your overall HR technology ecosystem, to aligning business processes, to putting in place appropriate governance structures, ensure your selected Cornerstone partner has a broad understanding of talent management strategy.
  • Implementation: It goes without saying, but a consulting partner should have services to support the launch of your initial implementation. These services range from configuring, testing, and deploying the system, to data migration, integration, and change management services.
  • Post-Go Live Support: The work doesn’t stop once your system goes live. In fact, supporting ongoing operations, keeping your platform optimized, and ensuring it evolves with your changing business needs is critical for success. Ensure your chosen Cornerstone partner has the bench to support ongoing needs like release management, system training, day-to-day administration to bolster your internal capacity, and customization and enhancements over time.

Choosing the right Cornerstone partner is critical to the successful implementation and maintenance of your Cornerstone OnDemand platform. These three steps, used by other successful companies, will provide you a good foundation toward making the right choice for your business.

Looking for a new Cornerstone partner? Contact us to learn more about working with Educe.

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