Cornerstone Implementation - Eating your own dog food - Part 1

Cornerstone Implementation - Eating your own dog food - Part 1

6 min read Jul 18, 2019

The role of HR is changing - HR professionals are now marketers, designers, and supply and demand experts. As with all companies, BE-terna are challenged with a war for talent. At the start of 2019 we decided to implement CornerStone OnDemand at BE-terna internally first to truly represent, – the 'eating your own dog food principle'.

The purpose of this series of related blogs will be to shed some light on how easy it is and what type of methodologies or implementation strategies you can expect from your implementation partner.

Cornerstone Implementation methodology – First hand experience

During the preparation of internal projects, we needed to build our internal knowledge and experience, so we spent a lot of time investigating the best possible options and methods of successfully tracking and implementing Cornerstone OnDemand. What we found is that there are three major types of methodologies that can be used.


  • Approach 1: Cornerstone Now - Cornerstone Now - Link – 3-week rapid implementation
  • Approach 2: Realize - Realize Now - Link - 8-week implementation – Proof of Concept for specific areas
  • Approach 3: Enterprise implementation – long-term implementations – more than 8 weeks

Each of these approaches can be divide to specific areas:

  • Asia-Pacific
  • Europe, the Middle East and Africa
  • North America

I will try to briefly summarise the vast explanations of Cornerstone's official WIKI methodologies and when it is recommended for use.

Approach 1: Cornerstone Now

Cornerstone Now allows rapid implementation for clients who have the need for a quick go-live, usually due to a compelling business event. It offers:

  • Prescriptive training plan
  • Bootcamp setting with dedicated implementation support that provides intensive knowledge transfer, which allows the organisation to achieve a quick win and build the foundations for future growth
  • Unique process for readying business line owners and system administrators for talent implementation
  • Focused, streamlined approach that follows industry best practice standards for configurations
  • Realisation of ROI for subscription license and adoption of business values

Approach 2: Realize Now

Realize Now allows Proof-of-Concept implementation of specific processes that can be from Recruiting, Onboarding, Performance, Learning or Integration. It is an approach that is mostly aligned with AGILE companies that nurture AGILE principles, and know what data they want to use and where.


Approach 3: Enterprise Implementation

Used for Enterprise segment projects that will drive the implementation of multiple processes and modules with possible interfaces of the Cornerstone OnDemand solution. The methodology proposes a standard Waterfall approach divided into simple cycle steps of validations. Applicable for most companies that need to understand/organise their local data/systems to accommodate the new principles of general HR practice that Cornerstone OnDemand brings.

Each module has segments that are divided into the following steps:

  • Initiate – standard administration training of key users, conclusion of expected scope and time estimations, pre-configuration of the client portal
  • Discovery – Conduct process discovery configuration decisions
  • Design – workshop for configuration for applicable processes for each module (e.g. Recruiting requisitions, Career Centre where future employees can submit their applications, Career Site for internal employees)
  • Deliver – combination of Execution (change from pilot environment to production, setup of confirmed processes, migration of existing data, setup of security roles); User Acceptance Testing, Change management/Training for end users, Deployment- system readiness for the end client

Eating your own dog food – BE-terna

As we truly want to be an organisation that follows its own product principles, BE-terna Management decided that we should follow the common approach of “Eating your own dog food”.

So in line with this, internal implementation was started in 2019, and currently we are utilising Cornerstone methodology for Enterprise implementation with a step-based approach for covering BE-terna Recruiting process. Stage 2 will be the integration to existing Dynamics ERP, Dynamics CRM and Qlikview Reporting solutions.

This means that at the start we focused on the preparation of Core data for Divisions, Position, Location, Cost Centre, Grade hierarchies and existing user data in standard Cornerstone templates. These templates explain how the data must be structured, both why and where, and can be quite time consuming if this is your first time migrating the data to a new system.

Something that needs to be thought about strategically before you start implementing Cornerstone is who will be the master for each data dimension, and what are the expectations in future interfaces to third-party solutions, so you can directly mitigate any expectations of mapping values, e.g. cost centres, existing divisions etc.

For our Core migration we used something called the Data Load Wizard, which is easy to use and understand, and is also great for tracking. The diagram below shows the steps for Data Loading and other configurations.


What I found refreshing was that the Data Load trackers display concrete information regarding errors in your data, as well as successful changes and how the data should look. We even created our own custom data information on users (e.g. standard for our region as OIB, PIB, EMŠO) and this can be dragged and dropped in any template that will fill user data. Additionally, detailed Excel error logs for each load will be available for 30 days from the day of the load. Excel error logs expire after 30 days.

This migration was done successfully in a pilot environment. One thing that is common to all Cornerstone clients is that they get their pilot, stage and production environments from the start. Everything needs to be implemented first in a Pilot and later transferred to User Acceptance Test environment.

Currently we are in the process of Recruiting module configuration and some templates for application workflows. This can also be loaded via the Data Load Wizard in the same manner as Core practice. Once we complete all of our ATS process mappings to the system, you will know about it. 😉

In the next blog post, we will shed a little more light on standard integration possibilities, what to use, and when.

P.S. Special thanks to the great BE-terna Cornerstone team: Ivna Juranić, Svetlana Savić, Nina Jevtić and Ana Herak Hercigonja.

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About the Author

Andrej Kožić

Enterprise Architect