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One of the biggest professional challenges one can face is coming back to your desk after a whirlwind of networking, learning, socializing and wandering the unbelievably long halls of the HR Tech Conference.  Will you ever be the same?  How can you make sense of it all?  How to digest everything you’ve heard and done?  Can you un-see that which has been seen?

There wasn’t one over-arching theme to the week, but there certainly was a focus in the conference sessions and on the expo floor on matters like predicative analytics, Big Data and employee engagement.  If you’re in the market for a solid conference summary or discussion of key trends, I’d start with Bill Kutik’s column and Jessica Miller-Merrell’s blog.

The 17th annual HR Tech conference was a huge success, by all accounts.  The Cornerstone OnDemand team certainly thinks so – we were proud to be a Platinum Sponsor, to feature our amazing clients in sessions, to announce a game-changing acquisition and to throw the definitive party of the week. And, of course, we were happy to be able to spend time with many of you, from all parts of our industry.

Cornerstone + Evolv = Better Talent Decision Making

For us, the big news of HR Tech was the announcement of our intention to acquire Evolv, a leader in big data predictive analytics and machine learning technology.  That’s a mouthful, but what it means is simple: Evolv’s big data infrastructure, machine learning, and whip-smart data science people will let Cornerstone deliver a whole new range of meaningful insights based on data to our clients.

And the time is right.  “We are moving to the next generation of data-driven talent management in a world of big data,” said Adam Miller, Cornerstone’s founder and CEO. “Evolv has built a reputation as a leader in big data analytics, and together we have a huge opportunity to deliver even more value to organizations leveraging our solutions.”

New Belgium Brewing Is Scaling Up with Soul

New Belgium Brewing deploys the full Cornerstone talent management suite in the name of keeping their 600-plus employees engaged, motivated and productive – as well as making sure they hire the right people for the right roles.  At the HRTech conference, Jenny Briggs (New Belgium’s head of OD), presented on the unique culture of New Belgium Brewing, those little elements, traditions and practices that every company has in its own way (brand is culture and culture is brand).  The trick, it turns out, is how to hang onto that special corporate culture while growing the business rapidly, as New Belgium is doing now.

It’s an important topic for any growing company and New Belgium is using Cornerstone’s software as an integral part of their growth story.

On a side note, it turns out that filling a session at HR Tech is (perhaps) made easier when the audience gets to participate in an expert-led beer tasting once the presentation is finished.  But we like to think that Jenny’s subject matter was interesting enough on its own!

Awesome New Technologies

Cornerstone was also proud to participate in the general session of the conference as part of the “Awesome New Technologies for HR” presentations.  We showcased our forthcoming mobile game called “Do You Know?," which is a fun and innovative take on the age-old problem of how to keep names and faces straight when you start a new job (or when you are part of a fast-growing company).

Tonight We’re Going to Party Like It’s 1997

I’m pretty sure that the rock band Third Eye Blind would prefer to not be pigeonholed in 1997, but that’s what it felt like for many of the assembled throng at the House of Blues during the Wednesday night party hosted by Cornerstone, Aon Hewitt, HireVue and Appirio.

Thanks to our valued partners for putting on the party with us, and thanks to everyone who turned out and sang top-of-lungs to “Semi-Charmed Life” and other bits of Clinton-era magic.

Also, a big thanks to everyone else who worked so hard to put on an excellent conference, notably Steve Boese, the conference co-chair and tireless organizer who kept the ship moving upward and onward at all times.

See you next year!