How Cornerstone used Amplitude to help product managers solve everyday challenges

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Amplitude Analytics
Use Case:

            With Amplitude’s behavioral analytics, a talent management company transformed the way they build products, cutting costs and saving time

            2 min

            to answer behavioral questions instead of 2 weeks


            decrease in resources needed for development

            60 days

            saved by reprioritizing features

            Cornerstone helps some of the world’s largest companies recruit, train, and retain their people. As they expand into talent management, they need to rethink how they build and deliver their products. It is critical that their PMs understand how their users utilize all of the products in their growing portfolio.

            Three years ago, the company partnered with Amplitude to transform their product development processes. Now PMs use Amplitude to fuel their decisions and move quickly with confidence.

            Joriz De Guzman, Product Manager for Growth and Strategy at Cornerstone, reports that “the speed of decision-making and the quality of the conversation have definitely changed with Amplitude. As far as decisions, for example, we’re saving a lot on opportunity costs.”

            Accelerating product development with insights in minutes

            Before Amplitude, Product Manager Eileen Qian had to analyze user behaviors from spreadsheets delivered by engineers. The process took days to weeks and required a fully-dedicated team member to mine the data for actionable insights. “Before Amplitude I had to log a ticket for a database administrator to help me query the data,” Qian says. “Now with Amplitude I can get the data I want in a few minutes. I can also uncover interesting user behaviors.”

            With Amplitude, Qian’s team can track feature usage in Segmentation, measure success with Funnels, and run experiments in real-time with AB Test View. They continuously run tests to optimize their onboarding training video experience.

            With instant access to data, Qian’s team has the tools they need to build for growth. “I’m currently using Amplitude to measure the success of our beta release,” Qian says. “Also I’m using Amplitude to inform our leadership team and stakeholders of our milestone plans based on user behavior that we never had access to before.”

            Making better decisions with behavioral analytics

            Like Qian, De Guzman needs to understand user behavior to build products that meet evolving customer needs. He relies on Amplitude’s intuitive interface, Cohorts, and Personas analyses to uncover behavioral insights.

            Cornerstone’s platform enables companies to get their employees through different compliance and regulations workflows. DeGuzman and his team wanted their platform to offer more to their end users. They had a vision of empowering their users to build a better career. So they made a big bet and built out a beta version for their talent management product. In the beta, users can increase their skill levels, learn new things, find new jobs within the company, and create new opportunities for themselves.

            To drive engagement in their new product, the team needed answers to questions like: how many users never made it into the system at all? How many were there because they had to be? Where did others drop off and how could they be enticed back? The team could turn to Amplitude to get answers in seconds.

            Turning statements into hypotheses that we can test is a huge shift for us. It introduces accountability into our decision-making.

            author photo
            Joriz De Guzman
            Product Manager, Growth and Strategy, Cornerstone OnDemand

            De Guzman reports that “now when the CEO comes over to me and says, ‘Hey. What’s the utilization or adoption looking like for that new feature? It’s been three days since we released it.’ I can answer him in two minutes, which would definitely have taken me at least two weeks of effort previously.” Using Amplitude, De Guzman and his team can support strategic decisions higher up.

            Optimizing resources by reprioritizing features

            PMs all over Cornerstone tell similar stories. Henry Vazquez, Senior Product Manager of Competencies, needed to know which features to update for an upcoming migration. Amplitude’s Engagement Matrix let him easily see which of the features were underutilized.

            Vazquez leveraged Amplitude’s Funnels to examine how Cornerstone’s users added “Items” or “Behaviors” to their competencies, or professional skill sets. He and his team discovered some recurring trends: most users focused on “Items,” not “Behaviors,” only added one item per competency, and rarely drew on the Suggested Feedback or Training Equivalency features.

            These insights drove Vazquez’s team to reprioritize the feature set. The result:

            • sped up the release of their MVP by about two months
            • reduced features from twenty to ten
            • saved two sprints (or 33%) of their development resources

            The announcement of the new feature set led to a standing ovation at Cornerstone’s user conference.

            Matthew Seccombe, Product Manager for Performance and Succession Management at Cornerstone, also relied on Amplitude for a key decision. When Leadership asked Seccombe to optimize the performance of the Position Search function, he estimated that it would take four dedicated engineers six months (or two sprints) as well as one fulltime Product Manager.

            Seccombe and his team built a Notebook in Amplitude to highlight how paying and non-paying users searched for positions in Cornerstone’s career center. To their surprise, they discovered in Segmentation that only one non-paying customer actually used Position Search. Driven by this data, they made the call not to prioritize that task, saving those resources.

            Supporting product managers with better data

            Each PM has their own favorite analyses in Amplitude’s platform. Qian’s favorite feature is the Retention chart, where she can see how many users are returning to her product each week.

            De Guzman’s is cohorting, which allows PMs to easily segment users to customize results. Cornerstone teams have already defined nearly one hundred cohorts to dive into the nuances of user behaviors.

            Amplitude enables the company to break down silos so everyone is more productive. De Guzman reports that “PMs and engineers can come together and say ‘look, this is a great one for us that we can quantify.’ The engineers are writing their own queries in Amplitude, looking at their own charts to track data, and sharing them across teams. That creates a lot more accountability, as well as pride in the work that they’re doing.”

            With Amplitude’s real-time behavioral analytics, Cornerstone is transforming product development from the inside out.

            Amplitude Success and Support Team are amazing…. They help me to develop my career, improve my skills, and deliver the product that customers love.

            author photo
            Eileen Qian
            Senior Product Manager, Cornerstone OnDemand