Today Cornerstone made a big announcement: the acquisition of EdCast, one of the leaders and pioneers in Learning Experience Platforms.

What Will Happen Next

I’ve worked with both of these companies for years, and they’re each tenacious, customer-centric organizations. Overnight, once this merger is complete, every Cornerstone customer will want to look at EdCast, and every EdCast customer will want to look at Cornerstone. This alone is big news.

Impact On Other Players

Many other players will be upset. Degreed just woke up to a huge new competitor. Workday Learning is starting to look more limited than ever. And vendors like Docebo, SuccessFactors, and other LMS vendors have to come to grips with a competitor with an end-to-end solution. (One could see Degreed doing a lot more “strategic partnerships.”)

But the big player I see now is Microsoft. Through its success with Microsoft Viva (Viva Learning is essentially an LXP), Teams, Mesh, and Azure, Microsoft is becoming a big player in the employee experience market. The company’s learning solutions include Viva Learning, LinkedIn Learning Hub, LinkedIn Learning, and a vast library of Microsoft learning content. Today Microsoft is an open solution, so vendors like EdCast and Cornerstone have built integrations into Viva. But over time, as Microsoft gets its product set more integrated, I could see large companies looking at Cornerstone/EdCast as one part of the stack and Microsoft with the rest.

The big challenge for buyers is what to do with Workday, Oracle, SAP, and all the other learning technologies they have. This acquisition is going to force many of these vendors to consolidate. Workday, SAP, and Oracle really have to get into the LXP business. Smaller LMS vendors have to partner with Degreed, LTG, Valamis, or other LXP providers. Companies that sell learning delivery systems (360Learning, Intrepid, NovoEd) will look for new partners. And content providers like SkillSoft, Udemy, Coursera, and many others will deepen partnerships with Cornerstone.

Cornerstone and EdCast Is A Strong Combination

Despite all the complexities, I have high hopes for this deal. Cornerstone has outperformed its competitors for years, largely through its culture of customer-centricity, market savvy, and tenacity. EdCast did the same. Karl Mehta, the founder of EdCast, is one of the hardest working, creative leaders I’ve ever met. Once these management teams come together, I see nothing but growth in the future.


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