Where OKR software fits into the digital workplace

Given the importance of success metrics and performance ratings in the digital workplace, it is a little bit surprising that there hasn’t been more focus on Objectives and Key Results (OKR) software. Even the figures appear to bear this out. According to Coherent Market Insights, the global OKR software market was valued at a relatively modest $ 555.1 million in 2017.

However, with annual growth expected to hit 14% until 2026, the value of the market will be around $1.6 billion by then making it attractive for any vendor that has been selling into the digital workplace over the past few years.

What Is OKR?

So what is OKR software and why would any IT buyer care? OKR software are dedicated tools for setting, communicating, tracking, and measuring goals and results within businesses. Within OKR software, management can easily set and monitor goals for teams and individuals.

The growth, according to the research, is driven by the trend of streamlining enterprise business process and installing this software in order to increase organization’s efficiency by simplifying various business operational tasks such as workforce planning, HR operations management, and supply chain performance management.

Related Article: 6 Technologies Needed to Power the Modern Workplace

Aligning Goals

According to Coherent Market Insights, OKR software is designed to help align and connect employees to corporate goals and organization to analyze root causes behind the company’s performance.  It also helps to maintain transparency related to targets in between employee and management and to identify and track employee efficiency on timely basis. Among deployment types, the cloud-based deployment segment is projected to hold major share in the global OKR software market. This is attributed to increasing adoption of cloud-based technologies coupled with high scalability offered by these technologies. Moreover, increasing demand for real-time data analysis is also expected to boost the OKR software market growth.

G2 (formerly G2 Crowd) is a peer-to-peer review site headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. According to its information about OKR, some performance management systems will include OKR features in their offerings in addition to the 360-degree feedback and review mechanisms normally found in those products. OKR software also has some overlap with task management software, though the former is more about ensuring daily tasks are aligned with overall team and/or company goals. 

To qualify for inclusion in the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) category, a product must:

  • Allow users to create, categorize, and visually prioritize goals
  • Provide check-in and update tools for goal contributors
  • Include feedback and recognition functionality
  • Offer reporting and tracking functionality to measure productivity

In, in a rapidly changing workplace, OKRs offer a way to track a number of things that can easily go wrong in rapidly scaling businesses, helping to keep them focused. They manage and focus overall strategic objectives, demonstrate clear progress, stop siloed working and help and even enable internal cohesion.

OKR's Business Edge

In a digital workplace, such as a digital marketing and SEO business, it is highly efficient to integrate OKR software to connect a team and improve lead/ sale results, Sarah Franklin of Ottawa-based Blue Tree AI. “By applying these advanced technology techniques, organizations really put a business ahead of others who are not using it,” she said.

There is more specific and valuable information that is provided to clear up any confusion and have an illustrated outline, or roadmap, of steps to follow for success. OKR software should be used to clean up mistakes that are dragging a business down so fluidity of content, interaction, leads, and sales can become consistent and of ease. These software systems provide strong management services and tools to provide clear communication of needed and completed tasks and also ways to record successful goals that have been reached. With different options for how things are done and organized, it is genuinely a helpful service. 

Zviki Ben Ishay is CEO of New York City-based Lightico. By way of an example he told us that they are using OKR methodology to drive alignment of aspirations and accountability across Lightico so that all parts of the organization — from R&D to sales to marketing — can speak the same language and communicate effectively in terms of company goals. This is especially important since they work environment is dynamic which means a significant amount of remote work, varying hours and other issues that can make communication a challenge. “Through yearly kickoffs, quarterly sessions and weekly team meetings, we've implemented OKR based on the core tenants of agility, simplicity, transparency, bidirectional goal setting and ambitious goals,” he said.

“The success we've seen from implementing OKR — the first company in Israel to do so — is made possible by OKR's structure which is light in nomenclature, management overhead and other obstacles common in deployment.

Transparent OKRs

Ideally, OKR software doesn't just calibrate everyone's compass so they know which direction to head, but keeps everyone aligned on the correct paths to get there, Dan Pupius, the CEO of San Francisco-based Range told CMSWire. Often, OKRs are put in spreadsheets and not checked on until the end of the quarter. Intentionally designed software can solve for this, but to be really good, it should be easy to capture progress in a transparent, smart way, where everyone can asynchronously be looped in. Otherwise, you're just putting objectives in more sophisticated silo, without revealing insight into how key results are being shaped. “A key element is real transparency,” he said. “It's common for individuals to not even know what their team or company OKRs are. If you only use them as a tool for middle management, you're missing out on their full potential.

The chief marketing officer for Gtmhub Seth Elliott, an expert on OKRs and a thought leader on how they can be used to build a better employee experience, pointed out that there is a gap between executive strategy and the individuals executing it at every level of the organization, and many leaders turn to an OKR methodology to try to bridge that gap. The interplay between 'Objective' and 'Key Result' is straightforward. Objectives are qualitative and aspirational, while Key Results are quantitative, and, possibly most importantly, guided by actionable analytics. Successful companies manage to tie qualitative Objectives to quantitative Key Results. The challenge here is regularly updating the status of Key Results at enterprise scale.

There's a catch: dynamic key results can be made possible through automation. Automation can help scale activity tracking and provide fascinating data insights into a company's performance. "Suddenly the challenging process of OKRing turns into an 'Ah-Ha' of experiencing regular updates," he said. “With the advancements made in SaaS platforms, integrations with common data tools, and automation, the OKR method has arguably become the most effective and data-driven solution for bridging the strategy-execution gap,” he said.