Beginner's Guide to the OKR SaaS World
September 13, 2021
Beginner's Guide to the OKR SaaS World

If you are in strategy and operations at a high growth company, one of the hottest trends of late has been OKRs and implementing an OKR goal-setting framework. With the evolution of the hybrid workplace and the emphasis placed on driving alignment and collaboration, high growth companies have been searching for ways to grow faster with more efficiency than ever before.  

The responsibility for solving this challenge often falls to the feet of the strategy and operations leader. 

Tasked with finding a way to connect the long-term vision with tactical execution, strategy and operations leaders have turned their attention to the processes and solutions that can help drive alignment and performance across the business. The OKR framework has been one of the most popular goal-setting frameworks turned to by strategy and operations leaders to help drive this company-wide alignment. 

From researching how OKRs first gained popularity at Google and Intel by reading Measure What Matters to taking countless demos with every OKR tool in existence, it isn't surprising that strategy and operations leaders have been laser-focused on figuring out how OKRs can work for their company. 

That being said, it's important to also note that OKR software and OKR examples aren't one-size fits all. 

At Elate, we like to remind strategy and operations leaders that the OKR framework itself should be modified to fit your business. Further, expect that the OKR framework you implement today could and probably should look different than it does a year from now. Your business is bound to change and evolve, so too should your operating framework. 

But for those strategy and operations leaders at high growth SaaS companies looking for an introduction into the world of SaaS OKRs for your company, we wanted to provide a few helpful tips to guide you on your journey. 

The Pitfalls of Free OKR Software 

One of the most common challenges we see with companies that have tried rolling out an OKR framework is the lack of buy-in and adoption across the company. From employees logging into yet another platform (which we'll touch on in a moment) to leadership not truly buying-in to yet another framework that is supposed to create alignment on priorities and goals, most strategy and operations leaders have at one point or another faced the challenge of rolling out an OKR framework or OKR software only to have it fall flat. 

There are obviously a number of reasons why this might happen, but one of the most common reasons we've seen OKR software for startups or enterprise companies falter is because of free OKR software that fails to ever solve the real challenges your company is facing. 

Free OKR tools, or let's call them what they often turn into, OKR warehouses, inevitably turn into yet another platform your team members have to log into that provides little value to stakeholders or users

Most free OKR software is nothing more than a better visualization of spreadsheets. Yes, we have a place to enter our objectives and track results, but what is different from tracking OKRs in excel? 

From the best strategy and operations leaders we work with at Elate, we've found three things truly help drive the success of an OKR framework: Executive Buy-in, Frictionless Employee Adoption, and Valuable Insights for Stakeholders. 

By selecting a free OKR software that doesn't require any executive buy-in or promise of significantly altering the ease-of-use for employees, you are setting your team up to run into the same challenges as before. Only now, you've introduced yet another tool failing to provide value. 

Frictionless Employee Adoption 

As we referenced earlier, we believe that a successful OKR rollout starts and ends with employee adoption and value for stakeholders. That is why we've focused on how to make the process of updating OKRs, tracking OKRs, and reviewing OKRs as simple as possible for employees. 

With Elate, we set out to build a platform that seamlessly integrated into Slack and Microsoft Teams, because we knew that many of the updates and information companies want and need on OKR tracking and performance can be done seamlessly through the software already used by employees. 

For many of the users on Elate, they never need to log into the platform. Instead, we meet them where they already work: Slack or Teams. 

By allowing for OKR tracking and updates to be done through these platforms, employees aren't overwhelmed with another platform. They are able to not only provide valuable insights to strategy and operations leaders seamlessly, but they are able to see overall company performance and how their work is contributing towards company goals. 

For any strategy and operations leader looking at an OKR software comparison, it's critical that the platform allows for easy, intuitive employee adoption. 

OKR Reporting and Powering Insights 

Finally, in evaluating the best OKR software for your company don't lose sight of the value OKRs can provide for you and the rest of your leadership team in driving effective decision making. 

One of the benefits of any OKR framework is the visibility into all areas of the business, and context into where you might shift resources away from certain objectives or potentially double-down. For a Chief of Staff, COO, or any other Strategy and Operations leader, this level of insight can help save countless hours digging through reports or sifting through data. 

At Elate, our pre-built reports give visibility into the process of setting OKRs, tracking OKRs, and reviewing OKRs. With insights highlighting week-over-week change, automated reports to show progress, as well as our OKR Success Report to track performance, Elate was designed with the Chief of Staff and COO in mind. 

Any of the best OKR software 2021 searches should include features delivering insight and visibility that simply can't be provided through spreadsheets or static OKR tracking tools. 

Meet Elate 

So whether you are looking to track customer success OKR examples, startup OKR examples, or any other type of company or department OKR examples, the right OKR solution can make all the difference in the world for how successful an OKR framework will be for your company. As you go through your evaluation, you should be asking yourself two main questions. 

- How do I radically simplify the OKR process for employees? 

- How do I surface valuable insights to leadership to help drive decision-making? 

Here at Elate, we have the opportunity to work with leading strategy and operations leaders as they answer these two questions with their OKR solution. More than ever before, we believe strategy and operations leaders serve as the catalysts for growth within their companies. 

For those interested in learning more about how we are working with today's high growth companies to rollout and execute their OKR framework, reach out to our team today!