Menu Close
What are you looking for?
< All Topics

OKR: A Framework for Successful Digitalization and Change

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Digitalization is one of the hottest buzzwords in the technology industry, next to artificial intelligence (AI), BigData and some of the other promising trends, and constitutes a major portion of many organizational budgets.  It is also estimated to be growing at a rate of close to 27% per annum over the next few years.

So, when research shows that 70% of Digitalization projects fail – it’s not something to be swept under the carpet.

Digitization vs Digitalization

While “digitization” refers to the basic transformation of analog media (such as print articles, tapes and photographs) into digital signals for computers, smartphones and other devices, “digitalization” is the next step.  Digitalization is about the use of digital data to transform elaborate, machine-based processes into fast, digital solutions.

Digitization and digitalization are the great changes of the 21st century so far.  From the way people shop and how they communicate with one another to various types of media entertainment or working methods, this change is not only unstoppable, but it’s accelerating.  That means the question isn’t whether or not an organization chooses the path of digitalization, it is a question of when the organization needs to make that change.

Organizations seem particularly challenged to make this change.  In fact, research shows that 70% of Digitalization projects fail!

The Challenges of Digitalization

Digitalization brings with it a range of completely new challenges – across the entire organisation:

  • Customers are engaging with products and services long before they are engaging with the companies or providers.  Social media, influencers, product reviews and plenty of other channels, make this easy.  Customers are also changing their buying habits.  More and more are choosing to buy online.  Organisations are needing to change fast to meet these new, and continually changing customer demands.
  • The job market is changing.  Thanks to digitalization, employees have more opportunities when it comes to laying out their workspace and workdays.  With the already critical shortage of skills, combined with the popularity of digitally-savvy young professionals, the market has become candidate-driven.  Organisations find themselves vying for a limited pool of in-demand skills.  Only organisations that position themselves digitally and are attractive for candidates can win the battle.
  • Daily work routines are changing with employees placing increased value on the ability to independently create their own structures.  The tech company Jabra, for example, published a global report stating that 57 percent of employees prefer a hybrid working model, while 28 percent would opt for working completely remotely if they had the choice.  This means an increasing demand for organisations to be set up digitally⁠—with laptops, headsets, webcam, digital conferencing systems and much more⁠—to make that a reality for team members.

The Need for a Different Change Process

Such a change does not happen overnight clearly!  It is vitally important that senior leaders understand the impact on both customers’ and employees’ experience and, adjust the company accordingly.

  • New investments in time and financial resources need the support of senior leaders and, if not given, can lead to project failure.  Only with support from top management can and will the desired goals be achieved.
  • The next challenge is employees.  Digitalization means new workflows and processes will change the everyday work life of most of the workforce enormously.  It is essential that employees understand these changes and are given the chance to actively take part in structuring them.  Getting employees on board right away and actively involved, helps them to focus on the advantages of realignment.  And, lets them know that the changes will not be easy at first.
  • A critical challenge is skills.  Digitalization means new skills are needed – across the organisation.  People need to understand how to use and drive the new technologies successfully, and, if their jobs are impacted by digitalization, they need to either be reskilled, or repositioned in the organisation.

How can OKRs Support the Change Process?

Clearly-defined goals and the path to achieve them are essential for successful change management.  This is exactly where the OKR Framework comes in.

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results, which form the foundation of the OKR Framework.  Objectives build the value propositions for internal and external customers.  The Key Results measure whether the respective value propositions are being preserved.

The big advantage when using the OKR Framework for change initiatives is the ability to measure results as well as work in iterations instead of following a predetermined, standard plan.  Every organisation is different and requires its own defined, measurable goals.  The OKR Framework provides a direct link between organisational goals and performance, and employee performance.  It allows each team member to transparently see their effect on organisational goals and recognise the value they have created and thereby, improves employee engagement.

The OKR Framework helps to prioritise tasks and approach the digitalization process in a structured and sustainable manner by setting clear objectives with measurable results.

Additional advantages include, for example, the OKR Framework uses short cycles (quarterly, monthly, weekly), which means adjustments can be made as quickly as possible, the entire organisation’s agility increases, and changes can be integrated into the normal business process more quickly.

To ensure problems or challenges are recorded, regularly scheduled meetings are conducted within and across teams.  Overlaps and dependencies are also discussed to help promote work efficiency.

The OKR Framework – a Digitalization Tool

All in all, it is safe to say that the OKR Framework can make the introduction of new tools or the digitization and digitalization of existing processes easier for everyone in the organisation.  New conditions can also be better integrated into the organisation in the longer term.

Digital transformation takes place at all levels.  The OKR Framework helps prioritise goals, define measurable values for the respective goals, and develop suitable initiatives to make the change process measurable and efficient.

If you have struggled, even just a little, with digitalization, it’s time to have a look at the OKR Framework.

If you have any questions, or would like to know more about how the OKR Framework can better support your digitization and digitalization initiatives, please complete the form below and we will be in touch directly.

We look forward to talking to you.

Gail Sturgess
Agile OD Facilitator/Coach/Consultant
We work with leaders to set and achieve their most audacious goals, turn mission into action, and create an ongoing discipline resulting in execution and results.

    Specific Interest (required)

    [checkbox* your-interest "Successful Strategy Execution with the OKR Framework in my organisation" Successful Change with the OKR Framework" "OKR Coach" "OKR Training"]

    Table of Contents