Data manager sees 300% increase in team productivity with Ally.io & OKRs
"One year ago, I would’ve looked at the big SAP project and said we need more arms and legs that are ready for this. But now we do. Because of the objective program, they’ve developed a lot in the last year. Not only were our new employees willing to learn, but we set a path for them. We challenged them with personal development and being a part of company initiatives.”
Patrick, a Data Manager in the Finance department for one of the world’s largest independent bottlers, describes their department leader as “very passionate with Ally.io and OKRs.”
When you consider the scale of their operation, it’s not hard to see why.
Patrick’s team is responsible for every piece of data that fuels the supply and distribution of America’s favorite drinks; they rely on accuracy and efficiency. Every employee on the team needs to have a level of mastery so that no margin of human error is possible.
It’s not only that the team’s basic functions need mastery to deliver on the planned work; the ongoing requirements of data integrity and governance are integral to empowering growth and scale with acquisitions and managing supply changes. In fact, at the time of writing this, America is experiencing an aluminum can shortage due to changes in demand from Covid-19 and consumer preference. So how on Earth do you ensure your team is set up to function and grow? Enter Ally.io.
“Our group director is the ‘stand on a mountain top and tout why we are using Ally.io’ guy pretty much on a weekly basis. He's the biggest champion,” says Patrick.
And for good reason. Patrick describes seeing nearly a 300% increase in productivity from his teams since they implemented Ally.io just nine months ago. The company used OKRs in the past, setting 3-5 per employee for the year. “Some people could finish all of their objectives in a month or less and then there was no real conversation after that to continue to develop the employee or balance their work. Now that we're using Ally.io, my biggest hindsight is ‘wow we were really weren't getting as much as we could've up until the point of getting Ally.io.’”
Today, Patrick and his leadership team spend the last week of each quarter reviewing the previous quarter’s objectives, and creating new objectives for each group and team member. They talk about high-level objectives and the subsequent individual OKRs. The objectives are a split of 60% core competency training and department initiatives, and 40% directed toward professional development. It’s these professional development objectives that employees in this department would be able to easily push down the road due to the nature of their day-to-day work, but having it as an objective makes it very real. “If you make it somebody's objective, it gets done.” The projects can run from data clean up, to huge data migrations that are essential to a growing business. These meetings also ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
“If someone does not have something below one of our CFO’s key results, then that helps us analyze who can take the project and plug the holes. We cover all of our bases during this initial meeting to make sure that every initiative is covered.”
Additionally, Patrick and his leadership team have found great success in using OKRs as part of their employee onboarding. Due to the nature of the role, each employee must certify in specific competencies related to their role. By plugging onboarding objectives and milestones into an OKR framework, they’re able to onboard employees much quicker, reducing their time-to-productivity.
“The biggest thing for us is we've developed people a lot more efficiently. We've got people that 10 months ago stepped in the door with no experience, and 10 months later they're literally one of the key players in the project. One year ago, I would’ve looked at the big SAP project and said we need more arms and legs that are ready for this. But now we do. Because of the objective program, they’ve developed a lot in the last year. Not only were our new employees willing to learn, but we set a path for them. We challenged them with personal development and being a part of company initiatives.”
Lastly, for somebody who has enough on their plate, buying and rolling out a tool needed to be seamless. “It’s easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and very user friendly.” On top of that, “just knowing how above and beyond Ally.io as a company has gone to make sure that we are happy. The monthly meetings with our success team, and always hearing the question of, ‘how are we doing? How can we improve?’” I don't have that with any other vendors. I'd love to have companies ask me how they can improve, but I feel like we're stuck with a lot of ‘is what it is,’ platforms.”