How SparkMeter Super Charges the World with Ally.io and OKRs

“The flexibility of the Ally.io platform is a key point for me. There are millions of ways of implementing OKRs and Ally.io does a good job at recognizing that. What I had seen before is that it’s very easy to make the rigid aspect of OKRs into a tool, but really getting the spirit of OKRs into a tool is much harder and I was seeing that there is an ambition to be capturing that at Ally.io.

"We're a growing company with a very big mission.” Arthur Jacquiau-Chamski , COO and co-founder of SparkMeter, describes his mighty 30-person global team with a massive mission of delivering clean, reliable and affordable electricity across the world, beginning with underserved communities. They provide a simple plug-and-play smart metering and analytics solution that enables microgrids and distribution utilities operating in hard-to-reach places to improve their operations and help them achieve financial sustainability. The clean energy company turns to Ally.io to keep that mission central to everything their team does.

SparkMeter recently closed a $12M Series A investment led by Clean Energy Ventures and Breakthrough Energy Ventures (funded by Bill Gates) and was recently named one of  Washington D.C.’s top tech companies to know. The Covid-19 pandemic has made more dire some of the key problems that SparkMeter, founded in 2013, has been focused on for years, making it more important than ever for utilities to be robust, operate remotely in real-time, have flexible operations, and be customer-oriented. SparkMeter believes that technology can rapidly expand reliable energy access to the 3.5B people who currently live without it, and make the world a more equitable place.

“By the essence of the problem that we are trying to solve, it would be very easy to get overwhelmed by the number of things that could be done to improve the life of our customers.” 

The SparkMeter team is inherently comprised of individuals who are deeply passionate about the mission, and there is no shortage of opportunities or places to help close the gap in delivering dependendable and affordable electricity. Arthur and his leadership team knew they needed a way to stay focused on agreed upon priorities in order to accomplish their goals. 

“From the beginning, it’s been really important for us to have the right way of agreeing as a team on ‘what are the main objectives’ and ‘how do we go about implementing them.’ And the beauty of OKRs is the complementarity between the objectives and the key results. Having, in a very simple principle, both the ambition and the measurables that help us actually bring the ambition to life.” 

The OKR process was working, but Arthur was challenged to find a solution that met what he calls “a personal process” of creating OKRs until he discovered Ally.io. 

“The flexibility of the Ally.io platform is a key point for me. There are millions of ways of implementing OKRs and Ally.io does a good job at recognizing that. What I had seen before is that it’s very easy to make the rigid aspect of OKRs into a tool, but really getting the spirit of OKRs into a tool is much harder and I was seeing that there is an ambition to be capturing that at Ally.io.

Once engaged with the Ally.io team, Arthur’s first aha moment was “the people behind it. I've found a team that is ready to listen and take our feedback in. I find a peer in Ally.io. Ally.io is a company that strives to be the best version of themselves for their customers.”

During onboarding, Arthur had to ensure that he wasn’t creating yet another distraction for his team by adding tools and process, yet he found the adoption process painless. “The learning of the tool is pretty easy. And it's repeated with the weekly cadence of check-ins. So it comes naturally through that cadence and that rhythm.”

Additionally, Ally’s integrations have made embedding Ally.io and OKRs into the SparkMeter workflow seamless. “If people were my first impression of Ally.io, integrations were the second. The quality and thoughtfulness behind something as simple as the integration with Slack spoke volumes to me about Ally.io. For example, when you comment in the Ally.io platform a notification comes into Slack. This has really helped keep people interested in the platform because it was not yet another tool that they had to learn to use. It was in their normal framework and workflow.”

Each quarter, the SparkMeter team gathers to create and align on the upcoming quarter’s objectives and key results, providing another opportunity for transparency. “We make sure that the meaning of what we do and clarity of the outcomes that we are trying to reach are really known and well understood by everyone within the team. And by using Ally.io, we have seen a greater sense of collective drive towards our highest priority goals.”

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