OKR Software Comparison

Jul 22, 2021

OKRs have a higher success rate when they’re backed by a purpose-built application.

But in a sea of choices, how are you supposed to decide which OKR app is best for your organization?

At OnStrategy, we are partial to our own OKR application. We’d love to be your chosen OKR software, but we wouldn’t be helping you if we didn’t explain how to know if you need OKR software, what to look for when choosing OKR software, and how our approach to OKRs is different.

Download the Comparison Guide

How Do You Know You Need OKR Software?

Before deciding which application is the best for you, step back and make sure you need OKR software. You know you need an application when you can check off each of the following criteria:

You have at least 10+ people in your OKR process.

If you have fewer than 10 people supporting your OKR process [or in your entire organization], you might not see the benefit of using a dedicated tool to manage OKRs. Teams with fewer than 10 contributors could use a tool like Smartsheet to manage their OKR process.

You have or you are a CEO committed to the OKR process.

From our experience, having CEO buy-in is critical for success in planning and OKRs.

Your organization is committed to the OKR process.

Success with OKRs requires a commitment to managing OKRs quarterly by everyone involved. Without that broad commitment, it’s an uphill battle to make this process work.

You need a reporting solution for your OKRs.

Reporting is the most critical feature of any OKR software application. If you already have a tool that delivers OKR reporting, you might not see the full benefit of an OKR software platform.

OKR App: Choosing One to Manage Your OKRs

How to Compare OKR Software

Apps should support OKRs out of the box.

An OKR app should be purpose-built for creating and managing OKRs. The best apps build OKRs right out of the box. If your selected OKR app needs endless customization and set up changes, proceed with caution.

A good app makes it easy to align OKRs to your direction, provides guided inputs, and creates OKRs based on best practices.

Your organization can self-report progress from anywhere.

Self-reporting isn’t just a nice-to-have. It’s mandatory! Your organization needs to be able to report results from anywhere.

One of the most significant pain points OKR software applications solve is collecting and centralizing results. A good OKR app makes it easy for your team to update their progress, select status, and see what needs their attention. It needs to be fast, efficient, and painless to update OKRs.

Alerts and notifications are a must-have.

Everyone needs reminders from time to time. Your OKR app should have built-in notifications and reminders to nudge your team when it’s time to provide a progress check-in.

Data should be easily managed, dynamic, and visualized in dashboards.

OKR data needs visualization to make it easier to see what is helping or hindering your performance as an organization. A good OKR application visualizes this data and makes it easy to digest.

Reports should be automated and effortless.

To drive your daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly OKR process, you need an application that provides a suite of reports to help you drive your 1:1s and strategic performance reviews.

They should be easy to access and take no input time to create. All of the data and results from your app should be present.

There should be dedicated board reports.

A good OKR application includes board reporting capabilities to easily share your strategic priorities and performance to build a culture of transparency.

Bonus: An App that includes a dedicated OKR expert.

Apps accomplish and automate a lot of the OKR process. But what happens when you or your team get stuck?

Apps don’t build strategy. People do. And you should have access to a person that can help. A good OKR app should come with a dedicated expert to help you through the planning and implementation process or to just get you unstuck.

OKR Software Comparison

Using Excel to Manage OKRs vs. OnStrategy

Best for: Organizations with limited budgets and fewer than 2 people managing the process.

Pros:

  • Infinitely customizable.
  • Inexpensive/free.

Cons:

  • Extremely challenging to set up.
  • Not purpose-built for OKRs.
  • No built-in templates for OKRs.
  • No alerts or reminders.
  • No visualizations or automated reports.
  • Scary version control!
  • No OKR expertise or support.

Why OnStrategy is Better

We built OnStrategy because managing OKRs in Excel was a headache. Our app is purpose-built to support an OKR process and solve the pain points of managing OKRs in static spreadsheets.

Using Smartsheet to Manage OKRs vs. OnStrategy

Best for: Small organizations with 5 or fewer OKR contributors and limited budgets.

Pros:

  • Easy templates to follow.
  • Infinitely customizable.
  • Inexpensive.

Cons:

  • Challenging to set up.
  • Not purpose-built for OKRs.
  • No alerts or reminders.
  • No visualizations or automated reports.
  • Scary version control!
  • No OKR expertise or support.

Why OnStrategy is Better

OnStrategy is purpose-built for OKRs, automates reporting, makes it easy for your team to update their results, and we are here to support your entire process. Smartsheet is a great tool, but it’s just a fancy spreadsheet.

Using WorkBoard to Manage OKRs vs. OnStrategy

Best for: Enterprise or large organizations needing a dedicated OKR tool.

Pros:

  • Easy to use.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Purpose-built for OKR and data management.
  • Automated reporting and visualization.
  • Option for OKR coaching.
  • Integrates into your other systems.

Cons:

  • No dedicated expert with you at every step of the way.
  • OKR coaching is an extra cost.

Why OnStrategy is Better

OnStrategy provides every organization a dedicated expert strategist to help build and implement your OKR framework. From creation to execution, we’re with you every step of the way. The best part? It is included in every software license.

Using Ally.io to Manage OKRs vs. OnStrategy

Best for: Organizations that do not have an organization-wide vision, direction, or strategic plan. Ally doesn’t align OKRs to a strategic direction or plan.

Pros:

  • Easy to use.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Purpose-built for OKR and data management.
  • Automated reporting and visualization.
  • Option for OKR coaching.
  • Integrates into your other systems.

Cons:

  • No dedicated expert with you at every step of the way.
  • OKR coaching is an extra cost.
  • OKRs aren’t aligned to your organization’s long-term direction or plan.

Why OnStrategy is Better

OnStrategy aligns OKRs to an organization or team’s strategic direction / vision to avoid creating silos and puddles of unfocused OKRs. Plus, OnStrategy includes an expert strategist to help you build an aligned plan, OKRs, and an approach to keep them in focus.

Comparison Grid

Download the Comparison Guide

Free Guides & Resources

OKRs that work
Setting OKRs that Work

A FREE downloadable guide and canvas to build Objectives and Key Results.

SWOT
SWOT Assessment Guide

A FREE downloadable guide and canvas to complete a SWOT analysis, synthesize it into Competitive Advantages, and then use your SWOT to create SMART goals.

KPIS
Guide to Create KPIs with 100 Example Metrics

A FREE downloadable guide to learn the basics of Key Performance Indicators with 100 example metric sources for ever department of your organization.

SMART Goals
Free Guide for Writing Better SMART Goals

Download the FREE guide to learn how to create goals that have impact in your organization.

Growth Strategy
Free Guide to Build a Growth Strategy

A FREE downloadable guide and canvas to create a growth strategy that clearly defines where you play and how you’ll win.

Goals and OKR Cycle
Goals/OKR Cycle Guide

A FREE downloadable guide and canvas to establish a quarterly rhythm for OKRs and Goals.

OKR Essentials
OKR Essentials Cheat Sheet

Download the free cheat sheet to guide you through building and refreshing OKRs.

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