Adobe is the global leader in digital media and digital marketing solutions. Their creative, marketing and document solutions empower everyone – from emerging artists to global brands – to bring digital creations to life and deliver immersive, compelling experiences to the right person at the right moment for the best results.
Adobe is a well-known and influential software company offering a wide range of digital tools and services, alongside groundbreaking innovations, to empower everyone, everywhere to imagine, create, and bring any digital experience to life. Ask any creative professional what tools they use, and an Adobe product is almost certainly in their digital “toolbox.”
The Digital Imaging (DI) organization, a part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Product (CPG) organization, which is responsible for some of Adobe’s most iconic products like Photoshop and Lightroom, began using objectives and key results (OKRs) in 2020 through collaborative tools and spreadsheets, and other manual methods. They could see the value of OKRs, however, managing them with their existing methods was difficult and resulted in a lack of standardization and consistency across the organization when it came to communicating strategy.
For Adobe to be successful with OKRs, the leaders knew it was critical to leverage a reliable, single “source of truth” for the organization. They started the search to find a solution that would give them a visual representation of the interconnected outcomes across Adobe and a holistic view of the organization’s performance.
In late 2021, Quantive Results was approved as Adobe’s enterprise OKR solution. Leaders from Creative Cloud Product and Digital Imaging joined other OKR endorsers within Adobe to participate in an Early Adopter program using Quantive Results as the centralizing platform for strategy management.
The Early Adopter program was designed to validate how Quantive Results can help organizations standardize a system of record around strategy and outcomes, integrate planning efforts, and help teams align investments with strategic vision. By unlocking data-driven decision-making for leaders at all levels of the organization leaders can engage and empower the workforce with confidence, ultimately energizing an outcome-oriented organization.
As part of its evolving OKR adoption strategy, CPG and Digital Imaging continued to onboard more teams, and it quickly became necessary to think about scaling their OKR framework. Many CPG OKRs involve product data that helps the teams understand their customers, which led to challenges as more teams across the organization started using Quantive Results.
“As we embarked on this journey of OKR adoption within Digital Imaging, we soon realized the complexities when dealing with product-based metrics and key results.”, Jack Sisson, Sr. Director of Engineering for Photoshop and OKRs at Adobe Super Champion, explained. “Working with the Data Science team, we initiated a research project to understand how we can efficiently deliver hundreds of these metrics in a repeatable way, to make sure we have the latest values readily available for making quick product decisions.”
The Data Science team identified specific challenges related to the number of OKRs, data and analytics inconsistencies, and the different frequencies of metric updates. It became critical to address these obstacles and build a metric reporting strategy to support the growing OKR framework. In keeping with Adobe’s innovation-focused culture, the Data Science team tackled this challenge head-on. Kunal Khadilkar, Data Scientist at Adobe, was at the forefront of this “OKR Automation framework” initiative.
As a new joiner to Adobe’s Digital Imaging organization, Kunal was getting his first introduction to the world of OKRs, KPIs, and understanding how a product organization like DI manages its broad portfolio of products. Kunal’s main goal was to understand what needed to be measured and determine how to measure it. His new employee journey led him first through the on-demand OKR training developed internally and available through Adobe Learning Manager. Equipped with OKR training, Kunal then got started in Quantive Results where he could see a hierarchical view of how each product team contributes to higher-level leadership OKRs. This OKR alignment view furthered his understanding of the critical data points and guided him in knowing how they could build a data science framework with OKRs in Quantive Results.
“In order to reduce confusion about the numbers and enable the scale at which we operate across different products while reducing the friction of human intervention, it made sense for us to explore an automated way in which key result updates are published. Doing so enables product leaders on-demand access to information so they don’t need to come back to the data science team for the latest numbers.”, Kunal expounded.
Scalable, adaptable, and fully automated: Kunal had his marching orders. In the end, Kunal and the data scientist team were able to build a state-of-the-art and scalable OKR Automation framework that brought full transparency to stakeholders with root cause insights on any gaps in data, building trust across DI in the data being shown.
Through the use of Quantive Results, the Digital Imaging organization saw a lot of positive changes, including overall consistency in the OKR framework, OKR reporting, strategy communication, and the rigorous establishment of standards for team performance. These benefits increased exponentially after Kunal and the Data Science team launched their automation solution, developed in collaboration with Quantive.
Maria Yap, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Adobe, expounded on their evolution of OKRs and the immense value added for their customers and product innovation once a single source of truth was established:
“The Digital Imaging (DI) organization, which is responsible for some of Adobe’s most iconic products like Photoshop and Lightroom, has evolved over the last few years when it comes to adopting OKRs as part of our overall strategy. Many of our OKRs, defined by various teams within the organization, involve product data that helps us better understand our customers. The Automated OKR Reporting framework that our data science team created helps DI OKR owners easily track their team’s progress towards their goals. With a single source of truth, and an enterprise-level view available in Quantive, DI product leaders are empowered to make quick decisions backed by data science. The adoption of OKRs and the automated framework across the organization has helped us meet the needs of our customers and increase the pace of our product innovation.”, Maria shared.
Across DI, they now have accurate data-based OKR tracking, including fully automated Key Results and Insightboards with no human intervention required. Ultimately, this means DI has a consistent place to view all OKRs instead of having to ask Product Managers or Data Analysts for progress. Achieving this across eight different products and services is no small accomplishment. Since 2022, DI has over 60 OKRs completely automated in Quantive Results and over 1,000 KRs updates sent to date.
The value of Quantive Results and automation is touching all points of Digital Imaging since its successful integration two years ago. At an individual level, employees are guided in learning OKRs, free from the burden of manual updates. Teams have a full line of sight to goals and are clear on expectations, resulting in faster execution and delivery. Executives have instant access to the latest data and metrics on Monday morning, unlocking the ability for senior leaders to better prepare for executive reviews, quarterly summaries, and OKR reviews without depending on the data science teams.
Renae Fisher, Senior Manager, OKRs at Adobe Practice Lead, has spearheaded ‘OKRs at Adobe’ and championed a project to build an enterprise solution patterned off the DI automation. This body of work has sparked rich conversations about communication of strategy, rigor around measurement, and embedding an outcome mindset within Adobe.
“Through this process of creating and refining insight delivery to leaders, we're fostering critical conversations about establishing consistent best practices for business performance and strategy execution reporting at scale.”, Renae shared.
This goes beyond Digital Imaging, as Renae believes Adobe is laying the foundation for strategy execution excellence through an OKR framework.
With the power of automation and Quantive Results on their side, the Digital Imaging organization and Adobe can focus more on changing the world through digital experiences.
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