How VZ Depotbank became one of the leading digital banks in Switzerland with the help of OKR
About VZ Depotbank AG & VZ Operations AG
VZ Depotbank AG and VZ Operations AG are part of the VZ Group, the leading independent financial services provider in Switzerland. VZ Depotbank AG focuses on comprehensive banking services, while VZ Operations AG provides operational support within the group. In recent years, the organization has started an agile transformation and has risen to the top 3 most digital banks in Switzerland within a remarkably short time.
Michael Kohli, Head of Agile Transformation and also responsible for the OKR implementation at the two VZ companies, names three key challenges facing the organizations:
- There was an increasing gap between the number of new initiatives and those that were actually completed successfully. This gap indicated a fragmentation in execution and alignment that led to inefficiencies in achieving organizational goals.
- Outdated strategic initiatives: Traditional, multi-year strategic initiatives are no longer up to the challenges of a rapidly changing market environment.
- Need for transparency and appreciation: With multiple locations across Switzerland, the company faced the challenge of maintaining transparency and focus on its organizational priorities, initiatives and successes. The organization was therefore looking for a methodology that would provide greater visibility, focus and understanding of the big picture.
We believe that strategic initiatives defined over several years are simply no longer suited for today's rapidly changing market.
Solution and implementation
The collaboration was very goal-oriented right from the start. Our onboarding at Mooncamp went absolutely smoothly.
Initially, a different OKR software was used, but this proved to be unsatisfactory for the employees. Problems with the user interface, functions and login led to delays in the adoption of the OKR framework. These shortcomings triggered the search for better solutions. In addition, two other sister companies of the VZ Group expressed interest in implementing OKR.
After researching and extensively testing a wide range of tools, VZ Depotbank selected Mooncamp as the clear favorite and new OKR software to drive their strategic plans with OKR. The attractive front end, ease of use, seamless integration into the existing infrastructure via SCIM user provisioning and the integration of MS Teams were key selling points. Other factors included a seamless and trouble-free onboarding and the fact that Mooncamp would be able to respond to VZ’s needs.
We have noticed time and again that our feedback is taken into account in the ongoing development of the software. We see this as a great added value of Mooncamp.
💡 Bonus: Tips from Michael Kohli for an effective OKR introduction
- Leadership as a key criterion: managers should not only adapt OKR as a framework, but act as an active role model
- Management enthusiasm for OKR
- The need for dedicated tools: suitable software is essential for an effective implementation of OKR
- Close monitoring and support throughout the entire process by internal OKR coaches
- Training all employees for the company’s own OKR implementation, including the creation of their own manuals and guidelines
- Take the first steps as quickly as possible and continuously improve the framework from there.
These measures were the foundation for effective subsequent “learning by doing” and constant further development.
OKR in general is not a sprint but a marathon. A good OKR software is like a pair of great running shoes that support me over the long distance. I still have to run by myself, though!
Michael sees the main benefit of OKR software in supporting OKR implementation and effective scaling, as well as accelerating the adoption of the OKR methodology among employees.
Mooncamp supports our entire OKR process. The support during the cycle is particularly noteworthy. All our employees can see who is working on what, where progress is being made, can comment on it and celebrate what has been achieved.
Michael also emphasizes how important it is that every organization has its own OKR journey and therefore needs a tool that can meet these individual requirements.
In no organization will an OKR introduction run smoothly from one day to the next. Each organization must develop its own OKR variant that best suits it and continuously develop it further.
The complete customizability of Mooncamp’s OKR software allowed the two VZ organizations to tailor their individual OKR framework to their needs. This is not only a great advantage in the implementation and adoption of OKR, but also allows the organization to shorten learning cycles and increase their OKR maturity faster.
We have received very positive feedback across the board. Adoption was much faster than with the previous solution. This also had a correspondingly positive impact on the results and successes in all projects.
Michael highlights further successes that were influenced by the execution of the OKR method with the help of Mooncamp:
Agile Transformation: OKRs and Mooncamp contributed significantly to VZ Depotbank becoming one of the most digital banks in Switzerland in just two years. “Our OKR system helps us a lot to approach, prioritize and introduce new and improved customer features.”
Increased innovation: With a newfound organizational agility and a focus on the most important goals, VZ Depotbank successfully implemented client-centric offerings in the area of digital assets and developed a unique trading platform for long-term investors in Switzerland.
Increased development speed: Monthly releases became the norm for the digital cockpit, the VZ Finance Portal.
Mooncamp’s platform, praised by Michael for its simplicity, appealing user interface, configurability and optimal support for organization-specific OKR customization, has become a crucial tool for the two organizations, VZ Depotbank AG and VZ Operations AG.
Mooncamp is extremely easy to use, individually configurable and thus optimally supports our own OKR methodology. Overall, Mooncamp promotes transparency and collaboration in all our teams and departments.
Michael continues to emphasize Mooncamp’s check-in and dashboard features, which have been critical for cross-functional collaboration, celebrating successes, and communicating with leadership.
In summary, VZ Depotbank’s collaboration with Mooncamp has made significant progress in alignment, transparency and implementation of strategic initiatives. The positive transformation is aptly captured in Michael’s words: “The successful application of OKR as a framework is not a sprint, but a marathon. Good OKR software is like a pair of great running shoes that support me over the long distance.” The journey continues as both parties work together to improve the OKR process, promote collaboration and transparency across the organization.