ADVOCATING FOR ANALYTICS
An interview with Gerd Kopp of BIOTRONIK
On advocating for analytics, overcoming internal hurdles and building a relationship with the JMP organization
Quality Management and Reliability Statistician, BIOTRONIK
User Reference Manager, JMP
Gerd Kopp is Quality Management and Reliability Statistician at multinational biomedical technology innovator BIOTRONIK, based in Berlin. In addition to providing technical consulting in reliability analysis, design of experiments, measurement systems analysis, predictive modeling, process control, sample size determination and statistical SOPs for quality management, he also heads the company’s JMP training program.
JMP User Reference Manager Meg Hermes recently sat down with Gerd to discuss BIOTRONIK's analytics transformation and his work to promote widespread analytics capability.
Meg: We often hear that having access to JMP saves time and reduces costs – both important benefits obviously, but benefits that are framed in terms of the company and its business goals. On a personal level, how does having access to JMP affect your job satisfaction on a day-to-day basis? Have you noticed any changes in morale among your colleagues after they’ve switched to JMP?
Gerd: When you work with any kind of software on a daily basis, it’s important that it’s not just a means to an end. You want the way to produce results to be effortless or even fun. With JMP that’s absolutely the case for me, and for my colleagues. In the ‘Using JMP’ courses [I run at BIOTRONIK], I often notice that new users are surprised how easily graphs can be created and rearranged in a drag-and-drop manner. This not only saves time, but it also helps with the perception of statistics as being an asset rather than an obstacle.
Meg: Speaking of obstacles, what were some of the key hurdles you’ve had to overcome to convince stakeholders to expand access to JMP? How did you demonstrate to your leadership that the value of JMP could be scaled up with an expanded license structure?
Gerd: For stakeholders who don’t anticipate using JMP as often as I do, cost can be an issue. In such cases, it’s important to demonstrate that necessary tasks can be handled more efficiently and more nimbly in JMP. When we introduced JMP almost 10 years ago, I held a course on DOE and statistical modeling with two software packages side by side – JMP and another tool we were using at the time. JMP was not only faster to use for every task, but when I showed how nuisance factors such as component measurements could easily be included in a DOE as covariates, this boosted our already existing efforts to make processes even more robust. So JMP was not only more efficient, but it added new possibilities for analysis.
Meg: What do you see as the key benefit of getting involved in the JMP community outside of your organization, whether through regional users groups or Discovery Summits?
Gerd: There are several aspects to this. The user community at community.jmp.com is the gateway to JMP experts all over the world. When I’m looking for help on JMP JSL programming, for example, I usually find my answers there. The regional [Germany-Austria-Switzerland] users group puts me in touch with people in my position at other companies. Seeing how certain challenges are handled elsewhere can help a great deal when I’m looking to find a way to master my own similar challenges. Discovery Summits extend this to the international stage, but most importantly, these conferences present an opportunity to meet JMP developers. They are an excellent source to explain what happens in JMP platforms behind the scenes, and they’re always interested in users’ ideas for new functionality in JMP.
Meg: An excellent point. Our developers are very focused on introducing new JMP features that users actually want, and we rely on your feedback to understand how to improve future versions. You could say that listening is a big part of our development process. What do you see as the main advantages to cultivating this kind of collaborative relationship with JMP?
Gerd: Having a collaborative relationship with JMP means having better access to JMP related information and JMP staff. With technical issues, it’s always an option to contact the very helpful JMP support team, but when I’m looking for specific advice on a JMP platform, it’s also great to know the respective developers. I’ve asked [our regional] system engineers for hints on occasion. They’re always happy to help if they can – JMP staff in general are very nice people.
Meg: How has your advocacy for analytics transformation within BIOTRONIK impacted your career trajectory? Do you feel that becoming an advocate for analytics – or change agent – has helped you to gain recognition?
Gerd: Advocating for analytics was an expectation of my role from the very start. After holding courses on Statistics 101 and design of experiments, colleagues started contacting me about all kinds of statistical applications in engineering. This led me to develop trainings on special topic areas like measurement systems analysis, process capability and reliability. With a growing number of JMP users in the organization, serving as a JMP administrator then became a more substantial part of my job. Last year we implemented our first BIOTRONIK JMP add-ins to standardize and accelerate recurring analyses, which broadened my role to include statistical programming. So over the years I think it’s fair to say that my job description has grown to be multifaceted, and all of it is tied closely to BIOTRONIK’s emphasis on analytics and our usage of JMP.