James Kipling started his professional career at IDBS, which develops advanced software for research and development and also is the parent company of Quantrix. When assigned the task of developing a performance management tool, he immediately decided to use Quantrix Modeler for the project. He became as hooked as many of Quantrix’s other customers, and recently joined the Quantrix product management team. Following are some insights from James.
Tell us a little bit about your history with IDBS.
I started working summers while I was at university. I was a software tester, and then worked on the Help Desk. That was a great experience, and really helped me understand our customers. When I graduated, I was assigned to Operations, and worked on our Balanced Scorecard Project.
What did that involve?
A Balanced Scorecard is basically a way for a company to measure its performance and trend it between periods. We are developing our Scorecard to measure metrics such as revenue, profit, customer satisfaction, adherence to forecasted product release dates, and more. We will use it for performance management for IDBS and our subsidiaries around the world. I knew this would be a project that Quantrix Modeler was perfect for.
How did Quantrix perform?
We are still in the process of refining it, but once it’s fully linked to our support systems and data sources, it will be a completely automated system. We will be able to get an instant update about anything happening in our business – this process used to take us a full month just to pull the data together.
Like many Quantrix users, we had multiple iterations of Excel models around the business. Marketing had one version, corporate had another – it was a challenge to determine who had the right number. We needed a single model that accessed the right information, but that could provide different views. This is where Quantrix excels – we can trend metrics over time, and generate views very quickly. This will become our single source of truth for metrics.
I bet your Quantrix skills are pretty good now.
I would say that I am now a Quantrix power user! I was invited to speak at the annual customer event, Seminar by the Sea, in Portland, Maine last fall about my work on this project. It was great to be surrounded by people who love Quantrix as much as I do.
How else have you used Quantrix?
When I moved into sales operations at IDBS, I used Quantrix for sales forecasting, pipeline analysis, and to evaluate sales opportunities across multiple regions. After using Quantrix so much, I really aspired to be on the Quantrix team. When I had the opportunity to join the product management team, I jumped on it.
What does the new position entail?
I’m working with the desktop software development team as the voice of the user. My job is to listen to customers, learn what they need and want, shape the feedback, and relay that back to the team. My aim is to help the team bring out high-quality features that will help our existing and prospective customers get the most out of Quantrix.
How has this played out with the team?
I have had so many interesting conversations with the team about how customers use certain features. One example is the Dependency Inspector – it was created primarily as a debugging tool and of course it works great as that. But our customers also use it to query how a number is generated within Quantrix. Executives can click on a number and find out its sources and how the final number is calculated. That’s just one interesting way that I can bring the customer’s voice to the table when it comes to design and development – I think it will really help us make even higher quality products.
You’re splitting your time between the UK and the States for this role – what do you do in your spare time other than trying to get some sleep at 35,000 feet.
I have done a lot of offshore sailing, and would like to get back into that. But I’d also call myself a foodie – Portland, Maine is one of the foodiest cities in America, so I’m looking forward to working my way through the more than 200 restaurants here.