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Put customer front and center

Posted: 02 Jan 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mike fister? cadence? cadence design systems? eda industry? customer first?

Change is nothing new to the electronics industry. New technologies, processes and methodologies constantly force engineers to reevaluate their approaches. Even the most cursory review of the industry's history vividly illustrates that only those who recognize change and adapt to it survive over the long term.

The EDA industry is facing such a turning point. Predictability is rapidly disappearing from today's design flows. Traditional processes are fragmented. Cross-domain verification is often ineffective and, more often than not, designers must integrate analog and digital blocks manually. At the same time, the long simulation runtimes associated with parasitics modeling, extraction and resimulation are killing product development schedules. Most importantly, these design issues vary tremendously from one applications arena to another.

Sure, some of these challenges are common, regardless of the market in which you work. Designers must still integrate intellectual property (IP), and perform mixed-signal simulation and HW/SW verification. But the challenges that designers face today are so complex and unique from market to market that they cry out for the EDA industry to take a far different approach than it ever has.

In wireless networking, for example, designers must grapple with tight power budgets that often conflict directly with the design team's attempts to integrate highly sensitive RF blocks into the design.

Designers working in the personal entertainment arena, on the other hand, must cope with the challenges unique to SoC integration and validation. IP integration and functional verification are often major stumbling blocks to rapid and predictable development. Design teams can't afford to spend a lot of time learning how to apply new EDA technology to their design processes. The days of EDA vendors' dropping a suite of tools into their customers' laps are over.

To compete, design teams must differentiate their design, not optimize their design flow. They need their vendors to not just offer the right technology, but also to understand what the design challenges are and work side-by-side to solve their problems.

Tool vendors can shorten their customers' time-to-productivity by helping them apply their EDA technology to the unique needs of each vertical market. The key will be developing solutions tailored to efficiently create market-specific designs.

Rather than a bundle of point tools, EDA vendors must deliver verified design methodologies targeted at the key design challenges of those vertical markets. Those methodologies must be demonstrated on a representative reference design and be enabled by a comprehensive suite of tools, platform flows and IP. Then, the solutions must go beyond that demonstration and map those methodologies to the customers' needs. Finally, this capability must be delivered through results-driven consulting services.

As part of this new approach, EDA companies must also assume a new role. Instead of simply supplying tools, they must partner with their customersbe someone the product designer can trust to help work through these challenges, reduce risk and shorten the time-to-productivity. Ultimately, EDA companies must simplify their technologies' application so that their customers can focus their precious resources on design differentiation, not the design infrastructure.

- Mike Fister
CEO and President
Cadence Design Systems Inc.

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