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AWR Expert Blog
Evolve, Grow, Differentiate - Deliver Value & Enable Productivity
Sherry Hess is vice president of marketing at AWR, bringing with her more than 15 years of EDA experience in domestic and international sales, marketing, support, and managerial expertise. For the majority of her career Sherry served in various positions at Ansoft Corporation including director of European operations and later as vice president of marketing. Before joining Ansoft, Sherry spent two years with Intel Corporation, where she worked in the ASIC Group and developed relationships with companies such as Bell Northern Research and Northern Telecom. Sherry holds a BSEE and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. www.awrcorp.com.
To comment or ask Sherry a question, use the comment link at the bottom of the entry.
Do you seek to consolidate your position as an industry / niche leader, strike off in a bold-new market, invest in a new IC process or foundry, or finally bring that great new technology to market? I call these the evolve options for a tough economy. Or do you hunker down and wait for things to blow over? "But doing nothing beyond hunkering down simply isn't an option. I feel like I'm sitting in the middle of a railroad track,” says Mr. Davis of Umpqua Bank in the BusinessWeek article , Smart Management for Tough Times, that we've been discussing over the past few weeks. “Standing still is how you kill the company.”
To quote a famous runner, Amby Burfoot, "you win marathons in the hills!" Translation: when things get tough and hard, that's when you strike and separate yourself from the pack. For all the marketers reading this with me -- you differentiate.
Evolve....sounds easy but exactly how do you do that?
What are others doing in / around our high-tech space?
At a TSMC Technology Symposium I attended recently, their president & CEO Dr. Rick Tsai stated, "We lost more than 60% of our business these past two quarters, but we will be investing to innovate our way out of this recession." His plan is to evolve and he offered a number of ways in which TSMC would pursue that initiative. Collaboration is on the increase with customers and partners. New technologies, processes, and the like are all in the plan, as well as putting the infrastructure in place to support it, which means a 30% hiring boom in R&D and 15% in design services.
TSMC's collaboration message struck a chord with me. As I've mentioned before, AWR founded its business on the idea of partnering with customers to solve their problems. This differentiation has enabled us to build a very successful, growing company in an entrenched market. And now we believe more than ever that a key strategy for us to come out ahead when this economic environment turns around is to focus on helping our customers come out ahead. Help them be successful, and our success will follow, so to speak.
For all of us, a good place to start is by listening to our customers. What obstacles are they facing? Aside from calling them up and asking, you can do some web-surfing, networking, etc. to begin the discovery. I did a little myself and found that ST Microelectronics' Philip Magarshack was happy to share his needs with the EDA community via EE Times magazine. The full interview can be found here, http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=172303198&pgno=1 but I'm going to replay just one Q&A exchange:
EE Times question: Is there any overall message you'd like to pass along to EDA vendors?
ST Micro / Magarshack's answer: The big vendors are not able to provide solutions that are needed at all times. Therefore, we use startups. The difficulty is, we lose a lot of effort in stitching together all the pieces among the startups we're using and the mainstream vendors. One of our wishes is to have more standards to help with interoperability. In that respect, OpenAccess [an open, standard database] is providing some hope. We are adopting OpenAccess for our 65-nm platform as the repository for the layout database.
For EDA and in particular the HF end of the spectrum, the trends are about collaboration, breaking barriers on design flow and formats, and empowering designers' productivity. The old "time is money" adage is more true today than ever. This trend is one that Cisco believes in as well. Going back to my Business Week article--the CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, states, "The future is about collaboration and teamwork and making decisions with a replicable process that offers scale, speed, and flexibility."
At AWR, this is what our design flow solutions, Microwave Office, Analog Office, and Visual System Simulator, are all about - scale, speed, and flexibility so you are more productive. Productivity... likely defined differently by each customer you ask, but still more like shades of grey than black vs. white. AWR has documented dozens of success stories from customers who say "productivity" is a win for them, including Nokia, Siemens, Alcatel-Lucent, Anritsu, Mimix, and Skyworks. Every success story interview we do with a customer invariably mentions productivity as a key to success. Read Success Stories >>
And finally, being responsive to the customer is not a moment in time; it is a continuum. You need to have a process and culture for identifying key customers and incorporating them into the product life cycle--from product identification and specification through beta testing and training/delivery. At least that is my opinion and one in which AWR "the collective group of employees" share.
I'd like to hear from you. How do you define productivity? What productivity challenges are keeping you up at night?