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Comment: Blue Pearl pathfinder

Posted: 28 Jan 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:licence  EDA vendor  software  application engineer 

The press release from Blue Pearl Software seemed precise enough. The company had started a new program that allowed a potential customer to purchase the use of its products on a short term time license base. An application engineer would be dispatched to install the software and the necessary licence, and the customer's team would be good to go.

It turns out that is not what Blue Pearl Software is doing: at all. Nichole Fox, of Blue Pearl sent me an email yesterday, asking me to edit the title of the article published both on EDA DesignLine and EE Times , because, according to her, it was misleading. Not the article, but the title. So I did some research.

It turns out that the precise description of what the vendor is offering is what amounts to a consulting services contract (although that was not clear from the release) not a software rental. What actually is supposed to happen is that when a company purchases this "product" the vendor dispatches an application engineer to the customer site. The application engineer installs the software, runs the software, reports the results, and then leaves taking the software with him or her. It sounds like a Marketing plan to provide leads to the sales organisation with the hope that a reasonable percentage of such "visits" will translate in sales of licences.

Extending the model

Let us suppose that other EDA vendors also adopted this method. And let us suppose that customers became very satisfied with it. How would our industry then evolve?

First of all let's look at the positive aspects of such prospective.

The team working on a design would be composed, mostly, by specialists in specific areas, using tools they are very familiar with and brining with them experience on a wide variety of projects. This is very good, because not only these individuals would be much more efficient at finding potential problems, but would also be extremely experts at using the tool, taking advantage of its best functionality and avoiding its limitations. Having worked on a number of designs, they would know the likely sources of errors and the modifications most likely to succeed. Definitely an improvement in efficiency and productivity.

In addition, in almost all cases this approach would save money. The management structure could be simplified, that is there would be fewer managers around. And the company would not have to deal with having to plan and pay benefits to as many employees. There would not be problems like planning careers and keeping the competition from attracting the best employees away. Since personnel management is a very costly endeavor, both in terms of money and time, and it is difficult to perform it correctly, the opportunity of minimising it would be attractive.

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