The focus might now return to design, but the external disruptive factors are unlikely to go away. Company database libraries need to be accessed, design elements checked in an out via version control interfaces, and in many cases, company-wide PDM or PLM systems satisfied. They all aim to bring order to the overall electronics design process, but invariably swamp you in a myriad of different interface systems and applications just the distraction you don't need.
The difficulty is not just constrained to company systems and compliance. Even in the more immediate sphere of electronics design, the applications, interfaces and data formats conspire to pull you away from the core function of focused design in your area.
A traditional electronics design system, based on a collection of separate applications and data formats, creates a fractured development environment and cumbersome data exchange systems. With schematic capture, library systems, signal analysis and simulation, FPGA development, PCB design and CAM applications contained in individual process silos, passing design data between them pulls design engineers away from the focused design space. Processing database files, converting design data formats, importing and exporting netlists, and dealing with different interfaces and applications all impose those obstacles.
Back at the DSP in our design, let's say it becomes apparent that the signal processing is better performed in the FPGA space the DSP's latency can be matched and the throughput improved by using a new embedded DSP IP block. The DSP chip is dropped from the design, but the FPGA type, and pinout, also needs to change to make this possible. This represents a substantial design revision that pulls you away from the real task, while pinout databases, ECO files, netlists and component data is exchanged between the schematic, PCB and embedded design domains.
Based on the direction electronics design is heading, these challenges and disruptions are unlikely to go away unless the process and tools change. Design is becoming more complex with a higher degree of interdependence between the core domains; hardware design, software development, and programmable hardware design. It's now impractical to operate as an isolated entity within an island of specialist design.
Whichever domain an engineer does work in, what's needed for a focused design environment is a system where all of the information needed to make decisions and work with company systems is available at the designer's fingertips, within that design space itself.