Just as Amazon shook up the world of retail, an enterprising entrepreneur could come along and upend the world of design services, a market segment that needs a good shake up.
With chip complexity at it highest and market pressures at their worst, selecting the right design services partner has never been more important. All too often, unfortunately, design services companies live by the old, outmoded and tired "body shop" business model that offers neither flexibility nor breadth of expertise.
From its start in 1995, Amazon has had some pretty lofty goals and has met them. According to its website, Amazon strives to be Earth's most customer-centric company where people can find and discover virtually anything they want to buy online. Why, then, shouldn't design services purveyors have similarly lofty, customer-centric goals?
In the ideal world of design services, openness and accountability should be the foundation for building long-term and successful partnerships, much like Amazon's pricing and customer service orientation changed retail.
Amazon's an easy choice for anyone with an internet connection, which is not always the case when selecting a design services firm. Many a time, a chip company that contracts with a design services vendor is given a proposal and has no way to know if the price and schedule are reasonable and achievable.
The hired gun is another approach to design services that needs a considerable overhaul. The design services industry is riddled with small companies that place contract engineers and designers onsite at the chip company and charge an hourly, weekly or monthly rate. The design services firm is not well aligned with the project's success because resources are paid for by the company whether or not the project is successful.
Technical and business acumen drive Amazon's success, just as they should with design services. Amazon's website boasts that it's by design that technological innovation drives its growth to offer more types of products, more conveniently, and at lower prices, just the sort of thinking a design services firm should have. Of course, the design services provider should have design experience and expertise with leading-edge process technologies. As chip complexity grows, manufacturing services becomes an increasingly important component of the business.
The other day I wanted to buy hair cutting scissors and searched on Amazon but there were only Chinese products and we all know they are not durable. My nephew suggested to search on Google for shops that sell professional scissors and I found the http://xtremeshears.com/ website that has the best quality Japanese & German hair scissors, it was very easy to make an order and the product arrive in only two days.
It would be great if the author write a follow up article on design services and politics.
If design service is indeed cheaper and better, it would be against the interest of the in house design team to see successful partnership with design services.
All this thinking assumes that the relationship between the design services firm and his customer is based a single project result; but this is not true. Both companies objectives should aligned this is for sure; they should be aligned in the long term. Re-alignment and methodology improvement shall be done over and over from project to project; not from hours to hours...
I am very curious to see what will be shake; business-to-business relationship shall be build on confidence too.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.