Case Study: Reducing Product-Development Risk

Submitted by BDTI on Tue, 04/25/2006 - 16:00

To stay competitive, technology companies must consistently develop strong new products. This is particularly true for companies offering processors, tools, or systems that incorporate signal processing technology.

Unfortunately, developing a major new product is risky. New products require many design decisions, and it is easy to make poor choices. Common design mistakes include:

  • Overlooking promising design options or valuable resources such as off-the-shelf components
  • Misjudging the requirements of the target application
  • Underestimating the capabilities of competitors’ products
  • Focusing too much on one design goal (such as performance) at the expense of other important goals (such as ease of use)

Avoiding these problems is difficult. The engineers designing the product are often consumed with the details of the design and may lose sight of the big picture. They may have insufficient information on the needs of the target markets. Or they may find it difficult to objectively compare their own design with competing products. These factors add uncertainty and risk to the design process—uncertainty about key decisions, and risk that bad decisions will doom the product.

BDTI’s “Sounding Board” service helps engineers make sound design decisions with confidence. In a typical “Sounding Board,” your engineers start by presenting their design ideas to BDTI in a confidential session. BDTI’s analysts then leverage their technical expertise and broad industry knowledge—including experience with a wide range of commercially available processors, tools, applications, and algorithms—to quickly analyze the design and provide practical suggestions for improvement. BDTI can help you determine which features are must-haves, and which can be safely dropped or postponed. Its analysts can also tell you whether your product provides what your customers are looking for—and what your competitors are missing.

In one recent Sounding Board engagement, a major semiconductor vendor sought BDTI’s advice on the design of a major new processor. The new processor used an unusual architectural approach, and the vendor wanted to ensure that this approach was suitable for the target markets. The vendor also sought verification of its anticipated performance advantages.

Because the processor was still in the early stages of design, confidentiality was paramount. The vendor was confident that BDTI would protect its proprietary information rigorously, so BDTI became one of the first outside entities to learn of the new design.

The vendor gave BDTI a half-day briefing on the processor, the target markets, and the projected performance. BDTI analyzed this information and gave the vendor detailed feedback on the design. This feedback included BDTI’s own detailed performance analysis—an analysis that produced significantly different conclusions than the vendor’s own analysis.

At the end of the process, the program manager for the new processor reported that he was extremely satisfied with BDTI’s feedback. He confirmed that BDTI’s insights reduced its risk for this key strategic program and helped ensure that the processor would be as strong as possible at launch.

Sounding Board sessions are available at BDTI’s offices, via conference call, and via Web conference. To learn how BDTI can help you, contact Jeremy Giddings ( or visit

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