In today’s competitive market, the first company to get differentiated product to market wins. And to engender truly bona fide product differentiation, companies must rely on electronics. This is true regardless of the market in which a company competes, whether that is telecommunications, automotive, computers, or DVD players.

To maximize revenues, companies must address the problems of rapidly increasing product complexity, shrinking market windows, and massive time-to-market pressure. To do this, corporations must manage the complex set of resources required to design and build today’s electronic products.

The most important design resources are people. Most electronic products involve teams of people: for system, board, component, and software design; for component and material procurement; for test, and field service; and for subassembly and system manufacturing. These people often work in different geographical locations and typically use different software applications, sometimes running on different hardware platforms. But to produce electronic products, all of these people must collaborate efficiently, quickly, and at a high level of quality.

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