In my last post, I discussed the importance of partners to the EDA industry in general, and to Agnisys in particular. Partnerships exist because our users demand them. In today’s post I’d like to focus on a group even more vital to us than partners: the users themselves. I’m choosing this topic partly to highlight our very first Agnisys User Group Educational Roundtable (AUGER), coming up in a few weeks and held virtually as has become the norm for events in our current situation.
It seems axiomatic that users are important; if we don’t have customers using our products then we don’t have a business. But it goes deeper than that in EDA. As hard as we try to make our products easy to use, EDA tools have high support requirements. We rarely send a license off to a customer and never hear from them again until renewal time. The norm is that our applications engineering (AE) team builds a close relationship with users as they answer questions and provide guidance.
This relationship goes both ways. In the course of customer support, many users communicate back to us their best practices. With their permission, of course, our AE team may share these ideas with other users and document valuable tool tips. Users suggest many great ideas for new features and product enhancements, and even entirely new products. In turn, EDA tools and IP are developed in close cooperation with leading users who provide guidance and testing throughout.
There is no better concrete example of this two-way communication than a user group meeting. EDA vendors decades ago realized the value in bringing their AE and development teams together with hands-on users. The company shares usage tips, presents new features, provides product development roadmaps, and offers the company vision. Users present case studies that document best practices and show results from using the tools on real-world projects.
I was chatting with some EDA veterans about user groups, and they made two interesting points. One was that holding the first user group meeting is a milestone for vendors since it means that they have enough customers to justify an event and get good attendance. It also means that they have satisfied customers who won’t use the meeting just to beat up on the host company.
We certainly have enough customers to form a user group and we believe that they will have good experiences to share at the first AUGER. We will follow the well-established approach for user group meetings, with an agenda that includes:
Agnisys state of the company and future roadmap
Latest products, direct from our engineering team
Using IDesignSpec (IDS) for safety and security
Latest properties and customizations in IDS
Improving the quality of your register maps
Multiple presentations from active users
The agenda is still being refined to ensure that we are presenting you the most up-to-date information; you can view the latest version here. We will “drill down” (auger) on key technical topics related to SoC and IP development. But formal presentations are only part of what makes a user group meeting successful. There is always time allocated for users and AE/development engineers to interact informally, and for users to meet each other to share their challenges and experiences.
A virtual event doesn’t offer the same networking possibilities as an in-person meeting, so we have included in the AUGER agenda a dedicated roundtable session for interaction among all attendees. We may ask question or two to kick off the discussion, but we want you to determine what you’d like to share and what you’d like to learn from your fellow users. We hope to hold future events face-to-face to enable more traditional interaction.
AUGER 2021 will be held on March 18, 2021 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM EST. I strongly encourage you to join us online, and to consider giving a user presentation to share your experiences. We will have some prizes and fun activities to complement the detailed technical information. You can sign up here any time before the event. All of us at Agnisys are excited to spend time together with our users. I look forward to seeing you there!