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Overcoming Strategic Gaps–an Optics Design Case

Strategic Planning Expert

Strategic Planning Expert

By Denise Harrison

Would integrated circuits be constrained by what could physically fit on a chip?  Heat and size issues were becoming constraints to what was possible with traditional technology.  Synopsys, a world leader in software and IP for semiconductor design and verification manufacturing, saw that its customers’ applications required more and more functionality in ever-decreasing size, and understood that traditional technology would no longer fit the bill.  They observed that recent breakthroughs in the optics world would enable more functionality on chips, using light and lasers rather than traditional wiring.

But how could Synopsys develop a core competency in this area?  The team at Synopsys knew there was significant “know-how” being developed in this area that would be important to providing the solutions for which their customers were looking.  In order to find the leading scientists in optics, they searched patents and found that one name appeared again and again, Optical Research Associates.  The folks at Optical Research not only understood the technology, but were continuing to develop breakthroughs in this area of optics design and engineering.  Synopsys saw that a partnership with Optical Research Associates would be beneficial to their future success and embarked on a successful acquisition campaign.   Now Optical Research (renamed Synopsys Optical Solutions) is a business unit within Synopsys and this important technology is enabling Synopsys to meet its customers’ goal of developing continually smaller chips while increasing the functionality.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Have a clear vision of where you want to go and what your company needs to look like in order to be successful in the future.
  2. Develop the list of characteristics that will be needed to achieve that future vision.
  3. Understand which of these characteristics you have and which you need to develop. Don’t pretend you are better than you are with regard to the characteristics required for success.
  4. Decide whether to make or buy the skills required. Developing the skills will take time, but acquisitions often do not deliver as expected.
  5. Develop a plan to acquire/develop the skills.
  6. Monitor to make sure you stay on track.

Understanding where you want to go and what gaps you have to fill to get there are important parts of strategic planning.  Without a clear vision of the future, companies often flounder and try to go after too many choices.  With a clear vision of the future, your team will understand the 2-3 important gaps that you need to work on in order reach the desired end-state.  Trying to be everything to everybody will not allow you to truly be successful in the few areas that will make a difference.

If you are interested in taking your strategic planning to the next level, please listen to our webinar:  Why Isn’t My Strategic Plan Working or contact Denise Harrison; 910-763-5194, harrison@cssp.com .

Denise Harrison is a senior consultant for the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. She can be reached at  harrison@cssp.com.

© Copyright 2015 by Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI — Reprint permission granted with full attribution.