Thursday October 2, 2014

Kenesto PLM Platform Re-launched

Yesterday I had to opportunity to be reintroduced to the relaunched Kenesto, the company headed up by Mike Payne, one of the more renowned and revered figures in the CAD world, having started PTC and SolidWorks (then SpaceClaim). Pretty much anything that Mike is involved in draws interest from the industry and Kenesto is no exception.

Kenesto is a cloud-based PLM platform with its roots in workflow management. The platform is being relaunched with a renewed focus on collaboration, as companies are more comfortable owning up to needing this capability more than they are to admitting workflow issues.

Kenesto adopts OEM product strategy

Though the product has technically been around since it was introduced in 2011, in December of last year, the company officially announced that the product was ready to go to market. Nothing unusual about that though the way in which the company is marketing and selling the product is unusual. Due to the company’s relatively small size and lack of marketing muscle or resources, it is currently soliciting partnerships with third-party vendors to private-label the solution for subscription sales into their respective markets.

Logic behind the move is explained by Stephen Bodnar, senior VP of Products and Strategy at Kenesto (and former VP of PLM at Autodesk). “The framework we’ve put in place to support partners who wish to offer our technology to their customers, branded as their own, and through their own sales channels, makes great sense for us given where we are in our company’s lifecycle and the level of investment required to capture additional, much larger markets. It also makes great sense for enterprise software providers who wish to offer the kinds of cloud-based collaboration capabilities, such as those available in Kenesto’s solution, in a timely, cost-effective manner.”

Collaboration features with CAD benefits

An increasingly common acronym (we just love acronyms in the CAD industry) is Collaborative Product Design or CPD. Bodnar emphasizes that in Kenesto’s case, CPD can mean both collaborative project or product design, as he believes the software will fit just as nicely in other industries where file/task/workflow management remains a challenge, such as the insurance, mortgage and AEC industries. In fact, the company’s biggest customer thus far using Kenesto is a large PR agency.

Despite that, with the founders’ strong background in engineering design, that will the primary initial market they will go after with the product. As far as company size of target customers, Bodnar says they are primarily focused on small- to mid-sized businesses, a sweet spot for PLM vendors and a largely unserved market.

A colleague, Roopinder Tara, described Kenesto as “a Dropbox with CAD benefits.” Bodnar refers to it as “Dropbox on steroids.” Either way, you get the picture. The difference: Kenesto has discussion flows, where DropBox does not; Kenesto views 250 file types, Dropbox does not.

Kenesto can also store email conversations along with notes, text files, JPEGs, PDFs as well as CAD files. It is able to view major CAD files, both for MCAD and AEC, which the company sees as a big potential market for the product, and cloud rendering for Redit models. People receiving files via Kenesto do not have to be subscribers themselves, though the person sharing/sending the files must be a subscriber.

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With Kenesto, everyone in the office can model their portion of the workflow.

Platform focuses on workflow management

Though it’s common for PLM solutions to offer file and content sharing, project organization, task management, workflow diagramming, Kenesto goes about many of these quite differently. For workflow diagramming, Bodnar says, “people in an organization know only their part of the workflow; no one person knows it all.” So Kenesto allows each participant to model their portion of the workflow. The administrator then eliminates duplicates and overlaps. This capability to track workflows creates a audit trail for managers to get a higher view of processes.

You can give Kenesto a free test drive (after registering) here.

Barb Schmitz