28 Jan 2013: Last week I had the opportunity to meet, via the web, with Stephen Bodnar and Maya Olsha-Yehiav of Kenesto, the startup featuring Mike Payne as CEO. Bodnar is Vice President, Products and Marketing; Maya Olsha-Yehiav is Director of Customer Success.
The topic under discussion was the announcement yesterday of what Kenesto calls their Unified Social Business Collaboration Platform, a substantial change from their former business strategy offering a cloud based workflow based system.
For some background information readers can review my two previous blogs about Kenesto.
- Steve Bodnar leaves Autodesk for Kenesto http://raykurland.com/2012/09/18/steve-bodnar-leaves-autodesk-for-kenesto/
- Kenesto: What is it? http://raykurland.com/2011/12/18/kenesto-what-is-it/
Kenesto was formerly a cloud based workflow system. Here, from my previous “what is it” blog, is a description of what they formerly did. “Aimed at the category called business process automation, this cloud-based application allows asynchronous spawning of processes. Different from similar systems that try to model processes, Kenesto builds processes on the fly. Users wanting to track a process they are initiating, for instance an ECO, initiate a process, attach documents to it, and add users to the next process by adding their email addresses. Different types of “next processes” can be defined, such as “review and approve.” At each step in the process the recipient can add additional processes that add steps to the overall process. Kenesto builds the process diagram as steps are added. Note that this differs significantly from the BPM (Business Process Modeling) approach that models processes using a cumbersome programmatic approach. Kenesto calls it Business Process Automation (BPA).”
Kenesto 2013′s Kenesto Social Business Collaboration platform expands on their workflow system by adding extensive capabilities that vastly expands their offering by adding collaboration on documents, document storage sharing and control, team building and messaging collaboration among the team, and a text based team capture and audit trail. Users can also build multiple teams, and invite users to teams. Documents automatically link to related viewers and more than 200 are currently offered, including special extensions for viewing of Revit documents.
Pricing has now changed from buying of bundles of processes to a more traditional user based pricing. This chart is taken directly from the Kenesto.com website.
Definitions of interest (from Wikepedia)
- Social collaboration refers to processes that help multiple people interact, share information to achieve any common goal.
- A social networking service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on facilitating the building of social networks or social relations among people who, for example, share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections.
Bodnar described what they are doing as both social business and collaboration. For companies to realize social business they usually have to deploy 3 to 7 separate technologies. For example: specialty social business sites include: Yammer, Chatter, Socialtext, Nuage, file sharing sites like Dropbox, etc. Kenesto incorporates many of these into one.
While I am a CAD/PLM guy, not a social collaboration expert, I can see quite a few things in the Kenesto demo that seem really useful. You can organize teams, add people to it, add documents that can be shared, and record textual comments of the entire team. Of course, documents can be any type of document. Different than a doc sharing site such as Dropbox, you have limited control of access to the document, for instance, viewing only. Other elements can be added, such as workflow. Bodnar states that Kenesto is “**highly** complementary to the existing PDM/PLM tools.” It seems to me that this offers more ready access to design data than many PLM systems of today. While PLM systems are more rigid in document control, they are often very difficult to navigate. Perhaps there might be some middle ground by coupling the two systems.
In summary, different than many other social business sites, Kenesto provides multiple capabilities. It’s a cloud based, secure document sharing site, has team groups, document (including CAD) viewing for team members, task management, and a history audit trail of team communication. Yet, the solution is a general solution applicable to many areas other than engineering and design.
Try it yourself by joining the free Kenesto Community at http://www.kenesto.com .