Will Kenesto escape from PDM red ocean?

Will Kenesto escape from PDM red ocean?


Develop3D article – Kenesto Drive 2.0 updates cloud product document management, collaboration and version control brings a news about Kenesto Drive 2.0. If you haven’t heard about Kenesto, check the website. Kenesto is a software outfit founded by Mike Payne. The list of companies Mike co-founded is a topic for a separate blog post. Check Bloomberg article for more details.

The following passage from Develeop3D article caught my special attention. According to the article, the functionality provide by Kenesto is only available in traditional PDM systems. And now, Kenesto brings it to the cloud.

Drive 2.0 now allows users to manually define document dependencies for any type of document and, within products such as SolidWorks and Solid Edge, defines those dependencies automatically. Having defined these dependencies, users are able to find all of the places where a document is used (Where-Used), and selectively replace or rename instances of documents that are used in SolidWorks and Solid Edge assemblies. In addition, users are also able to define revisions of assemblies when released to production. This functionality has only been available in the past in traditional fully installed PDM systems.

I’ve been following the development of Kenesto for the last few years on my blog. The trajectory came from flexible processes and engineering data management, collaboration platform and finally came to cloud PDM.

It made me think about why does engineering software world need another PDM system? There are so many data management systems developed to control files and manage revisions. Each CAD vendor has one or, in some situations, even multiple PDM systems. In my recent article, I counted 5 PDM systems available for Solidworks only in Dassault Systemes portfolio. Similar situation is for  Autodesk and Siemens PLM. Few startups have tried to develop independent cloud PDM systems recently. The most notable example is GrabCAD – even after GrabCAD acquisition by Stratasys, GrabCAD Workbench is available for free. You might think another another PDM system such as Kenesto just doesn’t make sense and you might be right. But not so fast….

The topic is not simple as you might think about. And the main issue is related to the disconnect between old installed on-premise PDMs and new agile cloud PDM services. Most of existing PDM systems are dinosaurs living in the existing vendors’ eco-systems. They are enjoying the support of a large vendor and established business models. New cloud services available from the large vendors might be not as mature as service provided by Kenesto. So, as a result of that, Kenesto might find a path to the user who wants to solve as simple problem – to manage revisions of CAD files painlessly.

What is my conclusion? I’m not sure manufacturing companies are looking for another traditional PDM these days. The things are different when it comes to modern agile cloud services. Kenesto might solve the problem for users unwilling to pay large amount of money for traditional PDM and struggling to adopt new cloud products from large CAD vendors. Kenesto is navigating into bloody water of PDM competition between PDM software developed 20 years ago and new cloud services large vendors are trying to build from scratch. It  has a chance to find happy customers or get acquired by one of large vendors struggling to build a solution that solves user problems. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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