Back in November last year I wondered what Kenesto was. A couple of days ago the folks at Kenesto gave me a briefing on their product after which I signed up for their beta program. I have been fiddling around with their system during my free time.
Kenesto is basically a cloud based process automation system which does not rely on the normal way of doing process automation. By normal way I mean you start by creating your process that you wish to automate using a visual workflow editor, add tasks, assign roles, decide on the flow and finally publish it so that people involved can start working. Kenesto takes a different approach. You don’t create a workflow from start to end right in the beginning. You simply start a process and people build it along the way depending on what happens along the way. The idea here is to be flexible and not have to force yourself to follow a rigid way of doing things.
All this abstract talk is pointless is I’m not going to actually show you Kenesto in action. During the briefing I was told that Kenesto has been built keeping an engineering-oriented business in mind. But it could be used for just about anything. I decided to put that to the test. I decided to use Kenesto to create a process for something happening in my home. The different types of processes that can be created in Kenesto are shown in the image below.
I decided to create a Cost Reduction Initiative process to cut down our household and mobile phone bills.
This is what showed up in the workflow editor immediately after I created the process.
A start and a finish activity. And that’s it. This process is good to go. I start by adding a route asking my wife to figure out a better plan for our mobile phones.
Note that I could add a parallel activity for myself. But let’s keep things simple for now. As soon as I add a route, an activity shows up between the start and finish which is assigned to my wife. She gets an email which looks like this.
She can choose to log into Kenesto or complete the activity without logging into the system. When she logs in she gets to see her activities and processes on her dashboard.
She browses the Vodafone web site, looks for better plans and has a question about my requirements for a data plan. She adds a route with her question which ends up as another activity for me.
I complete my activity by replying to her question.
Immediately after I do that I realize that I may have made a mistake. I have second thoughts on the the data plan and would rather prefer to go for an unlimited data plan. So I modify the process and revert back to an previous activity.
When I’m there I ask my wife through Kenesto whether she meant 5GB per month or 5GB per day. 😉 By now she’s pretty much pissed off and instead of reverting back a step in the workflow and paying a visit to the Vodafone web site again she finishes her task with this message.
Obviously business processes don’t run this way in an professional organization. But my point here was to show you how the system works. How a process gets cooked up as it happens. This was a pretty simple and straight forward process. You can have parallel activities going on. You can even have people inside and outside your organization take part in your process automation because you really don’t need to log into the system to do your activity.
So how much does this cost? Well, the folks at Kenesto have an interesting take on that as well. You pay per process. Or rather a bunch of processes. There are a different levels of accounts that have limits on the maximum number of active processes that you can have. By active, I mean processes that are currently running. So this means that the processes that have terminated don’t count towards your limit. Each process can run for as much time as you want and there are no limits to the number of activities in a process.
Kenesto runs in the cloud. So there is nothing to install. I was sent an email asking me to activate my account and I was good to go. Kenesto is built on top of Amazon Web Services. An interesting component of system is the Kenesto viewer which is able to view over 250 vector based formats and documents like spreadsheets.