Corporate technical documentation and standard operating procedure guidelines are a bear to handle, for both users and writers. Even once they’re created and on the books, they go through countless revisions, which means lots of time and money expended on updating paper documents and conducting regular, arduous reviews. Dozuki, a new spin-off company from the team behind iFixit an online repair manual site for users looking to fix and upgrade their own gadgets, sees the backwards way most companies do support documentation as an opportunity that’s ripe for cloud conversion.
Why? Because as cloud-based SaaS documents, technical manuals, support docs and instructional guidelines can all become living documents, easily editable by anyone with permissions to do so, with changes automatically available on all connected devices with access to them. And despite being cloud-based, Dozuki offers offline caching, so that even if an employee has to drop off the grid, they’ll still have access to their documents.
One of Dozuki’s early clients, which the company is just announcing today, is computer upgrade company Crucial. “We’re building a ‘How-to’ for them that will be on their Crucial.com site with over 150 instructions on how to install RAM in a laptop, or a system-on-a-chip in an iMac, and we’re also building an iPad app for them,” Dozuki co-founder Kyle Wiens told BetaKit in an interview. Crucial’s use of Dozuki’s tech also shows its flexibility, since Wiens says that its consumer focused purpose is another way clients can use the platform, in addition to creating internal documents.
“It turns out that the step-by-step format works well for all sorts of niches,” he said. “We’re definitely seeing it being used on the factory floor, using iPads for factory technicians, but we originally built it for iFixit, for teaching consumers how to do repairs.”
iFixit is a popular destination in the Apple fan community, since it regularly posts ‘teardowns’ of Apple devices, breaking them open and disassembling them step-by-step to provide an inside look at what makes them tick. Wiens said the community-based publication style of the teardowns is something he hopes companies will eventually adopt in using Dozuki.
“We’ve found that most companies are afraid of wikis, so what we do is say ‘It’s a documentation platform, it’s a content management system,’ that’s how we get in the door,” he said. “Over time as they get more comfortable with a wiki, we tell them if they want, they can turn on public editing and review user submissions, or not, it’s totally up to you.” In this way, Dozuki aims to bridge the gap between traditional rigid enterprise documentation, and a future in which companies value not only the opinions of internal stakeholders, but also subject matter experts in the community who might have worthwhile suggestions about how to improve company processes and practices.
Another example of how the platform is working is the company’s partnership with Make magazine, which encourages users to submit their own projects and provide how-tos and instructions so that others in the community can build things on their own.
Dozuki’s prices are monthly subscriptions based on usage, starting at $49 per month for a single author, and ranging up to $499 per month with greater flexibility and more content creators. For self-funded Dozuki, the business model is a solid one, since the company is basically leveraging the functionality it already built out for its own use on iFixit.com. For clients, it’s likely a money-saver, too, since it eschews printing costs, eliminates rework and administrative drag, and also comes complete with native iPhone and iPad app support. While it’s true that savvy clients could likely roll their own or use free wiki tools to accomplish the same thing, albeit without Dozuki’s streamlined approach, the company’s clearly banking on the fact that companies aren’t ready for wikis, but do like the sound of a cloud-based document management system that keeps things simple but can also evolve alongside changing enterprise IT climates.