It’s no simple task to make instructions and documentation readily available and updated in several languages. Image via Shutterstock.com
When crime-scene investigators need to check a procedure manual, or when airplane mechanics need a repair reference guide, they require clearly organized information at the touch of a button on whatever kind of device they’re holding in their hands.
Because it’s no simple task to keep updated documentation and instruction manuals at the fingertips of employees and customers, hundreds of businesses, manufacturers and government agencies – including HTC, Plantronics, Dell, Cisco, EMC, McAfee, Emerson, Hitachi, Israel Aerospace Industries and the Police Academy of the Netherlands – have purchased software and training from the small Israeli company Suite Solutions.
“We help companies engage their customers by giving quick access to useful information,” says CEO Joe Gelb, whose staff has grown to 20 since he founded Suite Solutions in 2007 out of his home in Alon Shevut near Jerusalem.
“Whether you’re a teen figuring out how to use your new HTC cell phone, or a business trying to configure a Dell router, or a police officer looking up the procedure for a certain type of arrest, you need access to the right information in that particular moment.”
Suite Solutions products are designed to solve the problem of disjointed information presentation.
“You’ll often have separate portals for technical documentation, training material, support and marketing, with no single consistent way to get access to a variety of information,” Gelb explains. “And there is no way to know which one is the most updated.”
That is a sure way to frustrate users, whether they are employees or potential customers. Gelb says the remedy is software that structures and presents the instructional material – in any language — consistently and across many formats.
Coming from an engineering background, Gelb found a niche in helping businesses streamline and structure their documentation delivery.
“After working with so many large companies over the years to get their information from unstructured to structured, we’ve learned how to develop processes and tools to help companies get this done smoothly,” he says. “People are often bouncing between laptop, tablet and phone, and they need the same or similar information on different devices with an experience that is consistent and friendly.”
Paul Giesing, director of technical publications for McAfee in Oregon, says he began working with Suite Solutions years ago, based on recommendations from experts in the emerging domain of solutions for DITA, an XML-based architecture for authoring, producing and delivering technical information.
The fact that the company is based thousands of miles away in Israel was less relevant than its reputation, he tells ISRAEL21c.
“Local providers can work, but you cannot get a full-service shop from any local vendors, which are usually one- or two-person consultancies,” Giesing explains.
“Suite adds value by being vendor-agnostic experts working with the open-source community and blue-chip customers to build out innovative solutions. As such, they have a better perspective on the solutions in play in the market. I do trust Joe’s team and their expertise, so we reach out for their strategic thinking how best to get to the future of intelligent content.”
The company’s new social knowledge-based platform, SuiteShare, allows clients to upload and access information in one easy-to-use interface. Gelb says there are few other products like it.
“Some are offering similar platforms that are specific for technical documentation or training, but not a single solution for such a wide variety of content.”
He was recently in the United States visiting a client that makes a wide variety of video equipment for both amateurs and professionals.
“The support rep told me their customers say they like them because their competitors are even worse. Well, they don’t want to be less bad; they want to be good. So we’re talking to them about using the SuiteShare platform to quickly get the right information about the right products to their customers.”
Working with clients always starts with helping them define their customers, Gelb adds.
“Companies generally throw up information onto their portal without understanding who’s trying to access the information and what they are trying to do with it,” he says. “Customer-centric and contextually relevant information is the whole idea behind SuiteShare.”
Among many companies worldwide, increased resources are going into streamlining and improving the process of presenting information.
“Marketing executives are seeing that people look at documentation before they buy the product, and if it’s not useful and accessible they’ll go elsewhere,” says Gelb, who will speak about “customer-centric content” at the Intelligent Content Conference: Breaking Down Barriers event in California early next year.
For more information on the company, see www.suite-sol.com.