Dokeos switches to SaaS model and reduces hosting costs by 75 %




Learning management systems (LMS) have been around for a while.

When it first entered the market in 1999, Dokeos had initially gained traction with a solution for e-learning tailored for businesses. But the heavily customized format was expensive to maintain. Seeking to remain competitive, the company identified opportunity in a specialized market - compliance training for highly regulated industries.

The new Dokeos SaaS offering launched successfully and the company has a roadmap of improvements it is tackling with Belighted’s help.



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The Problem

When Dokeos broke into the industry helping companies set up e-learning programs, it was well-received. The company was the only provider of its kind and easily reached hundreds of corporate clients. However, with each new customized release, maintenance became more of a burden. Each time the team fixed a bug, it required fixing the base software as well as each client’s customized version. The high degree of customization and cost of hosting was becoming prohibitively expensive.

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The Goals

Belighted helped the company pivot and meet the following goals:

  • Simplify its offering into SaaS format for long-term scalability
  • Improve user experience
  • Differentiate with smart reporting that capitalizes on industry experience
  • Reduce maintenance costs drastically (they saved 75% on hosting costs alone)

Don't just take our word for it

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“The Belighted analysts never talk about software, programming or graphical design, not even during lunchtime. They focus instead on grasping the essence of the user experience. This shift gives Belighted meetings a unique flavor. Call it philosophical. It’s all about meaning: how users attempt to make sense out of their experience and achieve goals. At the end of the analysis you get a software, fully tested, allowing users to create new forms of life.”

Bertrand De Praetere

The Challenges

Innovate, Find a Scalable Product Market Fit

Customization was attractive to customers. But this heavy customization work for each new client meant a major shift if the company was to scale further and keep its maintenance costs under control. A new competitor had also emerged. The Dokeos team wanted to innovate, improve their existing solution, and reposition themselves to capitalize on their decade of experience in the LMS industry. The team also saw an opportunity to serve instructors and course administrators, who create content and manage relationships, as well as the course participants. It was time to update the user interface to meet the modern expectations of their audiences.

Pivot the Application to a SaaS Model

Previously, Dokeos would need to set up a new server for each client and customize the software. By updating the application to a SaaS platform and providing a simplified standard product, the company could drastically reduce its costs. The SaaS model also allowed Dokeos to offer customization options that a client could activate and pay for. Dokeos needed a complete rework of its existing application in order to do this. After determining the strategy, the next step was to create a prototype of the proposed new system in a Design Sprint. Then we built an MVP that could be launched into the market.

Most clients come to us because they need help with product development. What makes clients want to continue working with us is the value our team adds on top of that. The Dokeos team considered hiring more staff to develop the MVP internally but realized that Belighted filled several roles efficiently: project manager, front and back end programmers, and UX/UI designer. The collaboration has produced positive results. It made sense to continue working together.

Belighted helped Dokeos standardize its software offering into one database so a core program could be made available to every customer easily. And, to continue to differentiate from competition, the company offered some customizable options that could be activated as add-ons and built in reporting functionality that went deeper than other offerings on the market.

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The Results

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The Dokeos team continued to work with Belighted to rework its app, capitalizing on our experience and learning from our product development methods:

Dokeos released the reworked app in March 2018 and it has been well received in the months since. Hosting costs decreased by 75% immediately. There is still much to be done. Dokeos plans to continue to evolve to serve its customers with the best technology and suite of e-learning tools, adding more features and more reporting functions in the future.