Why Has DNN CMS Been Downloaded by 7 Million Users?
Although creating quality content, publishing it through the right channels in the right format at the right time, piquing your target audience interests, and engaging them with your brand does not sound like rocket science, these are the most common challenges within almost every organization as no vendor has thrived on the issue of getting all these tasks done in their entirety. However, DNN CMS has been evolving from Web Content Management (WCM) to a decoupled and intelligent Content Management System (CMS) to provide a suite of solutions in order to orchestrate these tasks seamlessly.
Founded in 2006 and funded by Sierra Ventures, Pelion Venture Partners, and August Capital, DNN Corp., which currently has around 100 employees, is headquartered in San Mateo, California. It also has another office in Langley, BC, Canada. Considering its solutions are the foundation for 750,000+ websites worldwide, DNN is the most widely adopted CMS for Microsoft.NET and the largest and most successful open source project for the Microsoft ecosystem. It started as an open source project on Microsoft's .NET stack and grew the open source community to more than 1 million, according to the company. Its customer base includes Bank of America, Aetna, True Value Hardware, Whirlpool, the US Department of Defense (DoD), and Sports Direct. Its technology has been downloaded by over 7 million users. We, here at CMS-Connected, wanted to inquire on the driving factors behind this obvious interest. Therefore, we reached out to Dennis Shiao, Director, Content Marketing at DNN Corp, to get the inside scoop on what makes them stand out from the crowd. He said: “We make our products drop-dead easy for marketers and business professionals. We design our products in such a way that customers go from "buy to use" in weeks and from "use to value" in months. We strive to offer the best ROI of any software that caters to marketers.”
When we dove into the details, he stressed their four strengths that make their offerings appealing and compelling for the customers:
Extensibility: According to Dennis Shiao, extensibility is core to everything they do thus developers choose DNN over the other platforms in the market. They have an Open API and a full commitment to backward compatibility. He also told CMS-Connected that another prominent differentiator they have is that the DNN Store provides the largest collection of commercially supported, third-party modules, from hundreds of vendors.
Cloud delivery: Almost every single big player like DNN in the industry that we talk to couldn’t stress their evolving cloud offerings enough, and with good reason. The WCM industry is shifting to the cloud, driven in large part by customer demand for more flexible infrastructure, the shortened time-to-market, productivity, easy maintenance, and so on. DNN’s solutions can be hosted either on-premises or in the cloud. However, the company has realized that migrating a complex, on-premises WCM implementation to the cloud is a challenging process for the vast majority of the customers. Hence they respond to this impediment by providing individual features as a service, delivered from their Microsoft Azure cloud so their customers can have multi-tenant SaaS capability, whether their WCM is on-premises or in the cloud. Now that its technology has moved from a monolithic Evoq content management system to a microservices, cloud-based, 'features as a service' architecture, DNN can publish weekly or daily updates to individual features, and when that happens, all customers receive updates in real time, which provides enhancements and fixes as quickly as possible. As a result, users can worry less about software and focus more on delivering value to end users instead.
Unrivaled ease of use: Due to its breadth of features, DNN’s platform is easy to use and navigate. With the most recent release, content is separated from layout, meaning that the repurposing and reuse of content to multiple sites, devices, apps and distribution channels are much easier. To prove it, on their website, they have this cool online tool where you can go ahead and test how the platform plays out to understand the common tasks, such as creating a page, publishing a blog post, personalization, controlling the permissions, and so on first-hand.
Multi-site management: Dennis Shiao said that since their multi-site management is architected in their platform's core, rather than being a bolt-on like the other CMS platforms, DNN stands out from the crowd. Its engineering team has bots running in their labs in order to do performance and stress testing on all of their products. As a result, they examine every code change to see whether it made the product faster or slower. They also observe response times visually. They run tests on both faster and slower hardware to see how the product behaves. Heavy loads like millions of users, files and folders are also simulated by the team in order to make the platform scalable. As a result, users can manage hundreds or thousands of sites from a single instance of Evoq and have performance scale as they grow.
When it comes to looking for the missing puzzle piece of the platform, DNN doesn’t provide many native marketing capabilities as they prefer to enable their customers to build their own “best of breed” solution by integrating the DNN technology into leading technology products that they already use, through its built-in connectors. Although this can be considered a weakness for those who are looking for one-stop shop, it may work out for the users perfectly, who are already heavily invested in the other marketing solutions. As an example of its built-in connectors, the new MailChimp connector allows new users or subscribers to be automatically mapped to your MailChimp subscription lists and also includes an Unsubscribe module for users to be automatically removed if they opt out. Additionally, with the recent platform upgrade, the new Evoq Analytics service replaced the old built-in analytics functionality. The new service connects to Google Analytics and displays visualizations, data, and insights inside the Evoq interface. These redesigned Analytics are the feature that Will Morgenweck, Vice President of Product Management at DNN, is most excited about. He said in an interview: “We redesigned our analytics system to leverage data from Google Analytics. Customers will have a consistent data story between Evoq and Google Analytics, but still have the ease-of-use of our in-page analytics, directly in Evoq.”
Let’s assume that you are sold on the idea of choosing DNN as your content management system, what would be the price you will pay? Well, their pricing, of course, varies depending on whether you choose their on-premises software or their fully-managed cloud (PaaS) offering. If you choose on-premises, then the number of server instances shapes your pricing whereas the number of monthly page views is the indicator for pricing when you implement the fully-managed cloud (PaaS) offering. Regardless, according to Shiao, pricing starts at $8,000 per year and can scale up past $100,000.
DNN has been a widely adopted CMS not only because of its inclusion of rich features but also because of the company’s fearless approach to innovation. With the recent release of Evoq 9’s general availability, the vendor has, once again, proved that it is committed to making its platform future-proof by converting it from a traditional, monolithic architecture to one that is cloud-first, based on containers and microservices. If you are interested in learning more about DNN’s platform or the other top .NET CMS solutions, you would definitely want to stay tuned here at CMS-Connected as this month, we will publish a stellar article which will be a legitimate apples-to-apples comparison of these complex platforms as we would like to approach the topic in a unique way, giving our audience content they won’t get anywhere else.