I want you to take a minute and think about all of the great products you have used throughout your life. What is it that attracted you to the product? What was it about the product that made it stand out from all the others? Were those same attractive qualities present in the first version of the product? What are the common threads that you see in all those products?
When I think of truly great products, I think of the Apple iPhone, the Logitech Harmony Remote, the TiVo, Google Search, and even Quicken. When I look at all those products and where they started, the common threads that I see are a combination of power, simplicity (yes, I know, some of those products have gotten a bit more complex as they have aged) and integration.
For me, when I look at DNN and how it began, I see many of these same qualities. DNN is a powerful platform that from day one made it extremely easy to build and maintain rich websites. DNN provides tremendous value just in the core platform – even without additional modules or skins. The powerful, simple and integrated nature of DNN is what first attracted me to the platform over 10 years ago and why I still love the platform today.
The DNN Metamorphosis
Over the years the DNN has gone through a number of transformations. When it was first introduced, DNN was a simple application which provided the basic tools needed for building rich websites. As a fully integrated application, DNN didn’t have the concept of 3rd party modules or skins, yet myself and many others still found it to be a very compelling solution.
Over the next couple of years, DNN was re-architected to make it more open and extensible, and thus better able to serve as a platform that could be used to solve a much broader set of customer requirements. The extensible nature of the platform has been a fundamental part of what makes DNN so great – different companies and individuals are able to extend DNN to suit their business needs without compromising the integrity of the core platform.
DNN has been blessed with a vibrant hosting community who also saw value in providing DNN to their customers. As a DNN customer, regardless of how small or large, you have access to a great set of hosting providers who understand the DNN platform and deliver great customer service.
A Market Shift
In recent years though, there has been a shift in the marketplace. With the advent of cloud providers like Amazon AWS, Rackspace and Windows Azure, we are seeing more and more customers who are interested in moving to the cloud. They want to be able to take advantage of the scalability, reliability and elasticity provided by cloud platforms.
Unfortunately, unlike traditional hosting companies, cloud providers do not provide the kind of application support that many companies require. Cloud providers are laser focused on providing the infrastructure and platforms necessary to run your web application. Cloud Platforms can be fully automated with their extensive APIs which allows you to create very feature rich applications which can manage their own hosting environment – something not traditionally available with standard hosting companies.
Beyond just wanting to run in the cloud, customers were also looking for a simpler approach. The iPhone and iPad have had a major effect in shaping consumer expectations. Customers are looking for integrated solutions that offer both power and simplicity.
When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through. – Steve Jobs
Websites today are no longer being driven strictly by the IT department. Marketers have a desire to be able to quickly and easily build, deploy and maintain websites without involving IT. For this set of customers, discussions around how much ram they need, what type of backup strategy they want, or how to use a hosting control panel are non-starters.
Before a customer can decide if DNN is the right tool to meet their needs, they first need to try out the platform. In the age of Cloud Computing and SaaS applications, users expect a great trial experience that allows them to fully explore your application before making any commitments. Not only do customers want a great trial experience, but they expect to be able to get access to this trial in a matter of seconds without having to download and install any software.
A DNN Solution
Over and over again we were hearing these concerns being expressed by our customers. They want something that is easy to try, easy to buy, and easy to use – without giving up any of the power and flexibility that DNN is known for. This four part series is going to look at how our recent Cloud based solutions deliver on the promise of powerful, simple and integrated cloud solutions. Over the course of this week, I’ll focus on different aspects of our Cloud products and show you why we built things the way we did and what I love about DNN in the cloud.
Read the full series on Building DNN as a Service
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – Trials
Part 3 – Integrated Solutions
Part 4 – Power and Simplicity