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DNN's Shaun Walker, "The Metamorphosis Continues"

By Jason Stone

The Metamorphosis Continues
Shaun Walker, CTO, DNN Corporation

Shaun WalkerIn December of 2012 we celebrated A Decade Of DotNetNuke - quite an accomplishment for an open source project which began its life as a personal educational exploration into the .NET platform. To memorialize our anniversary we published an infographic which provided a visual representation of our journey over the past 10 years. The infographic used the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly as a metaphor for describing how the open source project has evolved into a thriving commercial ecosystem. In scientific terms this transformation is known as metamorphosis and I am proud to say that there has probably never been a moment in our history which has truly exemplified the definition of metamorphosis as perfectly as the announcements we are making today.

 Metamorphosis - a change in form as something progresses from one developmental stage to another

From very humble beginnings, DotNetNuke has evolved to become one of the most recognizable open source CMS brands in the world. As a pioneer of open source on the Microsoft platform, it charted new territory and paved the way for others to follow in its footsteps; helping people understand how the combination of open source software and commercial software could not only co-exist but provide substantial benefits to users and customers. And as a web development platform, DotNetNuke has provided organizations with a solid foundation for the development of enterprise-class web applications spanning nearly every industry and business requirement imaginable.

At the same time DotNetNuke Corporation, the company behind DotNetNuke, was also experiencing an evolution of its own. Raising venture capital in late 2008 and making its first commercial product offering available in 2009, the goal has always been to find a repeatable, sustainable business model which could provide the resources needed to manage growth and ensure the success and longevity of the open source project and ecosystem. DotNetNuke Corporation has always taken its role as project steward seriously and has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to ensuring the relevancy and strategic importance of the platform.

Getting back to the topic of metamorphosis, all living things go through stages of development. Much like how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, sometimes the transformation can be quite dramatic. Often this transformation is influenced by changes in the environment, where the only viable option is to adapt to survive.

The CMS landscape has changed substantially over the past decade. Marketers have supplanted I.T. as the new decision makers for online initiatives in the enterprise. Business users expect a user experience rivaling their favorite consumer software applications. Businesses are interested in a level of convenience that can provide them with near instant gratification. Organizations want to allow their customers and partners to interact with them on multiple channels, on any device, in real time.

In order to cope with this sea change, DotNetNuke needs to adapt. Specifically, it needs to change its identity in the market, as well as expand and enhance its product and service offerings. But at the same time it needs to retain its culture, its unique competitive differentiators, its commercial ecosystem, and its loyal user community.

With that in mind, and after much deliberation, we are very excited to make some announcements today...

A new brand focus

Although the name "DotNetNuke" has served us well over the years, it is not the most business-friendly brand name. The fact that it is directly tied to a specific technology platform can be a limiting factor both from the perspective that it tends to attract a more technical audience and from the perspective that it makes us tightly coupled to the market health of the .NET platform. In addition, the term "nuke" carries a negative connotation in most areas of the world, and even has some unfortunate regional implications based on its pronunciation. In an effort to work around some of these challenges, the community has long preferred to use the term "DNN" as an alternate brand. So going forward, we will be embracing "DNN" as the primary brand for all product marketing activities.

A new logo

We have used the same basic logo since 2005 and as a result, we were long overdue for change. The new logo is a fusion of two different colored arcs that intersect at two points to create a "D". Symbolically we like to think of these two fused arcs as the combination of commerce and community. The new logo is 2 dimensional which makes it a lot more flexible in different types of applications and it uses a fresh new color palette that provides greater impact and energy. In contrast to the past, you will see much greater usage of this logo and color scheme in our marketing materials as we bring our new brand to life.

A new company name

To be consistent and emphasize the shift of our primary brand to "DNN", DotNetNuke Corporation has changed its name to DNN Corporation.

A new website

dotnetnuke.com has the been the online home of the project for over a decade. However, in order to fully embrace our new primary brand of "DNN" we have now changed our website address to dnnsoftware.com. We believe that this domain name is friendly to all members of our ecosystem. At the same time we have completely overhauled the website in terms of information architecture, content, and visual appearance. The website continues to be the hub of the DNN ecosystem and now offers a better experience for both open source community members as well as commercial prospects and customers.

A new product family brand name

As we focus on delivering highly valuable business solutions we felt that it was important to provide clear and distinct brand differentiation between them and our open source platform. As a result we are introducing a new product brand name of "Evoq" which will be used as a brand qualifier for the family of business solutions we offer commercially. The process to select a new commercial brand name was challenging, as we wanted to come up with a brand that was powerful and unique, as well as strongly aligned with our overarching brand essence of "Genuinely Empowering. 

Many names were considered and the word "Evoq" was eventually chosen based on the fact that it originates from the word "evoke", a verb that is used to describe an emotional response or to suggest a vivid impression of reality  through artistry and imagination. Initially, the Evoq family will include Evoq Content ( formerly Professional Edition ) and Evoq Social ( formerly DNN Social ) and we expect to add more members to this product family in the future. We will also continue to offer an "Enterprise" option for these commercial solutions for those customers who have more advanced business needs.

A new platform name

In conjunction with the introduction of "Evoq" we are taking the opportunity to rename the open source product from Community Edition to DNN Platform. We feel that DNN Platform better describes the open source nature of this product offering, the fact that it will continue to cater to a more technical audience, and that it is the foundation of all products we offer - including our commercial solutions. To emphasize the importance of the platform, we have included a dedicated top-level navigation item of “Platform” on our new website. This is just one minor example of how we intend to increase our engagement and collaboration with the DNN open source community going forward.

We realize that change can be difficult, so we have really tried hard to ensure that everyone feels included as part of this transformation process.  We hope that you are just as excited with these announcements as we are, and that we can spread our wings together as we explore new opportunities.

Reprinted with permission July 9, 2013.
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