Epic Cycle Preps Argus 3.0 Content Management Platform

The company's latest Web content management platform, to be released soon, supports e-commerce sites.

The surfers whose exploits are captured in photos on the Mavericks Surf Ventures Web site may not have heard of Epic Cycle Interactive, but they have seen the companys handiwork every time they visited the site in the past six months.

Epic Cycle provides software that allows organizations to manage Web-based content and provides a data management framework for e-commerce. With its Argus platforms, Epic Cycle has sought to carve out a larger piece of the Web content management pie—work it plans to continue with the upcoming release of Argus 3.0.

"At the end of the day, that [Web site] becomes the single communication destination point for that broad fan community," said James Fitzgerald, CEO of Epic Cycle, in San Diego.

Epic Cycle offers an on-demand subscription service that consists of a flat fee and a usage fee per transaction. All in ASP.Net 2.0, Argus 3.0 includes enhanced security and gives clients greater flexibility to make changes and leverage local design resources to create content. Though some customers are using beta versions of the platform now, the official launch is planned for sometime in the next six weeks, the company said.

Mavericks Surf Ventures is a partnership between the San Francisco-based sports management and marketing firm Evolve Sports, and big-wave surfing pioneer Jeff Clark. Mavericks sells brand name apparel and organizes the Mavericks Surf Contest, which pits contestants against frigid water and waves as high as 40 feet.

Keir Beadling, co-founder and managing partner of Mavericks, said the company began working with Epic Cycle about six months ago. The relationship with Epic Cycle capped a three-month search for a new WCM provider after the company Mavericks had worked with before failed to meet Mavericks needs as the company sought to grow, Beadling said.

"The Web site infrastructure was just nowhere near where we needed," he said. "We needed a much more robust e-commerce experience."

Epic Cycle designed and also hosts Mavericks site, and visitors can purchase Mavericks clothes online. In addition, before and during the competitions—which are scheduled with just 24 hours notice to contestants because of surf conditions—participants and fans can stay abreast of news and wave conditions via the Mavericks Web site. There, users can view real-time weather and surf reports from the Mavericks Web cam, signup for contest alerts by e-mail or mobile phone, and register for a live Webcast of the event, sponsored by CBS SportsLine.

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Epic Cycles client list features a number of sports franchises, including National Football League teams such as the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins. Though Epic has traditionally had a sports-centered client base, Fitzgerald said the company wants to leverage its content management solutions in other arenas, such as assisting managers or human resource officials to give presentations for corporate training seminars.

Forrester Research Analyst Kyle McNabb predicts that 2007 will be a strong year for WCM providers such as Epic Cycle.

"Last year saw smaller vendors, such as Ektron, RedDot, FatWire and Tridion benefit from renewed interest in WCM," McNabb said. "This year should see larger vendors such as Interwoven and Vignette benefit from greater enterprise demand. WCM-as-a -ervice vendors saw increased demand as well, and with the increasing need to provide strong customer experiences, those service providers that help an organization not just manage their content but put it to use have an opportunity to grow."

In addition, many SMBs (small and midsize businesses) are looking to outsiders to manage their Web content, McNabb said.

"Most users of WCM as a service tend to be smaller organizations that dont have the technical expertise to manage their Web sites," he said. "They lack the IT resources to set up, administer, configure and support a Web content management system and the published sites."

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