In this article, I am going to start coverage on a very interesting company called Rearden Commerce, which touches upon many of the concepts we’ve discussed in the 3 pieces referred above. (I recommend you read the framework pieces first, before reading the rest of this story.)
Rearden is a services marketplace that consolidates various service providers (Travel, Dining, Conferencing, Shipping, etc.), and offers it to the employees of an Enterprise.
Let me explain this to you by using a scenario.
Let’s say, I am an employee of Pfizer, and Pfizer is a client of Rearden (which it is). Rearden has a network of 135,000 service providers, with many of whom, they have already negotiated preferred rates. In some cases, Pfizer has negotiated preferred rates, and the Rearden system can be configured to use those rates as well.
I am planning to go to a conference next month in New York. [Context]
I start my travel planning – airline, hotels, limo to/from JFK. I also plan where all I want to eat, what shows I want to see, etc. When I log into the Rearden “Personal Concierge” system, it knows my profile, and the human resource policies of Pfizer in terms of my priveleges (e.g. I am not allowed to travel First or Business Class).
The company has certain negotiated preferred rates with 5 mid-town hotels. If I need to ship packages during my trip, I have to use Fedex, and the preferred rates are in the system. I have to also make arrangements for 3 online meetings while I am there, and Pfizer has preferred rates set up with Webex. [Policy Propagation]
My “Personal Concierge” also knows that I like Jazz and Blues, and recommends clubs where I can go to listen to my favorite bands. [Personalization]
It also gives me restaurant reviews from Zagat in the neighborhood where I will be, and consistent with my food preferences. It provides relevant Google Maps. Rewards Network discount coupons. [Content]
All this is powered by a SaaS platform from Rearden Commerce, architected with the philosophy of User-Centric Computing. It provides Identity-based, User-centric personalization.
It uses native web services and a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), and provides a mashed up user experience that is extremely CONTEXTUAL.
If you recollect the Web 3.0 model, Rearden already has an excellent Context, Personalization, Commerce, and Content integration. I haven’t checked their Vertical Search capabilities yet, but it should be a natural extension of their offering.
What it lacks, however, is Community. I would like to also coordinate plans with my cousin in Manhattan, and a couple of friends, as well as meet some Swing dancers, so that we can all go dancing together. All this should automatically get logged into my calendar, my PDA, etc.
Now, if you recollect the Enterprise 3.0 model, Rearden certainly hits the spot on both SaaS and the Extended Enterprise trends.
Finally, in the Sea Change piece, I discussed the possibilities for B->B->C Contextual Advertising. Rearden Commerce is well-positioned to draw upon its platform, and extend it to include an Advertising Management System.
Bottomline, I really like what I see in this company, and it has a lot of possibilities. It also aligns with the still fairly open opportunity of leveraging the SME markets, and pulling them into relevant consolidated marketplaces. By providing, say, restaurants, a consolidated contextual market channel through Rearden, it can also start tapping into the marketing budgets of these restaurants.
We will discuss Rearden some more, meanwhile, you can see why Context is a really powerful organizing principle!