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No one believes Patrick Grady at first. Why should they? He comes out of nowhere, radiating confidence, claiming his company, Rearden Commerce, has pulled off the IT coup of the new century. His triumph: a working b-to-b marketplace, fronted by an ultracustomizable application and based on SOA (service-oriented architecture). Delivered through the browser, Rearden's EBS (Employee Business Services) is capable of automating the purchase of many everyday services, including shipping, conferencing, meals, entertainment, and even travel.
Yet Rearden's lineup of corporate customers is enough to make a believer out of anyone. Officially launching today after five years in stealth mode, Rearden has already snagged Cingular, Genesys, JDS Uniphase, Motorola, Warner Music, and Whirlpool, all of which have signed up for enterprisewide deployments of EBS. This SaaS (software as a service) application goes where no enterprise software has gone before: to control spending on non-PO (purchase order) services, all according to identity-based business rules. Moreover, Rearden has partnered with Hewlett-Packard, which will resell EBS worldwide.
The roster of Rearden vice presidents and technical advisers is stunning. During the past year, senior executives from HP, Sabre, Salesforce.com, and Siebel have joined the company. Advisers include Jon Bosak, one of the creators of XML, and Adam Bosworth, vice president of engineering at Google and former chief architect of Microsoft .Net. "I think this is new," Bosworth tells InfoWorld. "I'm a fan."
How did Grady get such prestigious friends? After all, he's not the first to propose a platform for interenterprise Web services connections. What's special, in Bosworth's view, is that the company designed EBS from the top down, by creating a new class of a service-purchasing application first, and then building an identity-based Web services platform to support it. Essentially, EBS is a container of application services with no vanilla version. By default, customers use EBS' application framework to whip together -- without coding -- browser-based purchasing applications tailored to their company's business rules, processes, and employee roles.
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Grady claims companies can expect a 20 percent reduction in hard costs and much greater savings in process overhead. And because EBS is a multi-tenant SaaS application, every time a new service provider plugs in to Rearden's services grid, it becomes instantly available to all Rearden customers. Theoretically, the platform should be extensible to a vast array of services.