To pull this off, Rearden Chief Architect Satnam Alag created an XML schema for services to provide a common denominator for service providers as well as the service components inside the application framework. To coordinate those components, Alag also created SBL (Services Business Language) -- a homegrown version of BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) -- to support event-driven composite applications. All that tough development work was necessary for Rearden to create EBS' console, which is one of the first graphical, nontechnical development tools for building useful composite enterprise applications.
Add it all up and you have a new type of user-centric application for delivering services, big corporate customers ponying up user identities, an SOA application framework tuned for services delivery, and dozens of service providers -- from Airborne to Zagat -- already plugged in to the grid.
Still, any new application category is risky business. Grady could fail to meet his stated goal of achieving the network effect this year -- where EBS has so many users it becomes irresistible to service vendors -- or there could be a backlash among business users who balk at having their expenses so closely monitored and controlled. But if successful, Rearden's platform and EBS application will deliver tremendous value to the enterprise and maybe just provide a blueprint for the future of Web services and SOA.
In this article, the Warner division cited as a Rearden Commerce customer was originally incorrect. Also, based on information supplied to us by Rearden Commerce, we originally referred to a distribution deal between that company and American Express. In fact, that deal never materialized. The error has been corrected.