Rearden Commerce, another vendor on the short list of those I've been pulling for since I first heard their story and looked at the application, is continuing to push forward despite what feels like a near-continuous marketing/product strategy shake-up. Ammiel Kamon, who formally successfully led product management and marketing for Emptoris, lasted just over two quarters at Rearden before leaving to pursue another opportunity in July. Ammiel is yet another highly qualified marketing executive that has chosen not to stay the course at Rearden, a company whose management has a reputation for strongly polarizing team members -- and former team members -- into "for" and "against" camps. But what else is happening at Rearden these days?
Supply and Demand Chain Executive recently covered the news that Rearden partnered with StarCite to add Meetings Management to its services platform. And from what I hear, their acquired T&E product continues to be well received by those who see it. But regarding this particular product, Rearden appears to be broadening the types of categories that it can help companies manage rather than adding overall breadth of capability and functionality. SDCEXEC notes that "directly from the Rearden Personal Assistant, customers will be able to access StarCite to plan, source and book with its small meetings solution. In addition, customers will have access to the StarCite Marketplace, which links meetings buyers with more than 93,000 hotels, venues and meetings suppliers worldwide."
For anyone involved in the meetings or hotel businesses, we all know the complexity and rather nebulous compensation structure involved in bookings and the multiple middlemen who skim off the top. No doubt, this particular deal will create additional revenue streams accrued from resultant bookings, rather than just its usage. But even if this additional relationship pays off, it still feels to me that Rearden has not yet achieved the herculean goals that Patrick Grady set out to achieve (and memorialized by changing the name of the company to "Rearden" for all you Ayn Rand fans).
What will it take to get there? I'd argue that Rearden is simply not known or endorsed by enough procurement organizations, groups that are increasingly taking on responsibility for pulling travel spend inline. And that's a shame because what Rearden has to offer clearly benefits not only companies looking to drive compliance and savings in challenging personal services categories, but also the actual users themselves -- the vast majority of whom quickly become fans of the tool.
- Jason Busch