Rearden Launches Deem at Work Platform and Suite For SMB Spend Control and Savings (Part 1)

Earlier this summer, Rearden Commerce launched its Deem at Work platform, targeted toward the small and medium-sized business market. Chances are, most Spend Matters readers have not yet heard of Deem at Work. This is not surprising. Rearden's primary sales strategy for purchasing, travel management and expense management platforms and solutions is to sell the solution through channels in a private label manner. The unique component of what Rearden is up to goes beyond the SOA platform on which it is built. Rearden is also becoming a merchant aggregator and middleman, essentially serving as a GPO that presents negotiated pricing to users (more on this later).

In positioning Deem at Work, Rearden messages directly to company owners and CFOs/controllers, rather than procurement (which is either non-existent as a function or doesn't have the same clout inside smaller SMB organizations compared with larger organizations). To wit, Rearden uses the language "real-time information on spending for more efficient cash-flow management" as one of the value propositions. Yet "driving access to best in class pricing," is just as important.

Rearden has gone mobile with Deem. In fact, one of the defining elements of the cross-suite platform is the ability to manage much of the same activity on either a mobile device (e.g., iOS) or desktop, whether it involves modifying a trip itinerary or shopping for the best price on a given MRO item. Having worked with the Rearden mobile interface over the years back when it was only focused on travel and what the provider described as personal/concierge services, we can vouch for the ease of use and access to very detailed content regardless of the device. Extending its interface from travel and related areas to general indirect procurement is arguably a step backwards in complexity, yet it is most welcome and needed in this segment of the market, let alone the broader P2P sector where mobile interfaces and adoption are still generally wanting.

But as we mentioned earlier, perhaps the most critical differentiator for the Deem platform is that it was designed from the ground up to be licensed in a private label manner to various channel partners, which have the option of either a white-label solution or Deem at Work branded sites and interfaces. In contrast to the often confused Ketera strategy over the years (Rearden acquired Ketera in late 2010) and Rearden's diverse go-to-market efforts before, the strategy with Deem at Work seems to set in stone a new commitment from Rearden to build off of a common platform and sell through channels as a primary objective.

Many of Rearden's investors (including a number of the world's largest financial services institutions) have been users of the platform for some time in travel and related areas (the recent MasterCard announcement is another example of this). Hence it is reasonable to expect that the expanding footprint of Deem at Work will be put to work, so to speak, for these banks and financial services institutions by their ultimate clients – SMB users with banking, credit or other commercial banking relationships.

The Rearden/Deem value proposition is to deliver not only a procurement cockpit to drive standardization and compliance, but also aggressive pricing for businesses that do not have well-negotiated deals with providers for office supplies, industrial supplies and the like (not to mention travel and other areas Rearden has focused on in the past). With its current release, users cannot yet incorporate their own preferred pricing agreements into the platform, but this is coming down the pike. In the future, Deem's go-to-market partners that leverage the platform will also be able to incorporate specific vendor pricing and items, including custom specified preference for property rates and SKUs (e.g., hotels) and broader vendor discounts (e.g., industrial supplies).

What is it like to use Deem at Work in practice? We'll walk you through the solution and our critique in the Part 2 of this post.

- Jason Busch

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