B2B: Banking on Barclays

Alison Hutchinson, newly-appointed CEO of Barclays B2B.com, talks to David Bicknell

Alison Hutchinson, newly-appointed CEO of Barclays B2B.com, talks to David Bicknell

How did you come to get the job?

The call came out of the blue one weekend, and caught my imagination. I'd been 14 years at IBM and had great opportunities there, but this one really appealed to me.

What was it about Barclays B2B.com that appealed?

Well, this is not about dotcoms, this is about dotcorps, providing a range of Internet-based services to UK businesses. We believe businesses with, say an annual turnover of £50m could save up to 5%-10% of their non-production-related spend. Barclays B2B.com is well positioned to be the leading provider of Net business services, not only for UK corporates but also on an international scale.

What else excites you about this e-business revolution for banking?

Although Wap (wireless application protocol) has not had a good reputation recently, I think the whole mobile commerce area is going to be very important. Business to employee (B2E) is also going to be a key area. That offers the prospect of using mobile technology to give key data to enable staff to clinch a deal.

In a past life, you used to have an interest in dancing, and ran a business based around that. What qualities would you say you will bring to this job?

It's all about people, and getting the best out of them. I'm very enthusiastic, and committed, but I also want everyone to have a good time and have a lot of fun.

You have only just started your role. What will be our first priorities?

Apart from getting my staff focused and working as a team, I expect to be spending much of my first month sitting down with some of our early pilot customers. I'll be doing a lot of listening and learning.

Banks' online security in general has taken a hammering recently. Are you confident the services you offer will be secure?

Yes, security is a top priority for anyone using the Net for business services. At Barclays B2B.com we have minimised any risk to our customers by using state-of-the-art security and trust solutions from world-class providers.

How far do you think Barclays B2B.com can go under your leadership?

Barclays is well established in the new economy as the world's fifth largest Internet bank. I look forward to establishing Barclays B2B.com as the leading provider of Internet business services.

Can you sum up the services of Barclays B2B.com to users?

Today, buyers using the Barclays B2B.com e-procurement service will benefit from lower processing costs, increased management information, and better prices. Suppliers will benefit from access to new customers without the usual customer recruitment costs and will improve operational efficiency through the aggregation of orders. In addition to the cost savings that virtual catalogues allow, we believe a supplier might look to increase its customer base by a factor of two or three through the use of its electronic trading network. We are already integrating e-settlement as another value-added service.

CV - Alison Hutchinson

1993-96: Global executive, Smart Card Solutions, IBM

1996-98: Acting CEO of European E-commerce Venture

1999-00: Global director On-Line Financial Services, IBM

2000: CEO, Barclays B2B.com

Hutchinson's Top five web sites






Hutchinson's critical issues for B2B e-commerce

  • Delivering the promise, not just talking the story

  • Creating a superior customer experience

  • Establishing an infrastructure that will grow with ease

  • Attracting world-class partners

  • Read more on E-commerce technology