Barclays gets e-business makeover

Mike Simons

Barclays Bank is set to announce a wide-ranging e-commerce strategy that will target its richest and most profitable...

Mike Simons

Barclays Bank is set to announce a wide-ranging e-commerce strategy that will target its richest and most profitable customers.

The strategy, which involves a technology partnership with Oracle, is likely to be unveiled when Barclays announces its annual results on 15 February. It is expected to offer business-to-business e-commerce products to its small and medium-sized enterprise banking customers.

The bank is also planning to create specific Internet sites which will draw together different parts of its business for its high income clients. The aim is to cross sell stockbroking, credit card and account services and let clients view all their financial transactions and savings details from a single site.

The Barclays SME system is expected to be based on the Oracle Exchange technology announced last autumn, which is currently being implemented by Ford.

Ford is creating a business to business portal, AutoXchange, to offer an integrated supply chain for the car giant's $80bn (£50bn) annual spend with its 30,000-plus suppliers. The system is expected to produce 20% savings on procurement and inventory, and will be funded by taking a small commission on millions of transactions.

Barclays hopes to offer the same commercial advantages to existing business customers and also use the strategy to attract new clients.

A bank spokesman said, "Barclays has not confirmed any potential partners or suppliers in connection with e-commerce for its corporate customers.

"However, e-commerce is an area that Barclays already has a commitment to and it is currently investigating opportunities for its corporate customers to facilitate business between themselves and their suppliers online."

Carsten Schmidt, Internet commerce associate analyst at Forrester Group, told Computer Weekly that the strategy contained significant risks. "Ford will get its suppliers onto the network and then open up the exchange," he said. "Barclays has to attract numbers to make it work.

"There is a danger of financial institutions moving away from their core strengths and creating market places for products they don't own."

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