Royal & Sun Alliance and Barclays latest to jump on e-procurement bandwagon



Keith Hassell

Two new business-to-business (B2B) Web sites, targeting the UK's 3.6 million small businesses, went live last week....



Keith Hassell

Two new business-to-business (B2B) Web sites, targeting the UK's 3.6 million small businesses, went live last week.

Insurance giant Royal & Sun Alliance has signed up with technology partner Biomni to launch Usecolour, an e-procurement and advice service for small businesses.

Hard on the heels of Usecolour, Barclays Bank and Freeserve launched their site - Clearly Business - but this launch was three months later than planned.

These two will be competing for market share with Work24, a joint venture between the Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish Power.

Royal & Sun Alliance is promising savings to business of up to 65% on essential office supplies if they buy through Usecolour.

Barclays promises to cut the time it takes to get a small business up-and-running by one third.

The SME online procurement and advice market is set to get even more crowded later this year.

The Institute of Directors recently launched iod.com, which it promises will be the "most comprehensive business portal in the UK" when it is fully operational in the autumn.

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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