31 May 2002 | Robin Parker
Barclays Bank has blamed a "disappointingly slow" e-procurement market for the collapse of its e-business services arm as a separate unit.
The international bank wound up the BarclaysB2B division, set up two years ago to help businesses automate the purchase-to-pay cycle, earlier this week.
The division, co-founded by Accenture and Oracle, provided a full e-procurement system including e-tendering packages and private trading network capabilities and associated consultancy.
Barclays has ceased to offer the service to new customers, as it is focusing on reducing its own supply-base costs.
It aims to develop an internal sourcing centre of excellence, building on the consultancy work that BarclaysB2B has conducted on behalf of its clients.
The unit will continue to provide services to its current roster of 50 customers until the end of September, when Accenture will take over the management of all current and future clients.
A spokesman said the division had been unprepared for the caution exercised by many businesses over e-commerce.
"The marketplace for e-procurement has been disappointingly slow since we set up," he said.
"At large organisations there's been a long lag-time between initial interest and moving into a position to set up pilots, even after spending large amounts of time with customers, training suppliers and users to understand the technology."
The spokesman said the centre of excellence, in which Barclays aims to retain many of the procurement specialists employed as consultants at the unit, will allow the bank to transfer this area of expertise to the internal supply chain.
"By looking to find ways of sourcing better and reducing costs, we want to demonstrate that we can get our house in order - if we can't do this ourselves, we can't expect other businesses to learn from us," the spokesman said.