Barclays Bank has quietly pulled the plug on its business to business e-commerce venture BarclaysB2B after failing to demonstrate adequate returns for its ongoing investment.
Barclays, which made an initial investment of £30 million to open the portal in December 2000, has shut down the business to new customers and handed over existing clients to joint venture partner Accenture.
Sixty-six full time BarclaysB2B employees and a "small number" of contracted staff are affected by the closure. A Barclays' spokesman says the bank will aim to "mitigate redundancies where possible" by redeploying staff elsewhere within the group. He says new postings will be sought for top management, including Alison Hutchinson, the 32-year old former IBM executive who was recruited to head up the venture.
BarclaysB2B was initially established to provide e-procurement services to companies with a turnover of £5 million to £250 million, but has since moved up the value chain to develop e-tendering services for larger blue chips and private trading networks. It currently claims to be offering services to some 50 companies each with a turnover of above £100 million.
Instigating change in corporate supply chains has proved harder than expected however. The Barclays spokesman says the bank has been disappointed at the speed of take-up and degree of hand-holding required to alter the ingrained procurement culture at larger corporates.