£400m of Barclays managed spend was sourced using online sourcing technology.

Online sourcing means the sourcing of goods and services using specialist electronic tools. It is also known as eSourcing and eRFx’s (eRFI, eRFP, eRFQ or eAuction).

Barclays Group launched its online sourcing programme, being one of the first financial institutions to embrace the emerging technology to assist them in the sourcing process. Initial efforts were focused on commodities where online price negotiations could be conducted.

The belief that electronic sourcing could save Barclays money, time and paper has proved true. It has not however, been wthout challenges. 

By putting their toe in the water, Barclays tested the new technology and realised immediate benefits. A total of £400m of goods and services were procured using on-line sourcing technology. 80% of events were eRFPs with only 20% being eAuctions – a move away from the original strategy.


Barclays engaged State of Flux to manage their online sourcing events, who provided a bespoke service. The partnership overcame the challenges faced in increasing the adoption of the online tool within the sourcing community.

At Barclays, the tailored approach was a critical success factor. The team provided the core service including event programming and management, supplemented with eRFP content advice, development of supplier communication plans, internal stakeholder management meetings and eSourcing workshops. Additionally State of Flux leveraged its capabilities within their research services department and provided marketplace knowledge further facilitating the success of sourcing projects.


“The online tool is part of the sourcing process – it does not replace the sourcing process.”

Overcoming this perception of online sourcing was the first challenge the Barclays team needed to overcome.  

The team engaged champions – sourcing managers tasked with promoting internally the use of the technology – by providing support in delivering the key messages and benefit statements.

The key in promoting the programme, successfully reigniting the initiative. Online sourcing needed to be the rule, not the exception, and through a series of workshops around the country the team were engaged with the sourcing community, re-introducing the online process, its benefits and the capabilities of the online tool. 

A communications plan assisted in supporting the programme. Workshops, articles of recent event successes and drop cards were used to increase awareness of the process and benefits. Stakeholders attended briefing sessions, where the key output was to help them understand the changes to the sourcing process.

Repeat success

Online sourcing delivered a transparent, auditable sourcing process that became consistent in its methodology. Barclays was able to leverage the use of templates and the careful definition of eRFx content to assist them in building their eRFx’s. The sourcing time was reduced by 35% and scoring of supplier responses was reduced to one day! – a key win for the sourcing managers.

Barclays moved away from the traditional commodity focus and have adopted online sourcing across a diverse range of categories including: desktop services and hardware, penetration testing, work area recovery sites and payments screening services.

The online tools reduced the time taken to manage sourcing projects. Utilising the automatic scoring capabilities provided instant early stage snapshot of supplier positions and proved a big hit with internal stakeholders. 

“Internal stakeholders viewed the process very positively; they would certainly use eRFx tools again. In any RFP you need to carefully consider each question to ensure that the responses generated can really allow the assessment and differentiation of supplier responses. The eRFx tool can control the nature of supplier responses in a number of ways and this flexibility increases focus on the need to produce high quality questions – ultimately helping the team in the assessment phase.” Andy McWilliams, Barclays Group Sourcing.

The consistent approach ensured that the programme delivered repeated successes. 


The success of the online sourcing programme has led Barclays to explore how online sourcing can be implemented direct to the business for low cost / low risk sourcing projects.  
Barclays Group Sourcing now view online sourcing as the norm, instead of challenging the use of it.