Westpac has linked up with US e-business provider Intelisys Electronic Commerce, to develop and operate e-procurement and marketplace services both here and in Australia.
A new company, Intelisys Australia, will run the service. It is 49% owned by Westpac, which has invested $A45 million for its share.
The service, which will be operating by the end of the year, will allow businesses to communicate and trade in a secure, paper-free environment via open exchange marketplaces.
Users of its marketplace will be able to interact with other network systems, giving users access to a variety of e-commerce trading mechanisms.
Westpac online services general manager Phil Doak says the move "sets the scene for the development of online trading communities and a marketplace in which the wider business community can participate in".
Intelisys' first task will be to enable Westpac to trade over the Net with its own suppliers - using Intelisys Connect Trade Purchasing.
Westpac says, depending on the industry, e-procurement offers cost savings of up to 30%, primarily derived from aggregate buying power, more aggressive sourcing and streamlined purchasing and accounting.
Within six months, Westpac aims to trade electronically across eight major requisition categories. This will be progressively extended to capture all the goods and services the organisation requires, in parallel with a rationalisation of the approximately 17,000 supplier base.
Intelisys already provides e-procurement solutions to major US and Australian corporates. The company anticipates its e-marketplaces will serve more than four million businesses and 30 million end users this year.
By the end of 2000, Westpac will also offer purchase to payment e-procurement solutions for corporate customers as well as launch a trading community for SMEs.