IBM today announced new technologythat enables small and medium-sized businesses to execute and managecontracts entirely online, eliminating the need to work with paperdocuments. Developed by IBM Research, Contracts OnLine is a Web-hostedapplication that can reduce the time it takes to complete contracts fromdays to minutes, driving down processing costs and increasing productivitywith anytime, anywhere access to contracts.
Previously, contract execution required businesses to work with paperdocuments distributed by fax, e-mail or overnight service. This manualprocess is time-consuming and prone to human error, which can lead tomultiple review cycles and lost revenue when contracts take too long toexecute. Additionally, with paper contracts, there is no simple way totrack or make changes, check the status, or prevent unauthorized personsfrom viewing the content. The contract process can be particularlyburdensome for small and medium-sized businesses that typically don't haveaccess to extensive contract support staff.
Contracts OnLine addresses these issues by enabling authorized users tosecurely upload documents, review, make changes, approve, sign contracts,and track progress in real-time using a Web browser without additionalhardware and software installation. The online service automatically sendse-mails to the right people to notify them when contracts are available toreview and sign, delivers reminders for required actions and notifies allparties when a contract is about to expire. Users can also communicate,collaborate with other users, delegate tasks for contract approval andsignature, as well as search and retrieve contracts anytime, anywhere.
Highlighted Links Contracts OnLine
Contracts OnLine keeps track of who did what and when to improve businesscontrol and auditing and automatically applies a watermark with signernames and dates when the contract execution is completed. As a result,contracts are now easier to manage and can be executed faster to helpbusinesses capitalize on new opportunities.
"Businesses no longer need to fax documents back and forth or take chanceswith undelivered e-mail or overnight services to complete a contract," saidCathy Lasser, vice president, industry solutions and emerging technology,IBM Research. "Executing a standard two-party contract used to mean sendingmultiple e-mails and faxing copies for two or more days. Contracts OnLinecan reduce this process to 15 minutes by totally eliminating hardcopies andmoving it to the Web where all parties can manage and complete a contractin real-time."
Contracts OnLine provides many advanced functions such as multi-partycontract processing (for transactions involving one or more BusinessPartners, Client and IBM), multi-level document routing (between businessesand within a business), multi-level organizational hierarchy (inter- andintra-organizational structures), multi-tenancy (multiple hostingorganizations in one instance), multi-level user access control levels,electronic signature, automatic watermarking, document control andmanagement and business report creation. The application also leveragesIBM's leading WebSphere Application Server and DB2 database software.
Contracts OnLine Now Available to IBM Business Partners and Clients
Contracts OnLine is now available for all US-based IBM Business Partners tohelp them conduct IBM-related business. US-based clients doing businesswith IBM, including lease or loan contracts from IBM Credit LLC, can alsotake advantage of this free service to speed up delivery of new IBMproducts and services. IBM will expand this service to Business Partnersand clients outside the US next year.
"Contracts OnLine makes managing contracts with our clients much easier bytracking documents throughout the entire process," said Steve Crawford,manager of hardware technology and services, Jack Henry & Associates. "Ican see in real-time where a contract stands and take the necessary actionto close business the same day. Only IBM could develop this kind ofservice that makes contract processing hassles a thing of the past."
IBM Business Partners and clients learn more about Contracts OnLine athttps://odecs.haw.ibm.com/contract/index.html
For more information about IBM, please visit www.ibm.com.
Sean TetponIBM Research Media Relations(914) firstname.lastname@example.org