A Software as a Service with Multi-tenancy Support for an Electronic Contract Management Application

In most commercial electronic contract management applications available today, different customized code base has to be developed, deployed and operated to support each tenant. Few advanced commercial electronic contract management applications use a single code base with configuration options to support multitenants. However, a separate instance of the code base still has to be deployed and operated for each tenant even in these applications. The business model of having to support a single application instance for each tenant makes an electronic contract management application and other critical business applications out of reach for most small and medium businesses (SMBs), in particular, the very small businesses (SVBs) because of its high development and maintenance cost. Recently, a new business model of a single application instance supporting multi-tenancy based on Software as a Service (SaaS) has emerged making expensive business applications more affordable for SMBs and SVBs for multi-tenancy [1].

In this paper, we present the first of a kind multitenancy SaaS electronic contract management application. We also describe several novel methods used in the metadata, security and shared services, as well as customization and tenant extensions modules to support multi-tenancy SaaS in this application. This multi-tenancy SaaS application has shown to benefit both the application service providers as well as their tenants. This new multi-tenancy SaaS model can reduce the application hosting cost and make the application more affordable to the tenants because of its capabilities in customization and scalability while continuing to support an increasing number of tenants. It furthers benefits tenants by saving their money and time with immediate access to the latest IT innovations and infrastructure improvements on a single application code base. Most end users of tenants have found their productivities increased, the contract transaction time accelerated, contractual errors reduced in using this multi-tenancy SaaS electronic contract management application as demonstrated in several ongoing IBM pilot programs serving more than ten tenants with over 3000 end users.

Copyright © (2008) by IEEE. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.

By: Thomas Y. Kwok; Thao Nguyen; Linh Lam

Published in: Proceedings of the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Service Computing, , IEEE. , vol.2, p.179-86 in 2008


This Research Report is available. This report has been submitted for publication outside of IBM and will probably be copyrighted if accepted for publication. It has been issued as a Research Report for early dissemination of its contents. In view of the transfer of copyright to the outside publisher, its distribution outside of IBM prior to publication should be limited to peer communications and specific requests. After outside publication, requests should be filled only by reprints or legally obtained copies of the article (e.g., payment of royalties). I have read and understand this notice and am a member of the scientific community outside or inside of IBM seeking a single copy only.


Questions about this service can be mailed to reports@us.ibm.com .