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Electronic contract systems deal with the lifecycle automation and management of contract documents from their establishment to expiry. Many existing contract systems are built as monolithic, vertical stand-alone applications that are inflexible and difficult to scale and interoperate with other enterprise systems. This paper proposes a service-oriented electronic contract system that leverages a number of common middleware services to provide an open, extensible and interoperable solution. The basic common services include the content repository services, the workflow and document routing services, the security services, and the notification services. A standard data model is defined to specify the metadata properties for managing, tracking and storage of contract documents in a central repository. Integration services are also introduced to enable the system to collaborate and share contract data with external applications such as contract authoring and fulfillment tracking tools. The implementation of an enterprise multi-party electronic contract system using standard commercial middleware components will be presented to illustrate the simplicity, reusability, interoperability and flexibility of this service- based approach.
Date of Conference: 9-13 July 2007