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

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3 Author(s)
Kwok, T. ; IBM Res. Div., Thomas J. Watson Res. Center, Hawthorne, NY ; Thao Nguyen ; Lam, L.

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 multi-tenants. 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 multi-tenancy 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, contra- - ctual 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.

Published in:

Services Computing, 2008. SCC '08. IEEE International Conference on  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

7-11 July 2008