RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — IBM is rolling out a web-based application service for the execution and management of contracts online rather than through traditional paper means.

The service, Contracts Online, is focused on small- and medium-sized businesses. It is designed to save time, reduce processing costs and improve productivity since those involved in the contract have online access to the necessary documents.

Businesses can also review changes online, check contract status and improve security over documents. Changes are tracked and “watermarked”, IBM said.

“Businesses no longer need to fax documents back and forth or take chances with undelivered e-mail or overnight services to complete a contract,” said Cathy Lasser, vice president, industry solutions and emerging technology at IBM Research. “Executing a standard two-party contract used to mean sending multiple e-mails and faxing copies for two or more days. Contracts OnLine can reduce this process to 15 minutes by totally eliminating hardcopies and moving it to the Web where all parties can manage and complete a contract in real-time.”

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