Big Blue Contracts

I just saw this announcement that IBM is getting into contract management, at least on a rudimentary level. According the press release, "Contracts OnLine [IBM’s application] provides many advanced functions such as multi-party contract processing (for transactions involving one or more Business Partners, Client and IBM), multi-level document routing (between businesses and within a business), multi-level organizational hierarchy (inter- and intra-organizational structures), multi-tenancy (multiple hosting organizations in one instance), multi-level user access control levels, electronic signature, automatic watermarking, document control and management and business report creation. The application also leverages IBM's leading WebSphere Application Server and DB2 database software."

Now, don't think for a minute that IBM will approach an Emptoris-level of contract management sophistication with this offering, but still, the fact that they've commercialized an application solution is interesting to say the least. Might this just be teaser for IBM, as it considers entering the Spend Management applications world, or is it just a one-off effort? Only time will tell, but this certainly feels like a shift in strategy to me. In fact, the way they've worded the press release makes it sound like they're going to market like Oracle would -- marketing the stack, not just the capability.

Jason Busch

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