Today the whole contract lifecycle in eBusiness is handled manually. Contracts are not only written and agreed upon by humans, they have to be manually translated into technical terms to become an electronic contract. More and more research activities in eBusiness focus on the usage of electronic contracts (in particular Service Level Agreements) and how they can be created and enforced autonomously. So far, proposed solutions were not taken up by business users because of low flexibility, poor usability and high maintenance costs. This paper presents a proposal how "traditional" approaches can be extended to a broker-based solution valuable to business users, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises. The focus is on one of the main phases in the SLA-lifecycle – the negotiation phase. The paper describes how SLA negotiation can be outsourced to third parties and what the benefits and difficulties of such an approach would be.
View full paper: echal06.pdf.