It was originally created to process change requests more efficiently and was launched July 21, 2011 by ICANN, Verisign, and NTIA.  Automating the previously manual process provided the additional benefits of allowing more transparency and decreasing processing time. 
New gTLD system
In the new gTLD application process, once an applicant has received their delegation token from IANA, the applicant can enter it on IANA's Delegate a New Generic Top-Level Domain page in order to assume "operational responsibility" of the new gTLD . According to a statement by ICANN, Verisign, and NTIA, RZM can process "at least 100 new gTLDs per week."  However, there was some apprehension that Verisign would not delegate new gTLDs due to stability concerns.  This statement has been largely debunked. Despite Verisign's ongoing concerns over stability, it has been delegating new gTLDs. 
- IANA's Delegating a generic top-level domain page provides instructions for new gTLD delegation.
- See New TLD contracting for more information on the new gTLD registration process.
- http://blog.icann.org/2012/08/rzm-is-one-year-old/ Sokolova, Nadia. RZM Is 1 Year Old.
- http://domainincite.com/10961-icann-verisign-and-ntia-ready-for-100-new-gtlds-per-week Murphy, Kevin. ICANN, Verisign, and NTIA 'Ready for 100 new gTLDs Per Week'
- http://domainincite.com/13979-ntia-alarmed-as-verisign-hints-that-it-will-not-delegate-new-gtlds Murphy, Kevin. NTIA Alarmed as Verisign Hints that It Will Not Delegate New gTLDs
- http://domainincite.com/15274-german-geo-ruhr-enters-the-root Murphy, Kevin. German Geo Ruhr Enters the Root, 11 Dec. 2013
- http://blogs.verisigninc.com/blog/entry/verisign_delegates_four_new_gtlds Kane, Pat. Verisign Delegates Four New gTLDs to the Root Zone, 23 Oct. 2013