AIM: What is it all about?

AT THE centre of the dispute between the People's Action Party (PAP) and the Workers' Party (WP) is a company called Action Information Management (AIM).

Three of its directors are former PAP MPs.

The WP said AIM terminated its contract with Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC), which is why the council got a red grade for service and conservancy charge arrears.

The PAP said this is inaccurate and that "AHTC wrote in on June 10, 2011, to state that it wanted to develop its own system. Thereafter the contract was terminated with mutual agreement on Sept 9, 2011, after two extensions had been given... "

To help you understand the saga, The New Paper spoke to several experts to answer some questions. What is AIM's history?

The PAP Town Council Application Software was built for the PAP town councils by National Computer Systems (NCS).

It is unclear when the system was built, but in June 2010, the town councils sold the software to AIM for $140,000 through a tender process. AIM would also manage the system.

In an agreement which lasted till Oct 31 last year, the town councils then paid AIM $785 a month to lease the software. It is unclear how much the town councils are paying for the service now.

Is it unusual for the town councils to sell the system to AIM and then lease it back?

Those familiar with IT procurements said such arrangements are common in the private sector.

This works for companies that need software to meet specific needs, but do not have the resources or expertise to maintain it.

IT specialist Goh Kheng Wee of NexLabs, a company which specialises in customising software and IT solutions for businesses, said: "If a company were to hire a team of people just to built one system and work on it, the money spent for the salary of a team might not be justified.

"This is even more so if software development is not the company's core business.

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