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Feature focus: AIMS Contacts and Flexbase

AIMS contacts are organisations or individuals that are stored on the system. Using the Flexbase tool in AIMS, users can create their own unique fields to capture the data about contacts which may be unique to their own organisation’s needs. The system treats its contact organisations and individuals in much the same way, which means that awards can be made to both individuals and organisations.

AIMS has a sophisticated contacts repository that enables multi-region enterprises to centrally manage and control contact details.  It is possible to view historic and current applications for each contact across all grant schemes within the organisation. Mailing lists can be set up by region and configured to support the General Data Protection Regulations or other localised special needs formats. 

Relationships between parties – individuals and organisations – can be established by creating links. This allows individuals to be linked to an organisation, or an organisation to be linked to another organisation. The system has the facility to record complex many-to-many relationships between individuals and organisations, making potential conflict of interests easier to detect.

There are two types of links:

  1. Member links are those in respect of Individuals, where individuals are members of organisations
  2. Child organisation link are those in respect of organisations, where an organisation can be a child of another organisation – like a member link – but these are referred to as a ‘Child Organisations’.

These ‘member’ and ‘child’ links can be formal links or simply an indication of a loose association. An organisation may have one or more linked Members; may also have one or more Child Organisations; and may also itself be a Child Organisation in relation to another Organisation. An individual may be a member within more than one organisation.

Relationship management

The relationship management module grants the ability for internal users to maintain large volumes of relationships between contacts and applications. It is also useful for storing and maintaining large groups of contacts which can then be accessed at any time.

Panels or groups of contacts can be created and maintained within the module. A panel of reviewers is an example of a type of panel that can be created. Contacts are then assigned to a panel. Contacts can be filtered by their area of expertise, their reliability rating, and the number of panels the contact is already assigned to.

When an application is at a workflow stage at which contacts need to be assigned, e.g. a review stage, an internal user can use the relationship management module to select a group of contacts to be assigned as reviewers to a particular application. This can also be done in reverse order where a group of applications can be selected and assigned to a particular reviewer contact. The contacts and applications are selected and assigned with drag and drop functionality which provides a user-friendly experience and helps to manage large volumes of relationships being assigned.

Once the appropriate contacts are assigned, the module can automatically start workflow processes for the contacts that have been assigned. This is extremely useful for something like a review process, where each reviewer would be assigned a task to perform their review.

The module can send out invitation emails to contacts asking if they agree to take part in a particular panel. The contacts click on a link in the email they receive and click a button to accept or decline the invitation.

Internal administrators can rate contacts based on their previous performance. This can help ensure that the best quality reviewers are used to review applications in future. The module can also be used for ad-hoc purposes, like linking new contacts to applications when people have left an organisation during the life cycle of an application.

Data protection

Applicants and other external users can manage their personal data in keeping with common data protection regulations (GDPR, AVG).  New fields added to the system, during the implementation period or later, can be designated as personal data fields and the data held can then be managed according to relevant data protection regulations – view, amend, export, request to be forgotten.

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