The Army Knowledge Online (AKO) encompasses a web-based enterprise created by the U.S army, to accord the army, joint and DOD customers with such information services as directory, email, discovery, single sign-on functionality and portal on unclassified and classified networks. It is based on the BPM solution technology provided by Appian with the aim of easing knowledge sharing and management, information dissemination as well as reorganizing enterprise collaboration (Schwartz, 2006).
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It encompasses the world’s largest intranet, with a user base of up to two million. AKO provides access to the Army web services, tools and assets, regardless of the location of all members of the National Guard Reserves, select contract workforce, DA Civilian and Active Duty, as long as they possess an account. Essentially, it offers the army with a single entry point for accessing the internet and sharing information and knowledge.
AKO has augmented the efficiency and effectiveness of various business processes in the Army; hence, culminating in various positive impacts. The first positive impact encompasses allowing access to army civilian job vacancies. This enhances the easier and efficient recruitment of the best employees suited for army civilian jobs. The efficiency and effectiveness of the rehabilitation and diagnosis of the soldiers that have been wounded in the field have been augmented through the AKO application of Wounded Warrior (Rosenberg, 2006).
The learning programs that can be accessed through the AKO Training Function have enabled soldiers to earn promotion points and college credit points for augmenting their education outcomes. The provision of financial information to soldiers has been made efficient and effective through the AKO’s Finance function. Through the AKO’s Medical function, soldiers can easily access their medical records, past physical exams, deployment readiness status, and DNA. Essentially, soldiers can access various travel, legal, benefits, family and reference services, and products effectively and efficiently without incurring additional costs.
Due to its negative impacts, AKO has received various criticisms. It is said to be a poorly designed portal, as the search engine generates unpredictable and wild results. Essentially, such useful links as references and publications are either in existence or buried. Its multistep permissions system makes the collaborative tools to be cumbersome and very slow; hence, the receipt of information is slow (Gould, 2010).
Before adjustments can be made in AKO, many steps have to be taken. This is in contrast to such portals as SharePoint that allows the making of necessary adjustments in real-time. Though a secure password is essential, many soldiers complain because of the three security questions that have to be answered before logging in. Owing to the secure characteristic of AKO, a system outrage is a factor that does not affect the Army managers.
The major recommendations for improving AKO encompass providing Common Access Cards to Army Retirees and family members as this will augment their Logging in. The second recommendation encompasses opening the search engines to search for data from the internet rather than limiting it to searching data in the intranet. In this way, useful results and feedback will be provided to the users through the search engines (Gould, 2010). Under the final recommendation, more funding should be allocated to AKO, because most of the needed improvements have not been made due to the limited budget. With a favorable budget, all improvements can be done in real-time.
Gould, J. (2010, November 28). GIs, Officials Disagree on Effectiveness of AKO. Army News, pp. IA, 2A.
Rosenberg, M. J. (2006). Beyond e-learning: Approaches and technologies to enhance organizational knowledge, learning, and performance. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
Schwartz, D. G. (2006). Encyclopedia of knowledge management. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Reference.