Army tests portal additions

On July 30, the Army started letting users of Army Knowledge Online (AKO) try new information technology capabilities coming to the Web portal, according to service and industry officials.

The user acceptance test will last three weeks and give subscribers an opportunity to sample and comment on new collaboration and community-building features coming in AKO Version 3. It represents the first significant software update to the portal since its inception in 2001, said Col. Tim Fong, director of the Army's Chief Technology Office in the service's Office of the Chief Information Officer/G-6. Fong's office oversees operation of the portal.

The new version consists of enhancements that make it easier for users to navigate, chat, instant message and manage documents on the portal. It will also let Army communities, such as the armor, chaplain and inspector general, create a mini-portal and manage and update information there, said Michael Beckley, vice president of product strategy at Appian Corp. in Vienna, Va. The new portal version operates on the company's Enterprise Version 3 product.

As of Tuesday, Fong said 8,000 AKO users participated in the acceptance test. Beckley said about 1.7 million people hold AKO accounts, with 250,000 using the portal every day.

The Army will end the test on Aug. 18. The service will start using Version 3 that day and will complete product installation by the end of the month, said Lt. Col. Kenneth Blakely, chief of AKO.

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