Is AKO looking for love?


Folks who log onto the beleaguered Army intranet AKO recently would have spotted a chart that details its number of employees, less than a brigade and far less than Google. What’s unspoken is, “We know you’re dissatisfied, but we’re doing the best we can with what little we have.” (Thanks to blogger Army Girl, Army Wife, for posting the chart.)

If nothing else, AKO has an image problem. Folks love to hate on AKO’s unwieldy security procedures, its clunky search engine and its speed, or lack thereof.

In next week’s Army Times, we’re carrying an article that takes a peek at AKO’s apparent effort to address that problem. You may have have seen their poll, asking if our “AKO Sucks” story last year was on track or you may have seen its feature, “Tell Capt. AKO,” which aims to turn user feedback into service improvements.

Why is AKO taking this on now? The answer might be that AKO is fighting for its life. Army email services are migrating to what’s called “the cloud,” which are really servers owned by the Defense Information Systems Agency. If that happens, what will be left for AKO to manage? Is it too little too, too late? Does anybody find this attention weird?

Army Girl, Army Wife seems to find the whole thing pathetic. “Do they want our pity?” she asks. “Thanks for giving me something amusing to talk about with my buddies at work but at the end of the day I really don’t care about your useless stats.”

We want to know: Is there anything AKO can do to win your love?


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  1. Favoritesun on

    AKO: 350,000 daily users divided by 206 employees = 1715.7 users per employee.

    FB: 250,000,000 daily users divided by 1300 employees = 192,307.7 users per employee.

    Spend less time whining, AKO, and more time working. Seems to me like each Facebook employee has 190,592 more daily users to worry about than you do.

  2. Not to mention Gary Winkler, the head of AKO for the Army said in a previous Army Times article (in response to the criticism of its ineffectiveness) “I’ve been on it exclusively at work, for everything I do, since March, and I’m moving my whole organization of 20,000 people to it.”

    So is it 20,000 employess with an annual budget of $67 million or 206 employees?

  3. By the way, the math on his whole organization of 20,000 divided by 350,000 users (which is probably more accurate because, for instance, the FB employee numbers above includes janitors, secretaries, etc.) comes out to 17.5 users per employee.

  4. @Favoritesun
    Admittedly there was some mixing of apples and oranges there. Gary Winkler is now the former program executive officer of Enterpise Information Systems, the umbrella organization for AKO and several other programs. I’m sure he was talking about PEO EIS when he used that number. As the author of both that story and this post, I felt I should clear that up. Apologies for the confusion.

  5. Favoritesun on

    Thank you for the clarification. However, the point remains the same. Not every employee at Facebook works directly on the actual application that is Facebook. Perhaps a better comparison would be Craigslist, which has only 32 employees, but a monthly average unique users of 49,400,000, or (averaged over a 30 day month) is 1,646,667 unique users per day.

    The larger point though, is that instead of making lame excuses and posting mis-leading statistics, they should drop the emotional attachment and admit that the system is awful. Nobody is claiming that the people there aren’t working hard, or don’t have good intentions. But that doesn’t mean that the end users’ frustrations are unfounded. AKO is horrible, plain and simple.

    Here’s an example of a very unscientific experiment I did today:
    On the same Army computer and same Army network, within the same 1 minute timeframe:

    I first used the AKO search bar to find “ar 670-1.” It took 11 seconds (again on my work computer/network; timed using the skillcraft clock on the wall) for AKO to give me 9 links. Not one of those links was to AR 670-1.

    I then searched Google for “ar 670-1.” Before I could finish typing the entire “ar 670-1,” it gave me a full page of links, the very top being a link to a .PDF version of the AR.

    Just to recap, I hadn’t even finished typing ar 670-1 and it already gave me a proper link. AKO took 11 seconds to give me nothing useful at all.

    This, although unscientific, exemplifies the typical AKO users’ frustration with AKO. Not only is it slow, difficult to navigate, and have a confusing and ugly layout, it doesn’t even give you what you need. I could go on and on, but will save that for a later blog. Thanks for the articles, Mr. Gould.

  6. Favoritesun, did it ever occur to you that the whole reason for the stat graphic is to educate users and possible to clear up the absurd thought people have that AKO has 20,000 employees? Its not “whining” or “making lame excuses”, it is simply stating a fact, intended to inform people. If anything, I would interpret it as bragging…

  7. Pingback: AKO…your stats have gone from amusing to annoying « Army Girl, Army Wife

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