Army News Service
TAMPA, Fla. — MilBook, a Department of Defense professional networking tool, received one of the Army’s top knowledge management awards for providing outstanding knowledge-based capabilities and solutions in support of the Army’s mission.
“What we really stand for and the value that we represent, is connecting people to people and people to information,” said Justin Filler, deputy director of MilTech Solutions.
By facilitating the implementation and expansion of KM principles and practices within the Army, milBook received the 2010 Army Knowledge Management Award in the technology category.
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, Army chief information officer, presented the award during the LandWarNet Conference at the Tampa Convention Center, here, Aug. 3.
The AKM Awards Program recognizes outstanding individuals, group or organizational efforts that have implemented some or all of the 12 AKM principles in support of mission goals and objectives. This year’s award theme was “Army knowledge management: meeting mission objectives by connecting those who know, with those who need to know.”
“Milbook is the ultimate, professional-networking capability,” said Emerson Keslar, director, MilTech Solution. “I don’t know of any capability that does a better job connecting those who know, with those who need to know.”
As the Army’s internal Facebook solution, milBook is an Army Knowledge Online/Defense Knowledge Online community site dedicated to connecting people from across the DoD. This professional media tool provides a secure venue for knowledge transfer and the sharing of diverse perspectives worldwide.
Because it sits securely behind a fire-walled network, it allows the DoD to share official nonclassified internal information, opening new avenues of communications among its personnel.
According to Filler, the DoD’s services and agencies can be compared to a string of small businesses that have their own budgets, objectives and missions. MilBook is bridging the gap between those agencies, tearing down their borders and creating an open market place where everyone can collaborate and share ideas on a single platform.
“So, essentially, we have taken all of these small businesses and created a mall,” Filler said. “Once you come into the mall, you have access to each business.”
MilBook, which has reached more than 76,000 users since its inception in Oct. 2009, is part of a suite of tools known as milSuite, which also includes a blog and wiki. MilWiki also won the 2009 AKM Award for technology.
Previously, the DoD lacked a medium for employees to share official and sometimes sensitive information. MilBook provides several options for users, who wish to share information with specific individuals.
By creating discussion threads, individuals can exchange ideas among specific, self-created groups on topics such as Army policies. The information can either be restricted to that user, or shared with the entire milBook community, Filler said. Regardless, it will always remain behind the firewall.
“MilBook allows the DoD community to connect around a topic, team or organization,” Keslar said. “It allows those with a like-interest or working in similar area to connect, share and communicate.”
Like the other MilSuite products, milBook is a grassroots initiative. The milBook management team looks to the user community to set its rules and boundaries, as well as manage and control content.
“It actually has increased the value of the content and the relevance and reliability of the data in these systems, because they are maintained by the community, and the community has a stake in its accuracy,” Keslar said.
In the future, Keslar said that he would like to see milBook become more integrated with other capabilities such as instant messaging, e-mail, document sharing, file sharing, and have it become the platform that the workforce uses to collaborate across the DoD.
(Editor’s Note: Amy Walker works with PEO C3T MilTech Solutions.)