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News > Portal improvements support "Every Dollar Counts"
Portal improvements support "Every Dollar Counts"

Posted 5/23/2013   Updated 5/23/2013 Email story   Print story


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

5/23/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The Global Combat Support System-AF program office here recently implemented system enhancements to the Air Force Portal to support the "Every Dollar Counts" campaign.

The campaign allows Airmen, both uniformed and civilian, to submit their ideas for savings in an easy and secure manner. Also called, "Airmen Powered by Innovation," the program is run out of the Air Force Vice Chief of Staff's office. More information can be found here.

"The GCSS AF team allows the ability to support leadership in getting information out to U.S. Air Force members - one team, one message with a single sign-on," said Danielle Dunn, GCSS-AF Portal Service Area lead.

For the portal, the main changes incorporated were an increase on character limits for the responses on questionnaire forms and posts for group discussions. From the previous limits of 255 on questionnaires and 500 on posts, both were raised to 1,000.

This allows the user more space for feedback, Dunn said. She said they had heard concerns that ideas would be stymied by the existing limitations.

Users also have the ability to upload documents if they feel more information is required.
The GCSS-AF team had to accomplish the setup and changes quickly. According to Dunn, the team had only two weeks from the time the portal was discussed as a potential good fit to the time it was selected and needed to be set up.

Once the VCSAF office began looking at alternatives for the content pages for the campaign, after a review of multiple designs, the portal came out on top.

"They wanted something that was aesthetically pleasing and would draw the most people in," Dunn said. It also was a tool that was already in place, reaches out to all stakeholders and provides an easy feedback mechanism, she added.

"The AF Portal kick started the "Every Dollar Counts" campaign by using an existing capability vice standing up something new. This in and of itself is a savings."

Dunn emphasizes that due to the portal already being in place no new monies were required; the work was completed under current funds within the program's maintenance program.

The fact that many Air Force personnel were already familiar with the portal was another plus.

"The portal reaches Air Force members worldwide," said Dan Cronin, GCSS-AF Content Delivery Service lead. "Active duty, reserve and guard members, civilians and contractors can all easily access the site with their CAC card."

There are more than 400,000 unique visitors who access the Air Force Portal each week.
Through the "Every Dollar Counts" content page, which has a link off the main portal page, users can view the video about the campaign, submit an idea or join a group discussion on a specific topic. The discussions are moderated by subject matter experts.

The metrics for the campaign show the impact. Prior to the campaign launch, the vice chief of staff's "Every Dollar Counts" video received nearly 25,000 views on the portal. And since the program began on May 1, more than 7,800 ideas have been submitted and more than 2,200 discussion posts and comments have been exchanged on the discussion boards. Metrics are provided to the vice chief's office weekly.

The changes to the portal will be permanent and hopefully will allow other leaders to use them as well, according to Dunn.

"The portal allows a platform for leadership to reach out," she said.

In fact, after viewing the responses generated in this campaign, Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, C3I and Networks program executive officer, is planning to use it for a similar campaign within his organization.

"I am just as interested in tapping into the great ideas of our members to find savings in time and dollars which I have the authority to approve at my level," Olson said.

Dunn emphasized that despite the challenges of working within such a short timeline, everyone worked well together.

"It was a pleasure working with personnel at all different levels - up to Air Staff - and realizing how important Airmen are to all of them."

The "Every Dollar Counts" campaign runs through June 1. To view the video, submit ideas or join a discussion, visit the AF Portal at https://www.my.af.mil.

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