Office automation refers to the different computer machinery and software used to digitally create, collect, store, manipulate, and relay office information needed for accomplishing basic tasks. Office automation helps in optimising or automating existing office procedures.
Raw data storage, electronic transfer, and the management of electronic business information comprise the basic activities of an office automation system. The backbone of office automation is a LAN, which allows users to transfer data, mail and even voice across the network.
All office functions, including dictations, typing, filing, copying, fax, Telex, microfilm and records management, telephone and telephone switchboard operations, fall into this category. The desktop computer has contributed greatly to office automation, which is why the term office automation was popular in the 1970s and 1980s as the desktop computer exploded onto the scene.
Office automation has several advantage, which are:
– It can get many tasks accomplished faster.
– It eliminates the need for a large staff.
– Less storage is required to store data.
– Multiple people can update data simultaneously if there is a change in schedule.
There are three basic activities of an office automation system: storage of information, data exchange, and data management. Within each broad application area, hardware and software combine to fulfill basic functions. We shall now discuss each in detail.
1) Information storage: This is the first area within office automation. It is usually considered to include office records and other primary office forms and documents. Data applications involve the capture and editing of files, images, or spreadsheets. Word processing and desktop presentation packages accommodate raw textual and graphical data, while spreadsheet applications provide users with the capacity to engage in the easy manipulation and output of numbers. Image applications allow the capture and editing of visual images.
2) Data exchange: While data storage and manipulation is an important component of an office automation system, the exchange of that information is another equally important component. Electronic transfer is a general application area that highlights the exchange of information among multiple users. Electronic mail, voice mail and facsimile are examples of electronic transfer applications. Systems that allow instantaneous or “real time” transfer of information are considered to be electronic sharing systems. These include online conversations via computer or audio exchange with video capture. Electronic sharing software illustrates the collaborative nature of many office automation systems.
3) Data management: Office automation systems are often used to track both short-term and long-term data in the realms of financial plans, workforce allocation plans, marketing expenditures, inventory purchases and other aspects of business. Task management or scheduling systems monitor and control various projects and activities within the office. Electronic management systems monitor and control office activities and tasks through timelines, resource equations, and electronic scheduling.
So, this is all about office automation in a nutshell. It has become an imperative for most businesses to invest in office automation system to improve productivity and save both time and money. Here’s to efficient and effective working….with office automation…