Office automation refers to the varied computer machinery and software used to digitally create, collect, store, manipulate, and relay office information needed for accomplishing basic tasks and goals. Raw data storage, electronic transfer, and the management of electronic business information comprise the basic activities of an office automation system. Office Automation helps in optimise or automate existing office procedures.
The backbone of office automation is a LAN, which allows users to transmit data, mail and even voice across the network. All office functions, including dictation, typing, filing, copying, fax, telex, microfilm and records management, telephone and telephone switchboard operations, fall into this category. Office automation was a popular term in the 1970s and 1980s as the desktop computer exploded onto the scene. One critical variable affecting the success in office automation is user acceptance. No matter how technologically superior the equipment is, there may be failure if users reject it.
Office Automation for different organisations should include the following important functions.
- Generate Microsoft Word documents or business forms from data stored in other applications such as Microsoft Access
- Generate presentations from external data
- Automatically send emails to customers or groups in Microsoft Outlook
- Create custom data entry mechanisms for Microsoft Office Documents
- Create custom procedures for CAD programs
- Maintain and organise data stored in Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access
- Create stand-alone executables to automate your office environment
Attributes and Advantages
It is observed that, there is rapid growth in the use of Office Automation systems from the past few years. This growth can be attributed to the following reasons.
- Value of information and information explosion
- Increase in office cost and need to improve office productivity
- Availability of equipment and skills
Large number of organisations are being benefitted by office automation due to the following advantages related to the human resource information system.
- Better utilization of human resources
- Improved quality of work
- Efficient decision
- Better service for customers
- Increased organisational effectiveness
Office Automation Functions
Different offices perform the same basic functions and operations irrespective of the type and size of the office. There can be creation of original documents and providing inputs to the automation system from documents received outside. There is extraction of data for further presentation as required, storing and retrieving it for subsequent reference. Additional comments, notes and references can be helpful for decision making and duplicating the documents for distribution. For transferring documents and communications to different individuals, the office automation makes extensive use of data communications and networking facilities. Another function of office automation is presentation of data either on screen for visual inspection or in the form of printouts or in any other form required by the users.