Office automation system refers to using computer based methods of carrying out activities that primarily involve information related activities such as collecting information, storing and retrieving it, analysing information, taking decisions based on information, and communicating it. As the name implies, these systems are applicable in office environment, which primarily deal with information rather than physical material and activities. However, the office automation systems need to interface with other physical systems, and may cover the information related aspects of physical activities also. For example, an attendance recording system is a type of automated system collects information of employees coming to and leaving the work place, and then uses this this information to prepare their attendance records.
There is no universally accepted way of classifying office automation systems. One common way of describing the type of an automated office system is by the function performed by it. For example an automated system for processing payroll of employees is called payroll system, and a system that prepares accounts is called accounting system. A very important part of office automation system in most of the companies is the e-mail system. Office automation systems can also cover application that enable managers to improve the quality of their decision. Such system could be very rudimentary like a general electronic spreadsheet software installed on PC's of individuals, or it could be a highly sophisticated integrated system for planning incorporating multiple applications like ERP, PPC, forecasting, accounting, budgeting, and other business system.