What is an office automation system?
Office automation system refers to the use of equipments and processes to facilitate efficient and effective communication within an organization. The modern technologies applied in business operation are geared towards improving productivity by eliminating redundancies. Automation systems ensure that the required processes run smoothly and are replicated with the same level of accuracy all the time.
Think of all typical processes that occur within the office now imagine a scenario whereby all these activities are conducted manually. For example if you need to communicate with the director on fourth floor while you are on second floor with no telephone you will be required to climb up to the fourth floor to deliver the information. This makes the process cumbersome and uneconomical especially with regards to time. This is where office automation comes in and employs the use of equipment such as the computer, copier, and printers among other equipments.
Computers have provided organizations with the ability to store and quickly retrieve information from a virtual database. Records are easily reached by keying in their unique identifiers reducing the time spent in accessing information. Further the said record will not only be accessed virtually but can also be printed out or sent through an email to an intended party to reach its destination within a very short time.
Office automation refers to the process of taking office tasks normally performed by human staff and creating mechanical processes to complete them. Many different forms of office tasks may be automated.
In terms of telephone technology, automated answering and switching systems replace human receptionists and switchboard operators. Such systems can allow callers to look up extensions in a company directory, route incoming calls, and store, retrieve and forward voice messages.
Photocopying machines and scanners automate much of the process of storing and replicating paperwork. Increasingly, computerized systems automate maintaining document archives by scanning and storing documents in electronic form.
Perhaps the best known type of office automation device is the computer, which automates many traditional office tasks. For example, email automates what used to be the process of composing and circulating memos and correspondence. Software automates many standard accounting procedures including payables and receivables, purchasing, estimating, and project management.
Office automation refers to automating information or procedures. Most typically, it relates to storage, transmission and management of information through computers and software. Automation optimizes office performance and offers the following advantages:
- less storage is required for storing office work (digital storage instead of paper storage)
- Less manual labor/hours for information management
- Easier and simultaneous access of data
Automation will lead to storage of information on servers that can be accessed by the staff. Letters and memos are replaced by emails and messages. Data processing can be done much faster by computers or hand-held devices. Staff can relay the information through phones or emails or messages instead of physically visiting each other.
Apart from the work/project information, employee information such as hours billed, employee data (such as leaves, vacations, bills, salary, etc.), etc. can be managed very easily by using financial softwares.
"Office automation refers to the type of 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."
Generally, 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 that are needed to successfully accomplish the goals for a specific business. Storage of information would be the computer or a computer like system. Data Exchange would be a fax, phone, or some type of communication hardware. Data management would be using specific software tools to organize and maintain data.
Office automation system also includes a business office telecommunication system such as a virtual office phone. This system provide easy management and control of all the company's telecommunication requirements.