Office automation systems are computer based information systems that collect, process, store and transmit electronic messages, documents and other forms of communications among individuals, work groups and organizations. Such systems can increase the productivity of managerial end users and other professional and staff personnel by significantly reducing the time and effort needed to produce, access and receive business communications.
An overview of office automation systems are given below:
- Office publishing systems are word processing and desktop publishing systems.
- Image processing systems are image processing, optical scanning and storage, document management and interactive video systems.
- Electronic communication systems are electronic meeting, tele-conferencing and telecommunicating systems.
Office support systems are electronic calendar, ticket file, notebook, directory system, work scheduling and task management systems. The above are described in brief:
Office Publishing Systems
Word processing – It is the use of computer systems to automate the transformation of ideas into a readable form of communication. It involves manipulating text data to produce information products in the form of documents (letters, memos, forms and reports).
Desktop publishing – Organisations can use and develop publishing systems to produce their own printed materials. They can design and print their own newsletters, manuals, brochures and books with several types of styles and graphics and colours on each page.
Voice store and forward systems – It is also known as voice mail or structured verbal-response exchanges. It has the capability of storing verbal data and/or communicating it to another location. It is one of the latest systems and found useful to corporate houses and the society at large.
Electronic Meeting systems – If electronic meeting systems are used, people may not appreciate spending money on travel to attend meetings away from their normal work location. It involves the use of video and audio communications to allow conferences and meetings to be held with participants who may be scattered across a room, a building or a country.
Teleconferencing – Participants at remote sites key in their presentation and responses whenever convenient for their online terminals or workstations which are connected to a central conference computer. Since all participants don’t have to do this at the same time, this form of EMS is called computer’s conferencing. Sessions are held in real time with major participants at remote site who take part with voice input of questions and responses.
Telecommuting – It is the use of telecommunications by workers to replace commuting enabling them to work from their homes. It is also used to describe the use of telecommunication to carry on work activities from temporary locations other than offices and homes. Some people consider telecommuting as the creation of virtual offices.
Multimedia – Another evolving set of technologies for systematically managing graphics, drawings and photographs in addition to text and data are multimedia datamanagement systems . Some of these are called hypermedia systems.
Image Processing Systems
Image processing systems, also known as electronic image management system, allow users to electronically capture, store, process and retrieve images of documents. Image databasemanagement systems are becoming more versatile. The LAN-based image processing systems are also being common, which include several servers each dedicated to a specific function.
Document Management Systems
These systems are sophisticated image processing systems. These often interface with other office systems such as word processing, desktop publishing, electronic mail, voice mail etc.
These systems allow digitized ‘voice notes’ to be attached to specific document images and may have other special features as well as the ability to store multi-colour documents and colour photographs.
The Automated Office
Office automation is defined as a separate sub-system or included within information processing. It includes a wide range of support facilities for knowledge work and activities.
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