Office automation refers to the application of computer and communication technology to office functions. Office automation systems are meant to improve the productivity of managers at various levels of management by providing secretarial assistance and better communication facilities.
Office automation system is the combination of hardware, software and people in information system that process office transactions and support office activities at all levels of the organization. These systems include a wide range of support facilities, which include word processing, electronic filing, electronic mail, message switching, data storage, data and voice communications, etc.
Office activities may be grouped under two classes, namely.
1) Activities performed by clerical personnel (clerks, secretaries, typists, etc) and
2) Activites performed by the executives (manages, engineers or other professionals like economists, researchers etc.)
In the first category, the following is a list of activities
c) Scheduling of meetings and conferences,
d) Calendar keeping and
e) Retrieving documents
The following is a list of activities in the second category (managerial category)
b) Production of information (messages, memos, reports, etc) and
c) Controlling performance
As already discussed, information technology facilitates both types of activities. A wide variety of office automation devices like fax machine, copier, phones etc. are used in officer.
Some of the applications of office automation systems are discussed, in brief.
This refers to the computer –assisted preparation of documents (like letters, reports, memos, etc) from textual data. Data once entered can be manipulated in various ways.
This facilitates the filling of incoming and outgoing mail/documents on a magnetic media. Information is captured from the documents and is stored for future reference.
It involves the transfer of letters and other documents through telecommunication lines, rather than through physical delivery. An electronic mail system requires a telecommunication network and software.