Office automation software is used to simplify each individual’s daily task and help in group collaboration. In many companies, office automation is a standard practice. There are software applications that are used by many companies in the same way. Businesses today realize that they will need to follow the standardized system to be productive. Some of these systems include email, fax, post office, and video teleconferencing. These are only a few of the systems that are automated which are used by the majority of businesses.
Individuals in the business environment often do not work alone, but rather in teams, committees, departments, and other types of workgroups. To collaborate on common tasks, workgroup members can have meetings, talk on the telephone, send faxes, and distribute memos. Many of these tasks are done through office automation software and group collaboration. Some of the software we use is e-mail, e-fax, post office, and video teleconferencing.
Since our business is based on collaboration, it is important to automate communication within the office, offsite locations, and clients. We as a company rely on many office automation tools which make this possible, but the most widely used application are also the standards in business today.
One of the major collaboration software that is used in the office is the email system. Email allows everyone in the organization to communicate with internal personnel as well as external. Furthermore, email can be used to communicate with customers and clients.
Our email system uses an email client such as Microsoft Outlook. Outlook communicates to the Microsoft Exchange server which allows delivery to the correct address. The exchange server also houses the global address book for all users on the system as well as client addresses. This address book is accessible to all users. Besides email, Outlook has a few other features that automate a variety of tasks such as calendar, tasks, and journal.
With the calendar feature, one can enter appointments to better manage one’s time. This feature can also be shared among other users within the network; furthermore, it has the ability to invite others to meetings. These meetings are either accepted or rejected by the recipient. Once an answer to an invite by a sender has been given to Outlook Calendar by the recipient, the system then automatically replies to the sender informing him or her of the decision made by the recipient.
Another feature is the tasks. Tasks allow an individual to either personally input tasks to be completed or receive tasks from others. Receiving a task from others on the network allows the sender to know the progress and outcome of the task requested. This feature can also be exported into a database for time tracking analysis.
The journal feature is similar to an auditing feature. It keeps track of all documents opened, the date they were opened, how long it was open, and the location of the document. This feature comes in handy if one can not remember the file he or she worked on the week before. The user can open the journal and find out what was done on the desired day. The down side to this feature is that is uses a lot of the system’s resources. It will slow down the system and will require a lot of space from the user’s mailbox.
There are several post office applications that we use in the organization that help the company in shipping letters to bulk mail. The two major post office applications are provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS) and United Parcel Service (UPS)
The USPS software allows us to print electronic stamp on envelopes. This feature is very handy because we do not need to go to the post office and purchase stamps on a daily basis. Since this is done by logging onto a secured network, a record is kept on both our systems and the USPS systems of all transactions. The company is then billed at the end of the month according to the number of electronic stamps used by the company.
In some cases, we are required to go to the post office when sending odd objects or heavy letters. Since we do not know the amount for sending odd mail, we need to visit the post office to have it manually sent.
The UPS system is needed when sending large or heavy objects. This UPS application automates many aspects of the post office process. Since this system is connected to the UPS mainframe, the user does not need to call for a pick up for a package. The main system is automatically notified when there is a package ready for pickup.
The only aggravating part about this system is when it asks for the dimensions and the weight. Some of the users do not input the correct dimensions and weight which causes a few problems when the package is picked up. The UPS software will then need to be re-adjusted for the correct measurements.
Another two applications which help automate the office environment are the video conferencing and instant messaging systems. These two applications work together to deliver instant communications with both clients and interoffice personnel. The video conferencing aspect of the application saves the company a lot of money on travel. It allows some of the users to see the party they are talking to and share the applications through on the same screen for better understanding of the meeting.
Not all users have access to this system because of the network resources required to run the application. Since video conferencing is done through Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), it requires a lot of the network resources because of the large packets send through the application. Having limited access to this application means the network will not slow down or crash.
These are only a few of the office automations software that the company uses. There are many more applications that help each of us do our job faster and better. The automations are in place to also help us concentrate on the more important things that need to be done around the office.
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