The term office automation is used to describe the wide range of computer hardware and software normally applied in the generation, gathering, control, and the relaying of the necessary information in an office setting, with a view to achieving the set goals and objectives of an organization (Marotta, 2006). As such, the automation system of an office usually consists of the storage of unprocessed data, the transfer of such data electronically, as well as the aspect of managing such information (Hammer & Champy, 1993).
On the other hand, group collaboration software is used in reference to that software which has been designed in the assisting of individuals who engage themselves in common activities (Osborne, 2005) for purposes of improving the efficiency of such a workteam. The aim of a collaborative software in a group setting thus is to assist such a group attain their goals. Collaborative software forms the foundation for cooperative work that is computer aided (Marotta, 2006).
Some of the software systems that fall under this category include text chat, email, wiki, and calendaring. At my organization Taco Bells, Local Area Network (LAN) is widely applied as the epicenter of office automation in the organization. Consequently, this has enabled users
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In this regard, the application of office automation at Taco Bells has enabled the processes of filing, copying, typing, sending fax and the making of telephone calls to be much easier. Taco Bells has also installed web office as software to facilitate the activities of individuals within a team in the organization (McDowell, 1997). The kind of group collaboration software is asynchronous in nature. This software has thus far facilitated both the administrative and project work normally undertaken by the managers.
Through this system, members of the organization have been able to share calendars, schedules, documents, as well as forums, thanks to the use of internet connectivity. Advantages of office automation By employing office automation, Taco Bells has been able to optimize those office procedures that had been in existence prior to the adopting of this new technology. As a result, a majority of the office-based activities have been rendered much easier meaning that we have had a workforce that is not faced by tedious work, thus improving on motivation.
Moreover, the managers at Taco Bells are now able to easily access operating reports that are quite diverse, thus speeding up their decision making processes. Further, the automation process has facilitated in the transmission of information from the various points of sales in the organization’s 3,200 stores all over the country, to its central computers located in Irvine. The system has also facilitated the sending of mail by stores managers to the various stores, as well as the receiving of the same.
Furthermore, the individual staff members who are involved in for example, the collection of data, processing of customer’s orders and the maintenance of inventory records have been able to manage their individual workloads in a more efficient manner that before the automation process had been adopted by the organization. For the staff members who are daily involved in the entering to the information a system of task that tends to be more or less repetitive, such as related orders, automation aids in the avoidance of errors that are bound to occur in such a case.
To this end, office automation software has enabled the organization to allocate certain coeds to various items and activities. As a result, the computer system is now better able to execute such repetitive tasks without incurring any errors. Office automai0on has also led to an increase in the overall efficiency of the organization. This is because the individual employees have been able to pay more attention to the core functions of the business, as opposed to the repetition of common repetitive tasks.
Disadvantages of office automation One of the drawbacks of the office automation process that has been adopted by Taco Bells is that it is costly both during inception, and in the maintenance. Furthermore, the system demands that there be in place expensive software that would deter a compromise of the system by unauthorized persons (Macintyre 2002). In addition, there is also the risk that such an infiltration of the system by unauthorized persons may lead to the destruction of sensitive and classified information.
Office automation has also meant that some of the jobs that were hitherto done by staff members have now been integrated within the system. This has led to the loss of jobs for some of the employees Advantages of group collaborative software Thanks to the use of web office, the various store managers at Taco Bells are now able to share documents, manage schedules of their workforce, assess the available data in the system, and retrieve the necessary information. Additionally, the top management on occasions uses web office software to host with the various store managers meetings online (Marotta 2006).
This has greatly led to improved work efficiency by the individual stores, and the ensuing work-related synergy furthermore, the system has also facilitated the ease with which the management is able to make crucial strategies and decision, and a communication of the same to its managers for timely execution. Disadvantages The use of group collaborative software has been shown to clash with the culture of an organization, as all the employees, including the CEO will be required to be more cooperative with each other, as opposed to being competitive (Osborne, 2005). As such, the implementation of such a system may be mired by controversy.
In addition, it is quite expensive to implement such a system, bearing in mind that the individuals poised to use this system will need to undergo training to both use and accept it (Osborne, 2005). At Taco Bells, it was necessary to harmonize the corporate culture with the group collaborative requirement, to avoid initial rejection. Conclusion Office automation and group collaborative software are increasingly being utilized by a lot of companies with a view to enhancing both the productivity of their workforce, as well as the overall efficiency of the organization.
One such organization that has successful implemented the use of such software is the fast food chain Taco Bells. Through automation and the use collaborative software, the managers have been able to share information, schedules, calendars, as well as the holding of forums with the top management. Furthermore, it has also become quite easy and fast to process various orders for the clients, and also to avoid common errors in entering data menus by utilizing code names. Nevertheless, the uses of this software by organizations also have their drawbacks.
First, implementation is expensive in terms of the human and financial capital required. There is also the issue of having to train the workforce to use and accept such software. Moreover, countless jobs have been lost thanks to automated services. All in all, office automation and group collaborative software have enabled a lot of organizations to collectively realize their goals and objectives, while also creating synergy amongst their member teams. References Hammer, M & Champy, J. (1993).
“Reengineering the corporation: a manifesto for business revolution” New York: Harper Collins. Macintyre, A. (2002). “Understand internet collaboration”. Available at: http://radio. weblogs. com/0107846/stories/2002/08/17/understandinternetcollaboration. html. Retrieved December 21, 2008. Marotta, L. (2006). “Boost your work team’s effectiveness by taking advantage of group collaboration software” October 2. Available at: http://www. web-conferencing-zone. com/group-collaboration-software Retrieved December 21, 2008.
McDowell, B. (1997). “Taco Bell plans overhaul to get beyond low prices: agency that wins creative review will handle rollout of project gold,” Advertising Age, February 10. Osborne, A. (2005). “Group collaboration software that includes synchronous with asynchronous team workspace tools can produce greater workplace proficiency”. November 28. Available at:http://74. 125. 95. 132/search? q=cache:umiJAnRvT5QJ:www. web-conferencing- zone. com/group-collaboration-software. htm. Retrieved December 21, 2008.