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Office Automation And Group Collaboration

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Week 3 Individual Assignment

University of Phoenix Online

CIS/319 - Computers & Information Processing

Office Automation and Group Collaboration

In today's business world, many companies, especially larger, corporate organizations rely on various types of office automation equipment and software. As technology improves and corporations expand their offices across the country and around the world, group collaboration software soon becomes a necessity, rather than a convenience, for companies wishing to become global market leaders.

The company that I work for is one of the world's largest defense contractors. We currently employ over 80,000 people, have production facilities across the country, and have international customers and subsidiary operations around the world. In addition to our core business of defense products, we also have an aircraft division that produces civilian aircraft and executive jets. Supporting an organization of this magnitude requires a massive information technology infrastructure. We have been a technology leader and innovator of technology for many years, but we also rely very heavily on technology from other types of companies.

Office automation is "the use of computer systems to execute a variety of office operations, such as word processing, accounting, and e-mail. Office automation almost always implies a network of computers with a variety of available programs" (Webopedia, 2006).

My company has a massive internal network established and uses a variety of office automation equipment and collaboration software. Collaboration software or groupware, as it is sometimes called, is defined as "computer-based systems that support groups of people engaged in a common task (or goal) and that provide an interface to a shared environment" (Wikipedia, 2006). One of the main products that we use for communications is Lotus Notes. Lotus Notes, "delivers e-mail, calendar and scheduling capabilities, integrated instant messaging, personal information management (PIM) tools, discussion forums, teamrooms and reference databases with basic workflow - along with a powerful desktop platform for collaborative applications" (IBM, 2006). While Notes has many useful and powerful features, and it is great for collaboration within our own organization, it does have some drawbacks. I find that it is often quite slow, lacks some features that other e-mail applications have, and it is not really compatible with programs such as Microsoft Outlook, which seems to be the standard for business communications, making it somewhat difficult to collaborate with businesses or individuals that are not using Lotus Notes. Specific business units within my organization find Notes extremely useful and make extensive use of its unique capabilities. However, I believe the majority of users in my field would prefer to use Microsoft Outlook as their primary e-mail and personal information manager client. With a company this size there are also many files that must be transferred between people and e-mail is not always the most effective means to do that. The company has a large document sharing and file service that allows users to store and share files of any size and any type in a central location that anyone in

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