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Describing what office automation and group collaboration software will be best for organization. Include an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each software used.

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1. Describing what office automation and group collaboration software will be best for organization. Include an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each software used.

This question is somewhat arbitrary, or are you supposed to choose a specific organization and apply this information to that organization. The only option that I have available is to refer to an organization in general and refer to the benefits of either office automation or group collaboration software. I illustrated the application by example.

I. Office Automation Software

Using Technology for Office Automation

Personal computer-based office automation software has become an indispensable part many organization, such as election management in many countries. Word processing programs have replaced typewriters; spreadsheet programs have replaced ledger books; database programs have replaced paper-based electoral rolls, inventories and staff lists; personal organiser programs have replaced paper diaries; and so on. Starting with basic, cumbersome word processing and spreadsheet programs in the 1970s, by the 1990s office automation programs had become very sophisticated. These programs have served to empower ordinary office workers by enabling them to complete tasks in-house that once had to be sent off-site to be completed by specialists. For example, desktop publishing programs allow relative novices to produce professional-quality publications, where once even the simplest of typesetting tasks had to be sent to professional typesetters and printers. Database and spreadsheet programs running on high-powered personal computers allow ordinary users to input, store and use data in ways that once would only have been possible on large main-frame computers operated by specialist programmers.

Types of Office Automation Software

A typical 'suite' of office automation software could include some or all of the following kinds of programs:
· word processor
· spreadsheet
· database
· desktop publisher
· project manager
· presentation
· computer file manager
· email
· internet browser
· internet publisher
· personal organiser
· financial system
· personnel system (http://www.aceproject.org/main/english/et/etg.htm).

Many books, magazines and web sites can help companies choose office automation software suitable for organizational purposes. In many cases, office automation software will be provided with the appropriate hardware, either as part of the purchase agreement or as part of a government standard.

For more detail on the more common office automation applications, see:
· Word Processing
· Spreadsheets
· Databases

Advantages of Using Office Automation Software

It is desirable that all users of office automation software be trained in their use. In most countries external training providers will be available. Some electoral authorities may be able to provide in-house training using its own skilled staff. Most software packages also come with user manuals (paper and/or on-screen) and many come with self-paced on-screen tutorials. In fact, modern office automation software is very powerful. Skilled users can develop very sophisticated products. For example, an electoral authority could use office automation for:
· Producing all or most of its publications in-house, including books, brochures, forms and newsletters
· Composing, editing and printing all correspondence in a standard corporate style, incorporating automatic printing of logos and corporate livery
· Developing computer-generated presentations for projection on overhead screens for seminars and training purposes
· Entering, storing and using electoral roll data
· Automating various parts of the election process, such as issuing and receiving postal votes
· Capturing and analyzing (e.g., election results data, financial reports, etc.)
· Storing and manipulating employee records
· Automating large scale personalized mail-outs to clients and staff
· Keeping inventories
· Maintaining a corporate web site and an internal intranet
· Planning and monitoring all aspects of a major project
· Organizing a financial management system
· Sending individual and grouped electronic mail to internal staff and external clients
· Sharing files across a network (http://www.aceproject.org/main/english/et/etg.htm).

Upgrading Office Automation Software

Off-the-shelf office automation software is regularly upgraded. Upgrades typically are released every 2-3 years for most popular products. Upgrades generally provide more powerful versions of existing features, provide some new features, and fix known problems in previous versions of the software. (Notoriously, upgrades sometimes have their own set of new problems or 'bugs', which can be fixed by the next upgrade.) In fact, upgrading software can be expensive, and electoral administrations need to judge if and when they should upgrade their software. One way to avoid this dilemma is to lease software rather than purchase it, and include automatic upgrades as part of the lease agreement. If an administration's current software suite is performing acceptably, there may not be any compelling reason to upgrade it as soon as an upgrade becomes available. One reason for delaying an upgrade is to wait for other users to identify problems with the new software that can be fixed by the software developers using 'patches'. Unfortunately there will be pressure on an administration to upgrade its software as clients and other organizations it deals with move to the upgraded version. While upgraded software is often 'backwards compatible', meaning that the new version can read files created under the old version, it is often the case that the old software cannot read files created using the new ...

Solution Summary

Through illustrative examples, this solution describes what office automation and group collaboration software will be best for an organization in general. It also includes an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each software used.