Office Automation

Table of Contents

  1. Analyzing An Office - presented by Sheralyn Mann

  2. Methodologies of Office Automation - presented by Rod Brassard

  3. Other Office Automation Links

  4. References

Designing Office Systems

Many efforts have been made to develop office programming languages that can express and even automate procedures found in semi- structured offices. A formal methodology for assessing needs and defining office procedures is necessary when using these programming tools.

A methodology to assess needs in individual offices must include these three parts:

A Needs Assessment Methodology is necessary to identify the crucial needs to be served by automation. If the tools are procedural, then a Procedural Design Methodology and a Procedural Implementation Methodology should be implemented.

Procedural tools are those in which there is a predetermined flow of work involving many steps. The flow may be the same every time, or may include a more complex logic flow. With non-procedural tools, one can specify a set of functions to be supported but cannot say what functions will be used or in what order. The use of decision support systems, database management systems, electronic spreadsheet systems, the telephone, and word processing tools generally fall into this category. Offices can be grouped into two types:

Type 2 offices present a major problem to designers of office methodologies. Traditional procedural analysis tools are not likely to be effective in determining the needs of the office. Rather, the strategies that must be designed and supported are likely to depend heavily on the professional content of the work being done.

Goals of Office Information Systems (OIS) Methodologies

  1. The first goal of an OIS methodology is to obtain an accurate description of the office. A complete and formal description of all aspects of the office work is not feasible. But, the model used in a methodology should describe as many aspects of the office as possible in an clear and concise way. This description will be useful to the system designer, as well as the potential users of the new system by enabling them to validate the system and suggest possible modifications.

  2. A second goal is to locate the functions that are only loosely related to the goals of the company. This is done to separate these functions into two groups: The first group includes functions that are not related to actual office work, but are still necessary for social and organizational reasons; The second group of functions are those that need to be re-examined. These functions may be obsolete and are only being done out of habit. They should be corrected before the implementation of the new system.

  3. The final goal of a conceptual model it that it act as a guide in providing technical solutions, and provide criteria to follow in evaluating possible solutions and in choosing tools for design.

Approaches to OIS Conceptual Design

A crucial element of a methodology is the type of office conceptual view that is adopted during the analysis of the office. Different conceptual views will lead to different approaches in the analysis of office work, and should be considered.

Aspects of OIS

Categories of Office Conceptual Models

Office conceptual models can be classified into categories based on the fundamental elements that they take into consideration.