Office Automation: A User-Driven Method by Don Tapscott

By Don Tapscott

Outlines 5 assorted views on workplace structures, explains the way to verify automation wishes, and offers info on cost-benefit research, pilot platforms, and the effect of latest expertise at the place of work.

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16) Whereas previous systems consisted primarily of hardware and software, office systems have both technical and "social" components. The technical subsystem includes the tools, techniques, and methods involved in doing office work, while the social subsystem includes the people with their job responsibilities, communications patterns, attitudes, etc. Any significant change in any part of this sociotechnical system will affect other components of the system, as has been shown with numerous office system implementations.

In the custom designed office there can be no "one best way" because things are constantly changing and because different subgroups have different needs. Standard designs have also failed to solve the problem because all offices are mixed, with some custom and some production elements. The task is to identify where and how much of each exists in an office and to design a subsystem for each subgroup with appropriate perfomance characteristics. Also, organizational analysis is in its infancy and it is difficult at this stage to get adequate information about an organization to enable the effective implementation of a standard design.

Technologically it must maintain an ongoing evaluation of the myriad of office system and local network vendors to ensure adequate data for vendor selection. Practitioners of the User-Driven school seek to develop tools and analytical procedures to obtain valid and reliable measures of pertinent activities, functions, processes, and attitudes in the office milieu. The approach also calls for the utilization of experimental procedures, statistical analyses, modeling, and simulation techniques. And finally, a User-Driven perspective takes an evolutionary approach to implementing office systems which are based on small, manageable, and measureable pilots which can grow into full operational systems.

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