Automated And Group Collaboration Software

Automated And Group Collaboration Software
The current military office environment that is worked in can be cut into two sections when talking about office automation and group collaboration tools; the deployed and non-deployed office environment. Each section has its? own unique qualities and usually requires the same technology to operate, but each gets different support based the deployed environment being more of a priority.
To first answer this topic, one must understand that collaborative software is also known as ?social software and embraces the communications systems, including e-mail, videoconferencing, instant messaging and chat? (Ziff Davis Media Inc., 2007). The current office, or non-deployed office, has numerous different software programs that bring the employees of different departments and locations together. There are four satellite locations; South Korea, Alaska, Hawaii, and Colorado that are all commanded from the main location in Washington. Each location is outfitted with standard Microsoft Office programs, mIRC, telephones, and video conferencing equipment. Most communication and document exchanges are done on some form of email, which tends to flow smoothly. Meetings are done on video conferencing, with a back-up on teleconferencing. Current calendars are done on Microsoft Excel and task assignments are done through Microsoft Outlook. The current version of Outlook makes it hard to manage large groups of employees on one calendar. The scheduling department struggles with whether to use Excel or Outlook. The push is to move to Office 2007 because of the ability to sync individual calendars with the main calendar. This leaves much of the data input up to the individual users as opposed to one scheduler. The hold up on the changeover to office 2007 is the military?s reluctance to move to Microsoft Office 2007, because of the software?s lack of backwards compatibility to older versions of Microsoft Office. The chat program mIRC is a good program for communicating back forth, but is very outdated and in need of improvement. There are much better programs on the market that allow for individuals to chat, pass documents, and show individual schedules on one program. The ability to show if you at your desk or away is a valuable tool when management needs to find answers to questions.
Due to the high travel requirements on project and office managers, the non-deployed office is looking to add the Blackberry and other devices that allow project and office managers to conduct office work away from the desk.
An article on argued, ?In many ways, computers make collaboration more awkward than we want? (Kay, 2004). Files are stored and filed in email systems as opposed to traditional filing systems. Older Word Processing programs made it difficult to mark up and edit text programs; newer versions have made it easier to edit documents.
The deployed office, or future office, has the same tools as the current office, with a few extra and high-speed additions. Office environments are built in large rooms, with the entire environment being video conference to upper management 100% of the time. This allows for instant communication and management of the satellite office environment. The future office is connected with commander of satellite offices by many different encrypted radios that encrypt email. Telephone or cell phones are not used because of their lack of encryption. The inability to encrypt cell phone signals for a decent price on a large scale has kept old fashion radios as the primary source of communication between management and their satellite locations. File sharing is done over satellite radio as opposed to a traditional computer line or network. The limitations to these radio email networks are the lack of satellite radio channels currently in operation. Channels can get bogged down easily due to high traffic and large file sharing. There are many different programs that work on the satellite radio channels, which benefit a variety of needs. Each program is compatible with the others and each has their own unique characteristics.
Technology changes daily and newer more improved software is introduced into the market place that makes office collaboration easier. It is beneficial to management to stay on top of these changes and updates in order to improve their office environment and its? productivity. The military office environment tends to move slowly when there is no need to update software, but moves extremely fast when the need exists.

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