- Difference Between Old & New Generation
- Older Generation
The older generation Office Automation involves the computerization of document flows using a workflow engine. This approach helps to manage the flow aspect but not the information (e.g., business performance) aspect of the business process. The information is document content that can only be understood by the users. Many organizations when they first acquire their Office Automation system, they did not understand the importance of the management information such as budget and milestone. After they have purchased their Office Automation system, they started to realize that they could not manage effectively for lack of the information.
- New Generation Office Automation
New generation Office Automation has the functionality of the old generation Office Automation, such as the workflow engine which can be used to manage document flows. New generation Office Automation also has the business logic to manage business events such as campaign, opportunity, strategy, contract, resource request, purchase and outsourcing and operation activities such as assignment, meeting, trip request, expense report, attendance, leave request, training, recruitment and payroll.
Some people mistakenly thinks that, using the form and workflow features of old generation Office Automation, one can manage business events such as campaign, opportunity, strategy, contract, resource request, purchase and outsourcing. In reality, old generation Office Automation has only the database schema to interpret the flow data (e.g., approval flow) but not the objective and performance data for campaign, opportunity, strategy, contract, resource request, purchase and outsourcing management. The business information is described in the contents of the electronic documents, and can only be interpreted by human. People will know this approach would not work when they need to deal with a large number of electronic documents in order to analyze or aggregate information.
- Management Effectiveness
Managers need to have (a) control mechanism to manage processes; and (b) performance information to make decisions. Managing without (b) is like running with only one leg – one can hop but not far. Since old generation OA provides only (a) but not (b), it is not really a desirable management platform. Fortunately, the enhanced new generation OA provides both (a) and (b) and allows managers to make effective decisions at the earliest possible time based on real-time KPI.