In 1972, Zisman of MIT argued that office automation was to apply the computer technology, communications technology, system science, and behavioral science to the extremely large number of jobs that were structurally undefined or were difficult to handle with conventional data processing technology. At present, this definition has been further expanded. Office automation(OA) now means any series of activities for improving efficiency and rationalization of office functions and operations. These activities should enhance the overall productivity and creativity in enterprises and other organizations. OA therefore focuses not merely on expediting up jobs, but also on making human activities more active, effective, and creative.
In Japan, OA began in the 1980s to increase the speed and efficiency of individual office jobs. At present, personal computers connected to a Local Area Network (LAN) have been made available to each worker in an office. This creates an environment that enables sharing and exchange of fundamental and private information through groupware software. OA has indeed made a great step forward. It is expected that the offices will achieve innovation in the true sense of the word toward the 21st century.