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Automation And Collaboration Software At Image Stream

1161 words - 5 pages

Automation and Collaboration Software at ImageStreamToday's companies use office automation software to simplify daily tasks and assist with group collaboration. Central schedules, PC-to-PC video and teleconferences, e-mail software, fax machines and scanners, office servers and similar tools are commonplace in today's businesses. This paper highlights how ImageStream uses a few of these key automation and collaboration systems.Office AutomationIndividuals in office or virtual office environments often do not work autonomously, but within teams, committees, departments, and similar types of workgroups. To collaborate on common tasks, workgroup members can have meetings, teleconferences, and ...view middle of the document...

The messages span the range of topics from small follow-up messages to extremely large design drawings, network diagrams or other file attachments. With the advent of e-mail-to-fax gateways, ImageStream also uses the Internet and its intranet to communicate via fax for legal agreements and other documents when necessary. With no long distance telephone charges, letters written on expensive company stationery, mail delivery schedules, voice mail or answering machine "phone tag" games, e-mail acts as a driving force behind increased efficiency at the company and helps ensure that its strategy for low overhead is a success. E-mail allows ImageStream employees to communicate with each other, partners, vendors and clients without the need for real-time interaction. For less-than-critical issues, ImageStream employees can send messages anytime, waiting for a response from the recipient at a convenient time.ImageStream also uses e-mail as an automatic mass distribution mechanism. The company maintains numerous mail distribution lists using the open source Mailman list management software. These topic-based lists cover technical support and software release announcements, technical support group contacts for customers, press release distribution and channel sales information, among other areas. The Mailman software, coupled with simple mail aliasing on ImageStream's central mail server, allows a single ImageStream employee to contact and share information with a large group of collaborators, partners or customers without the inefficiency of personal contacts with potentially thousands of individuals spread across dozens of time zones.The ImageStream e-mail system runs Linux and the open source Sendmail program, and communicates with e-mail clients such as Pine or Microsoft Outlook. The mail client communicates with the Linux mail server, which in turn facilitates delivery to the correct address. The server houses mailing lists, as well as information allowing delivery to non-local addresses. For employees using Outlook, the company maintains a central contact database on its office fileserver that enables employees to find e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and addresses for employees, key contacts and key partners.ImageStream also uses Outlook's central scheduling features. Since the company does not run Microsoft Windows or Exchange Server on its servers, the standard central scheduling features of Outlook would normally be disabled. With software from a Norwegian company, ImageStream uses a back-end Microsoft Access database to store central appointments and display them using an Outlook plug-in. This central scheduling feature allows employees to maintain...

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