Business & IT Glossary - O

Object Orientation Programming technology that uses "objects" which combine both data and instructions - usually separated in other forms of programming. These objects can communicate with each other and operate almost like self-contained programs dealing with a specific function. Object orientation often includes GUI features designed to be used in conjunction with a mouse, such as windows, pull-down menus and interactive icons and graphical devices. The benefits of Object Orientation over traditional, more constricting logical methods of programming include a more natural or instinctive way of working and ease of use.
OCR Optical Character Recognition software enables printed text to be converted by a scanner or other device into word processing software files where they can be edited. The benefit is that a long document does not need to be re-typed, saving considerable time.
Ofcom The Office of Communications is the regulator for the UK communications industries and has responsibilities covering television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. Visit the Ofcom web site at www.ofcom.org.uk for further details.
Offline Used generally to describe the state of a computer not currently connected to the internet. Users can download web pages and retrieve their email "online" (ie when connected to the internet), so that they can view or read these offline, when they have terminated the telecommunications link to the internet. The obvious benefit of working offline is the saving in communication costs, ie lower phone bills. Originally, offline described a computer terminal that was not currently connected to the main computer system on which it depended. (See online)
Offshore Certain territories around the world offer tax advantages to individuals and companies, so that they do not pay as much tax if they are based in these territories.
OFT The Office of Fair Trading exists to protect UK consumers and to ensure that UK businesses compete and operate fairly. Visit the OFT web site at www.oft.gov.uk for further details.
Online Used generally to describe the state of a computer connected to the internet. Users can browse the internet or send and receive email when online. Originally online described the state of a computer terminal that was currently connected to the main computer system on which it depended. (See offline)
Operating System (OS) Software that manages the running of a computer (such as screen resolution, keyboard and mouse control etc) enabling users to run other software programs for specific tasks.
Optical storage Optical devices use lasers to store and retrieve information in digital format on a range of media, including CDs and erasable optical disks. Compared with magnetic tape, optical storage devices can store large amounts of data in a very compact form.
Outsource The practice of employing an external supplier to provide a service for a business. Many companies outsource their computing, personnel or payroll requirements. Outsourcing is beneficial when it is more efficient and cost effective for an external supplier to provide the service than for the business to do it for itself.
Overheads Routine and maintenance costs of running a business, covering electricity, heating, telephones, etc.