Windward Studios Review

Handles Rich Text or TinyMCE and enables our clients to produce flexible Word docs


What is our primary use case?

We are using Windward to generate documents, as a solution in our application. We have a software editing application and we are using Windward to generate documents for our customers. Our customers are financial institutions and each customer implementation is a use case.

How has it helped my organization?

For our customers, it is important to have all the details related to a document, that they can find everything in one document. In addition to that, it is valuable for them to be able to export to it to Word. It is a solution that enables them to have everything in one place and accessible at one time.

Our company is using Windward because it works well with Microsoft Office. You can easily export to Word and the document is usable in Word. Whenever you export, you don't lose many features and you can treat it or process it as a Word document. This is not possible with other tools. It is easy to design templates within the Office Suite.

With this feature, it gives our clients the flexibility of using the document. We could, of course, design a very good document, but if it is only a PDF it can't used further. There isn't the flexibility to add some comments or tags, etc. With Windward, it is flexible in terms of design and, later on, the user can use it as a Word document. Everybody is familiar with Word.

In addition, the customization is important.

It has helped reduce costs. Maybe not in a direct way, helping us, but we are helping our customers to reduce their costs.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the Rich Text or TinyMCE in fields. For example, you have a text field but it is not a regular text field, it is a link. Inside this link, you can copy/paste everything: images, text, and tables together. After saving this field, you can pull it into the document.

This is valuable because our customers are processing credit applications. When they are dealing with the credit application for a corporate customer - for a loan to build a factory, for example - they need to follow up on the construction progress. This very important for the relationship manager, whenever he is doing client visits, to take pictures of the project and to document the credit application well. It is valuable for him to put everything in the credit application: a picture of the building, a copy of the building plan, financial analysis, how much the construction costs, etc.

What needs improvement?

About six months ago, we raised the possibility of improving the way they manage HTML 5. Sometimes, when you insert a lot of data in the data source, you get an error because it is not managing HTML 5 features well.

I believe they have addressed this in later versions of their product.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. When you download a version and you test, it is stable and it works fine. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You pay for scalability because there are limitations. You are limited in the number of reports generated per day. So it is scalable, you just have to pay more.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have used technical support and it is good. Sometimes, to reproduce the bug or the issue, they ask for the data source and other details, which are not easy to provide. It might help if they created a users' lab where we could try to reproduce the problem, rather than asking for the database.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We used Crystal Reports previously. We switched because, at that time, as far as I know, Crystal Reports didn't properly manage the TinyMCE field component.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. You just download it and click next, next, next. It took about ten to 15 minutes to deploy.

What about the implementation team?

We installed it ourselves. We didn't use any external people.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The only problem with the pricing of Windward is the limitation on the number of reports generated. It is costly in that sense. If you want to increase, you have to pay more, based on the number of reports generated per day. 

We compared Windward vs Crystal Reports, and their pricing structure is not the same. With Crystal Reports, you buy a license at one point in time, and that's it.

What other advice do I have?

You need to do training with Windward, and to test it to make sure that it is meeting your expectations in terms of document generation.

In our company, we have about 20 people working on document design. When we deliver our solution containing the Windward component, there is a big number of users. We have around ten clients generating 500 reports per day. We need one person per project who does both design and deployment.

As long as we have new projects and clients, our use of Windward will increase.

I would rate Windward at eight out of ten. It's not a ten because it doesn't manage, at least through our version, 15.1.69, HTML 5. Also, if you raise an issue with support, if they can't confirm it they won't help you. They just say, "If you want, we can route you to our Professional Services team," and if we need more information they charge for it.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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