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Windward Core OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Windward Core is #1 ranked solution in top Document Generation Tools and #5 ranked solution in top Reporting Tools. IT Central Station users give Windward Core an average rating of 10 out of 10. Windward Core is most commonly compared to Docmosis:Windward Core vs Docmosis. Windward Core is popular among the small business segment, accounting for 89% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 33% of all views.
What is Windward Core?

What is Windward Studios?

For over a decade, Windward has been a leader in the software development industry by creating the most innovative and advanced document automation and reporting software on the planet. 

Data-Driven Document Automation

Generate stunning documents that incorporate relevant data easily and seamlessly.

Visually Striking Designs

Our software provides innovative tools and features to build beautiful designs and stunning layouts, all within the familiar Microsoft Office Suite. Your imagination is the only limitation.

Agile Document Logic

We offer the best document automation software for the new millennium. With our conditional logic functionality, you can swiftly personalize the document content to gratify your end users. 

Huge Time Saver

Looking for faster template creation that enables you to keep pace with your business?  With our software, template creation takes minutes and you do not need any programming experience to get it done.

Exceptionally Intuitive Interface

Our program's design offers documents that can be edited, customized and designed using MS Office. Enjoy a stress-free document automation experience in programs you already know.

Efficient Savings

Significantly reduce the resources and time required for template development by using our streamlined template design and document automation tools. 

Windward Core was previously known as Windward, Windward Studios.

Windward Core Buyer's Guide

Download the Windward Core Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Windward Core Customers

HAL, Inc., Axe Group, White Clark Group, Blueprint Software, Aspect Security, Nucleus Software, LeBlanc’s Food Stores, South Sound 911, Aegon, Barclays, Fidelity Investments, ArisGlobal LLC, USDA, RepLink, AON Hewitt

Windward Core Video

Archived Windward Core Reviews (more than two years old)

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Mike Horrocks
Vice President of Product Management at Baker Hill
Real User
Easy for our end-users to use, saving them significant time in producing consistent documents

Pros and Cons

  • "Another thing our clients absolutely love is the ability to design templates within the Microsoft Office suite, because of how simple it is. They're building off of something that's familiar. When they can build off of that feature, on top of something that's very familiar, that's a plus for them."
  • "Some of our clients are looking at the nested filtering which is coming out. That's going to be a huge benefit for them because they're going to be able to nest and loop while they're also looking at filtering out certain data elements."
  • "They're not a gigantic company, so they just don't have all the capital to do whatever they would want to do. That's the only reason I would hold back even that one point. I know that if I do ask for something, I'll get it. I just know that it will take some time."

What is our primary use case?

Our banking industry clients, as they're using our system, have a need to generate documents that give them some flexibility that are unique to the clients' needs and to the circumstances at hand. But at the same time, they want consistency so that they're not breaking any regulations.

That's exactly what the Windward team provides us: that ability to have consistent generation of documents, but at the same time to give the end-user some flexibility to create whatever they need to, based on their particular circumstances.

Windward is a critical component of our next-gen solution. The solution was built around our legacy environment because we wanted to make sure that we could migrate as many clients over to it as possible, without causing disruption. Windward was a critical component of that functionality. We built it knowing full well that we would want to have Windward be a part of it going forward.

How has it helped my organization?

We decided to integrate Windward so closely with our next-gen product, in part, because we've had years of success with it in the field. It's been proven to deliver exactly what we want and exactly what we'd expect out of a solution. That was the biggest driver for us. It just flat out delivers.

I wouldn't say it necessarily improves our organization; it does so for the clients that we work with. Some of the facts I've heard include that we've been able to save our clients between 20 and 40 percent of their time in developing these documents. They're able to build them once, make the modifications they need to, if they have to, and they're consistent. It's been a really positive experience for them. I had one client who said they're seeing upwards of 60 percent improvement in terms of the time and effort needed to generate the documents that they need to for their clients. When you think about that as a part of the process, it's pretty impressive.

What ends up happening from our clients' perspective is that they're actually able to have their business users use it, versus having their IT teams involved. Anytime you can keep the IT team focusing on infrastructure and network connectivity and performance that's great. Then, the business users can build what they need and can focus on the business side of things. Also, things aren't "lost in the translation" from business to IT. A business user could express, "Well, I needed X, Y, and Z," to a particular IT person, but that person may not truly understand exactly what it is that they're trying to accomplish. If the business user can focus on doing that work, that's a huge win for them. It helps them be so much more successful in implementing their true business needs.

What is most valuable?

It's pretty easy to utilize from an end-user point of view. They're able to make adjustments and it doesn't require massive services-engagement or anything like that to make adjustments and to invoke those across the entire enterprise. In terms of layout and design, our clients can be easily trained on it. Within just a matter of hours, our training department can make it so that it's something that our users can actually be quite successful in invoking and utilizing. In that sense, it's spot on. It's simple, it's pretty intuitive, and it's robust enough that it does the more difficult documents that our clients build within the system.

Another thing our clients absolutely love is the ability to design templates within the Microsoft Office suite, because of how simple it is. They're building off of something that's familiar. When they can build off of that feature, on top of something that's very familiar, that's a plus for them. It all goes back to the ease of the customer experience. When we can train and get people up and running as fast as we can, that really speaks to the simplicity in the design of the solution.

My voice here is our clients' voices. I just don't hear clients ever complain about it where they say they wish they had something different. They're all pretty pleased with the layout.

The most valuable features vary from client to client. For a lot of our clients, it's the fact that they're able to tag that data easily and then have that invoked and pulled into the document. Some of our clients are looking at the nested filtering which is coming out. That's going to be a huge benefit for them because they're going to be able to nest and loop while they're also looking at filtering out certain data elements. Those are some areas that are going to be really enticing for our clients. 

A lot of our clients don't take the fullest advantage of it but what they love is the fact that, as they build out those documents, they're consistent each and every time. Windward's solution is just so solid that from an end-user point of view. It's really valuable in that regard.

What needs improvement?

Any time that we have wanted something, Windward has been right there to build it. I would have a hard time saying what they need to improve on. What I would say is that the industry is going to be looking for continued flexibility in terms of filtering, nesting, and building more complex, almost business-intelligence-type rules and reports. What we're going to need to see is that narrowing of the gap between the analytics and management in terms of what they're going to want to see and view. 

The more sophisticated customer is going to want some of that information shared back with them. That's going to be an area where there'll be some potential improvement. But the Windward team is constantly monitoring that. They've got this under control. We feel we're in really good shape with them.

One of the things we've continued to hear is that our users talk specifically about AutoTag and more concepts around filtering, nesting, and sorting; more flexibility around that. Windward is pushing that envelope and they're doing a great job with it. So we're happy with it.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Windward in our legacy solution for about 18 years and we've been using it in our next-gen solution ever since our initial development. We've been using it there for about three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been perfect. I can't recall when we last had an issue with Windward specifically.

We're going to update to the new version. We have an upcoming release where we're going to bring in some new code that we haven't been taking advantage of. We probably couldn't have our clients adopt to every version that they bring out. Our clients, being financial institutions, are a little bit more conservative, a little more cautious. But we're going to be making some updates in our first 2020 release. That's a huge thing for us. We're constantly looking to expand and get more utilization out of it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't seen any limitations in terms of scalability. Scalability is always one of the things that we look at. We want to be able to expand our client base and we also want our clients to expand. We've seen nothing that would indicate that we have to be concerned about that.

How are customer service and technical support?

Support doesn't funnel up through me. We do first-tier support for our clients and I'm sure, every once in a while, we've had to call Windward because something has stumped us. If there was something negative, I would have heard about it. But I haven't heard anything one way or another in terms of negativity, changes, or challenges, or support issues.

Our business partner relationship means they have been pretty straightforward and pretty good in terms of getting back to us if we need anything, in all aspects. It's not just the code, but it's the business needs, it's the contract. Anything that we need to be successful, Windward is right there behind us.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not really have a previous solution. Most of the time, before Windward, it was just Microsoft Office products.

How was the initial setup?

I'm not familiar with how the initial setup went. Remember, we embed it into our solution. So in terms of setup, that's something that our services team helps enable with clients as they set up our solution. Ours is a bit of a unique use-case.

What was our ROI?

It's the efficiency it brings to our clients' document generation. It's a hard thing to quantify, but the fact that I can have a business user write the documents and have those documents be consistent - that brings a "get out of regulatory jail"-type of benefit. Windward doesn't keep our clients compliant. It doesn't provide compliance expertise. But it provides the ability for our clients to take their compliance expertise and leverage it into their docs. That has a huge benefit.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We're constantly looking for market improvements and the like. We haven't seen anybody in this particular area that can address a couple of things. It's not just about the software. It goes back to the business side of things. It's knowing that if I had to call Windward up and say, "By the way, we need X, Y, and Z," they'd say, "We're on it." You can't get that in some partnerships. I have some partners that I wish would follow their example.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lessons we've learned through using Windward are on the business side of things. When you're building software and you're looking for partners to integrate, you've got to have someone who is truly a business partner. We got that with Windward. I have some business partners who are not on my side as much, but I need to have their software. I don't have very many of them because there are choices in the market. But sometimes there aren't a whole lot of choices. With Windward, it's the full package. It's a piece of software that solves immediate business needs and it's a business partner I can trust. They're accessible. 

You can't make a bad decision with Windward. They will absolutely support you in any of your business needs. If you're an end-user, they're going to be there. They will probably push the solution further than some of the end-users may be able to take advantage of. But the fact that they will support you is a huge benefit for end-users. From the perspective of an integration partner, someone who is trying to build a solution together with Windward, you can't beat it. You can't beat the service, you can't beat the support, you can't beat the solution itself, and the cost is reasonable. I would have zero hesitation recommending them to some other software integrator.

We have system administrators for our solution, and part of the simplicity and the elegance of Windward is that our system admins, with a little bit of training, can also be the same people who address all of the needs from a Windward design and layout perspective. We do need people to maintain it and that's mostly because our clients are constantly changing their documents. A new regulation will come out and our clients are addressing that. That's part of what we're seeing. It's just a cost of being in business.

In our organization, we don't have any end-users of Windward, because our clients use it. We have about 20,000 bankers who utilize our system on a day-to-day basis. So we can say that there are 20,000 people out there who, at any given time, could be benefiting from something within Windward.

We don't have the metrics to say how many reports have been made. Frankly, the way it's set up with Windward - and again, part of it is that he's a great business partner to have - we don't care how many docs they render. We sell it on an enterprise basis, so we just don't track the number of documents that have been rendered. It's millions of documents. It's just one of those things where, when you turn your light on you expect the light to shine. That's what we get from Windward.

I would rate Windward at nine out of ten. They're putting a lot of investment into it, but they're not a gigantic company, so they just don't have all the capital to do whatever they would want to do. That's the only reason I would hold back even that one point. I know that if I do ask for something, I'll get it. I just know that it will take some time. They're a smaller company and I totally get that. I would not expect anything else from them.

They've been very good to us.

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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Hit Mistry
Vice President at PSC Group, LLC
Real User
Leaderboard
It has streamlined a lot of our reporting processes

Pros and Cons

  • "You can use Microsoft Office as your designer interface. There is very little programming. You can have nontechnical people create reports."
  • "From an integration perspective, they provide the code for you to easily integrate with existing applications."
  • "Their PDF needs improvement. We've run into some issues when we tried to generate a Word document. If we try to generate the same document in PDF, sometimes it doesn't look exactly the same."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is for report automation.

How has it helped my organization?

It has streamlined a lot of our reporting processes. Windward gives you the ability to have a centralized reporting platform. There are many applications out there that have their own reports. Windward provides a centralized enterprise solution. For example, I had a program that I had written, which needed print capabilities. With the Windward interface, I was able create a different report platform inside of this new application leveraging Windward. Then, within a day or two, I had reports coming out of the new system, using the existing Windward platform.

  • From an efficiency perspective, it is obviously top-notch. 
  • From an integration perspective, they provide the code for you to easily integrate with existing applications. 
  • From a business perspective, it only makes sense to use Windward as your one centralized automated reporting platform.

As a systems integrator, Windward has been key to our getting acceptance for proposed projects. In fact, I often find myself pitching Windward to clients who are looking for some sort of automation, regardless of whether that requirement means a non-technical user or a technical user is involved. At this point, Windward is our go-to solution for any sort of document automation or reporting that is required by a prospect or a client of ours.

There are a couple of scenarios that we typically encounter. One is somebody that the client or prospect has already looked at Windward and has some familiarity with it, but they don't really understand how they can incorporate it into their environment or how they can leverage it for their business needs. The other one would be somebody who has never heard of Windward. They are looking for a solution and we can leverage Windward as an opportunity to earn their business.

For example, a client I was working with was working on a platform, and that platform had a very rudimentary reporting mechanism. When you went to that platform and wanted to request a report, there were a lot of parameters that you were forced to put in. The report wasn't in any sort of format. Customizing a report to the client's needs was very cumbersome. We were able not only to meet the requirements that the client wanted, but we were able to circumvent the existing reporting platform, bypass it, and leverage Windward to output the reports. That's a clear example of how we were able to integrate Windward into an existing software application.

We use it internally for outputting various types of reports. I have demonstrated that to existing clients and prospects. Anytime they're looking for this type of solution, I simply let them know that we're "eating our own dog food" here and show them how we're using it. That has really gone well for us because it demonstrates that we have knowledge of doing the integration of the product and that we have knowledge of the product — we've got resources on staff who understand the technology and how to put something together from a reporting perspective. 

It really showcases the fact that it is something that's relatively easy to use. Creating a report using some reusable components is what helps us drive our business from a reporting perspective. It has helped us tremendously when we are prospecting, and when we need to show some demos we've got something readily available that we can show.

Working with Windward as a company has helped to increase our business. As part of the partnership that we have, what Windward does is sell its product and what we do is integrate that product with existing platforms. Nine out of 10 times, Windward will get a request from a prospect in which they ask for a certain type of scenario. Windward will refer that prospect to us and we will work with Windward team, in almost a presale or sales-enablement mode, to help address any type of business concerns that the prospect may have. Whether it has been an integration or it's a technical issue, we have worked together with Windward to help solve problems for prospects.

In fact, we had one just recently where there were certain requirements that were not native to the Windward platform, but Windward was quick to say this is something that we could integrate with our product, should the need arise. From a support perspective, Windward is great because they're willing to adapt and change, based on customer requests that are coming in. As we work together as a team, it's a handshake. We'll help them out on certain requests that come in that are unique for them and, in turn, we'll do the same when we've got a reporting platform or a technical issue that we need to deal with where Windward can get involved.

Before working with Windward, we were doing a lot of custom software development. That is a lot harder to sell than trying to leverage an off-the-shelf product. Working with Windward has probably increased our revenue by at least 200 to 300 percent. 

We're working very extensively with them. It's now at the point that I have a cadence call with one of their salespeople every two weeks, just to ensure that we talk about anything that's coming into my pipeline or their pipeline and to see where we can help each other out.

What is most valuable?

You can use Microsoft Office as your designer interface. This is the best feature that I've come across. There is very little programming. You can have nontechnical people create reports. It makes it more accessible to almost anyone who knows how to use Microsoft Office. If you know how to use Office, then you know how to maintain, format, and edit a report. This has helped free up our developers for other tasks. We don't have to rely on IT anymore to make modifications to reports. We can have business users go in there and make the modifications themselves. If they need to change a certain paragraph, highlight, bold, or move something onto a different page, all that can be done by the business user just knowing how to use Word. They don't have to have any sort of programming or technical expertise. 

Its speed is where we receive key performance. The performance is fantastic. I have customers and clients who are pumping out 7,000 to 10,000 documents per week, and it's doing it flawlessly. I don't think I've had a single issue with a report not being generated as a result of the Windward Engine.

Windward's interface is quite user-friendly. I have helped more than a dozen of my clients get up to speed on how to use the Windward Designer. In all cases, two to three days is all you need to have somebody be proficient enough to start creating templates. There is very little training required, and the more technical you are, the quicker you'll pick it up. Even nontechnical individuals have had no issues getting up to speed on the product, its use, and to be able to start creating templates.

The layout and design are extremely, well laid out. They have a lot of tutorials which are available within the designer interface. So, if at any point you have any questions, you can simply search the tutorials. They provide sample templates for you, even generating code on the fly. If you need to integrate it into an existing application, you can do it in more than one language. whether it's VB, C#, Python, or Ruby. The amount of flexibility that it provides is fantastic.

Portable Object Doclets (PODs), from a usability perspective, are great. If I have a header that is needed in multiple documents, I can just create a POD for that header portion of it, then drag and drop that POD in any template that I want. I don't have to worry about recreating it in multiple places. It's simply create it once and reuse it multiple times. I don't have to worry about creating database connections, as all of that is embedded inside the POD, which makes it extremely flexible. The drag and drop capabilities are extremely easy to use.

What needs improvement?

Their PDF needs improvement. We've run into some issues when we tried to generate a Word document. If we try to generate the same document in PDF, sometimes it doesn't look exactly the same.

We have gone back to Windward support a couple of times on a few issues, e.g., we had some issues with reports that had barcodes on them. The barcode wasn't displaying properly. It was displaying as a skewed image as opposed to an actual barcode. Therefore, we worked with Windward support, having some daily calls with them. Then, within the next release, they were able to resolve the issue. They even gave us a pre-release, so we could implement it into our code before the actual official release on the website.

It would be nice to have some sort of workflow capability within the product. Anytime you generate a document, nine out of ten times there is something which precedes that document, whether it's entering parameters in, e.g., if I'm requesting the status report for a project. The first thing that I usually want from a status perspective is which project is the status report for and which week is it for, as those are some of the things that I have to supply before I can generate a document. From a workflow perspective, it would be nice to say, "This project belongs to this person, and this person is okay with me pulling information out of this document for whatever need I have."

From a workflow perspective, I would like a wizard interface that goes step-by-step, like a questionnaire, where there are a bunch of things that you have to answer, "Yes or no," before it knows what to do or how to produce the document. Right now, we write our own custom UI for this.

For how long have I used the solution?

Six years

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, so good. We've had our server here running for more than a couple of years. Other than maintenance updates on the server, I don't think we've ever had an issue with the Windward Engine stopping, forcing us to go and restart it. It's sort of like we set it and forget about it. It does what it needs to do. We have never had any issues with it.

We have had bugs from a report perspective. As far as the execution of reports and running them through the engine themselves, we have not had bugs. As long as a report runs successfully out of their designer, we've had no issues with the Windward Engine.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good. We started off with a few documents here and there. Now, we are all the way up to pumping out 7,000 to 10,000 documents a week. 

The way that they've got it licensed is pretty good as well, as you can buy it by the core. So, if I buy a two-core license, and I feel that I need to scale up, I can always purchase another two cores to make it a total of four. 

In my organization, there are probably over a dozen people using it, who are mostly developers. However, I've had folks on the business side across many of my clients use it. For example, I have a client who has over 40 people using it with about 90 percent of those 40 people from the business side.

How are customer service and technical support?

Windward support is top-notch. I don't think I've ever had an issue waiting on them for anything. They're responsive, and if there's an issue that needs to be solved, they're fairly quick to solve it. If you need something answered, they are pretty responsive and attentive to anything that comes up that is product related.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were previously using a combination of things. We were using SSRS, which is Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, and reports out of Microsoft Access. So, we were able to consolidate both of these applications and leverage Windward to do all of our reporting. We switched to Windward because it is easier to use, easier to maintain, and more cost-effective.

I came across Windward by a Google search. I was actually looking for a document-generation or a document-automation system for an existing client of ours. There were a few options that we were considering. We could have done custom development, but because of the requirements that were dictated by the client, it had to be something that was relatively easy for a nontechnical person not only to create but to maintain. That put us in a separate bucket. Custom development was really out of the picture, as it would require some sort of IT resource to make those changes and therefore wouldn't meet the requirements of the client. 

That led to my investigating existing tools that were out there. There was a handful of tools that we looked at, three or four, and I downloaded trial versions of each of those products back then. Windward happened to be the easiest to use, the easiest to get up to speed on as far as required knowledge, and I was able, believe it or not, to get something presentable to the client — a type of proof of concept — within a couple of days. And that was me not knowing anything about Windward at the time.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. A few clicks and you're ready to go. It took us less than five minutes to install.

For maintenance, as far as the actual Windward product goes, it really doesn't need anybody. Unless something happens to the hardware, the server is just constantly running. The only time you would need somebody (from a support perspective) is if you wanted to make a change or add a report to the system. So, it is very low maintenance.

What about the implementation team?

I did the implementation. I was given some requirements as far as what the organization was sort of looking for:

  • It had to be user-friendly.
  • It had to be lightweight.
  • It had to be flexible enough, so it could be used by more than just IT. 

The proof of concept along with our whole Windward experience has proven all three of these. It is also cost-effective, along with easy to use and its performance is right up there with the best of them.

What was our ROI?

It has helped to reduce costs. One of the departments that we are working with came back, and said they saw an increase of 70 percent efficiency as a result of using or leveraging Windward reports versus the old platform.

IT can now focus on strictly IT initiatives. They are not bogged down by business personnel asking them to change minor things and reports. We can now leverage the business to make changes on their own. This frees up IT resources for some more important things.

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

The pricing is fair. The way that they have it priced is the Windward Designer has a price that's associated with it. Then, depending on the number of cores that you're looking for, that is the price that you pay. The more cores that you want, the more expensive it is. Regardless of what the price is, it's still more cost-effective than some of the other reporting tools out there.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also looked at HotDocs. 

We chose Windward because it was the quickest to respond. They had a seven-day trial that was available, which was easy for me to download, and start using their application and to build out a proof of concept within a couple of hours. It was also more cost-effective than the competition, and that sweetened the deal.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend downloading a trial to see how easy it is to use. The price, technology, and performance are a natural fit for anybody who is looking to build a centralized enterprise reporting solution within their environment.

Before implementing, I downloaded a trial version, updated some trial keys, played around with the product for a couple of days, and had something up and running fairly quickly. Within a couple of hours, I had my first report. Then, I spent the next couple of days refining it, adding more sources, and getting it to a point where I could show it to the business and say, "Is this what you were looking for?" I was able to use that as a proof of concept and generate additional revenue as a result.

A lot of the tools out there today require in-depth knowledge of the tool, whereas Windward is a tool that can be self-taught very quickly. The knowledge that it takes to maintain the reporting piece on the Windward side makes it very appealing to folks who are looking to get onto a new platform. It's not something that they have to take any classes for. And one of the advantages of utilizing Windward is that it has a plethora of help tools out there, whether it be online tutorials, self-help guides, or their support site. That's where they excel and that's where their focus is as far as ensuring customers are happy with the product.

As for advice for other systems integrators, they can definitely get up to speed fairly quickly because it's not a very hard tool to learn. A lot of the work that's involved has to do with experience. A lot of the prospects that are looking at leveraging Windward for document automation purposes typically have unique scenarios and, unless a systems integrator is familiar with working with Windward as a tool, it might be challenging. The challenge is going to come in terms of how to leverage Windward or what the different levels of Windward are that should be used to ensure that you are maximizing the customer's investment in the tool. Having worked with Windward for almost five years now, we've got a very good understanding of how it can be leveraged for a client or a prospect.

One of the first things we have to do is understand what a prospect's existing reporting platform looks like, if they have one. We take a look at our options for doing the integration, whether it's something that we want to integrate with their existing product or we want to create a separate reporting platform that connects to their existing product. There are a number of ways that we can architect a solution for them. There are a number of ways that we can bring disparate sources of data together for them and really make it a solution that is suitable for them. I have clients who have used this for departments, and I have clients who have used this for specific industries, and I have clients who have used this at the enterprise and global levels as well. And I have not come across a situation yet that Windward was not a good fit for.

Windward relies on us for a lot of those unique requests that come in. If there's a client that understands how to use the Windward tool and they're simply looking at expanding their current footprint, that's not where we would come in. In that scenario, it would simply be Windward interacting with the client in terms of upgrading the licensing or moving them to the next version of the product. But if it's a completely unique situation, that is our bread and butter, where we can come in and help the prospect understand how to leverage it in their environment. We've got experience in many different technologies and having that experience in-house really goes a long way. We understand the native environment as well as the Windward environment and have the capability to connect the two together.

I've been in IT for how almost 25 years and in that time I've not come across a tool that has the flexibility of scalability that Windward has. It's provided me the opportunity to earn business in areas that I would typically struggle in. That hasn't gone really a long way, not only for me but for Windward as well. The partnership that we have is something that I think it's very important to both of us.

Based on my experience, most people who buy products that have reporting platforms built in tend to use those platforms because they feel that they are the only option they have. But that's really not the case. If they're not happy with their reporting platform, regardless of what they're using today, Windward is always an option for them to integrate within their existing environment. If you're not happy with the existing reporting platform, it doesn't hurt to take a look at Windward to see if it would be a better solution.

The biggest lesson I've learned is that no two implementations are alike. They may be very similar in nature, but almost every system that we deal with has its proprietary data source and environment, and the way it exposes that data is very different. You have to have a really good understanding of data structures. You have to have an understanding of how the business intends to use that data and of how to surface that data to an end-user.

Internally, we probably won't be increasing our business usage. Across our clients, as the amount of information coming in starts to grow and the need for reporting starts to grow, I can see there will be an uptick in terms of either the number of licenses that we're going to need or the number of people who we are going to need to get trained on creating initial reports.

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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Learn what your peers think about Windward Core. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
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Valarie King-Bailey
CEO at OTG
Real User
Leaderboard
Allows us to tag and publish documents quickly and easily, exactly the way the template is laid out

Pros and Cons

  • "The quality of the layouts and designs is second to none. Windward's ability to help us generate templates, for which we can actually tag documents, is the key feature that we use."
  • "The reason it took us so long to get the system up and running is that the APIs could be improved a bit. It could be a little bit more interoperable with software, without having to do a lot of the heavy lifting that we had do to get it in."

What is our primary use case?

Winward Studios is integrated within our solution for the development of validation documentation. As part of our solution, Windward is at the core of validation test script development where we combine expected results and actual results of validation documentation. Our clients require the ability to also use their custom-developed document templates which feature their own headers, footers, and boilerplate content. Using Winward, we have the ability to assemble and create new documents quickly.

We use Windward for generating documentation for validation projects. We do computer systems validation. Validation is a software testing methodology used by life sciences companies, and we generate hundreds and hundreds of documents.

How has it helped my organization?

When generating documents from information in a database, it's very important to be able to quickly generate them with established templates. That's where Windward sails, because Windward allows you to pick a document template. In a regulated industry, everything starts with a template and it is super-important that information be entered into templates exactly the way the template is laid out. Failure to do results in being noncompliant and there are fines associated with that. In a regulated industry, it's a hugely important point.

If it's just you using Microsoft Word, it's probably not such a big deal. But in our industry, it's a pretty big deal to be able to do that. Windward's ability to allow users to tag documents quickly and easily, and to publish them into SharePoint or whatever your doc management system is, is huge. That's how we use it.

It also helps free up developers for other tasks. Before using Windward, we had an army of people trying to make this happen. Windward has saved us both time and money because we don't have to deal with trying to get the right template to the right person, trying to get the right information into it, going from database to database. That was the major issue prior to Windward.

It saves our customers tons of money. Because each customer we work with is different - there are no two life sciences companies that do things the same way - it's difficult to put the savings into a dollar figure. But let's say I'm generating a test script. In a manual paper world, if I were to open up a Word document and create a test script, it would take about 45 minutes on average. Using the Windward system it takes six to ten minutes. It has reduced document preparation time by over 60 percent.

We use it to add personalization or conditional content to documents. Validation is, in fact, that personal content. Before using Windward, we did it on paper. We would go to Microsoft Word and start typing, and it would take 45 minutes per test script. If you think about how many tests scripts there are for an average project - about 400 test scripts - it's a significant reduction in time and money. If you wanted to add a dollar figure to that, multiply that time savings by $165 an hour. It's a significant savings.

If we didn't have the Windward system it would be hugely impossible for us to do what we do. We try to save our clients time and money and, using the Windward system, we're able to do that. If we didn't have Windward it would be virtually impossible because we'd have to do it all by paper.

Winward has allowed us to save our clients both time and money. During the validation process, we create lots of documentation. One of the biggest challenges is that validation is time-consuming. We create per project over 500+ documents. The format of the documents is key. Windward allows us to format documents to each customers specifications to ensure compliance. The key feature is that it allows us to create multiple documents in rapid fashion saving both time and money for greater accuracy.

What is most valuable?

  • Windward's ability to capture and manage document information that comes from databases
  • Ease of use 
  • The fact that it is a ubiquitous product, that it interfaces with any type of solution
  • The layout and design capabilities are fantastic; that's really the focus.
  • The quality of the layouts and designs is second to none. Windward's ability to help us generate templates, for which we can actually tag documents, is the key feature that we use.

Document assembly is the most valuable feature of Windward. This feature allows us to do document assembly for our validation documentation. Also, the document generation API is key to our ability to precisely design and develop documents for our specific application. The Windward Core Engine enables us to integrate the application into our solution with minimal lines of code. The Windward solution works extremely well with Microsoft Office and SharePoint. It is the ultimate document solution for us.

We absolutely use the ability to design templates within the Microsoft Office Suite.

We looked for a while for a solution to do what Windward does, and Windward really is the only company that does this kind of work.

What needs improvement?

One of the things that we want is the ability to tag documents more easily. The reason it took us so long to get the system up and running is that the APIs could be improved a bit. It could be a little bit more interoperable with software, without having to do a lot of the heavy lifting that we had to do to get it in. Once you get it, it's fine. But it did take a little bit of time, and that's due to the fact that the APIs weren't really there and we didn't have a lot of documentation. There was a lot of going back and forth. They could improve that.

I think the key to this solution is to make it more accessible. Cost is sometimes a consideration for our clients. It would be really helpful if the cost could be reduced to make the solution more affordable for end-users. The software is excellent and provides a breadth of functionality that no other solution offers. We searched the market for a comparable solution and there is no solution that offers comparable features. It is my hope that this application goes mainstream and used by everyone.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution for over six years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It did take us a little bit of time to get it up and running, but since it has been up and running, Windward has been bulletproof. We haven't had any technical issues, no support calls at all. I can't say enough about the product. Sometimes, when there are third-party integrations, you have a lot of technical issues and interoperability issues, etc. There has been none of that with Windward. None. Their software is really high-quality.

We have been using the solution for over six years now and found it to be very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable, it almost doesn't even need to be said. It can scale from a small system of five people to a large system with, say, 5,000 people. It's very scalable. It does the job as advertised.

How are customer service and technical support?

The company is great to work with. Everybody at Windward is super-professional. Their technical team is second to none, they're top-notch. But we really haven't had to use their technical support at all. Their product is really bulletproof. We had not had to deal with any technical issues. We've only called for informational stuff: "How do you do this or that?" But in terms of bugs, none. Zero bugs. They are very responsive. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were not using anything prior to Windward. There's nothing on the market really quite like Windward. We looked. We looked high and low. We had been trying to find a solution like this for almost eight years. We saw some that were somewhat similar to it, but none that did what Windward does.

We were actually attempting to use several solutions including some that were bespoke. They simply did not do the job so we switched

How was the initial setup?

We had originally estimated about six weeks to get it up and running but it took about three months. We have a unique application for it, so it did take a little bit more time. But it was well worth it, given the cost savings.

The initial setup was complex. I have a development team here on shore and they were working with the Windward team. We were trying to understand, because there was sparse documentation around the project product, what the best way was to merge the two applications together. That took a little bit of an "Act of Congress." There was a lot of back and forth. A lot of their team fixing stuff, my team fixing stuff. We finally got it going together.

In fairness to Windward, it was not developed to work with Validation Master, our system. But a lot of companies have APIs that are well-document and it's pretty easy for someone who has development knowledge to pick up the application and do what they need to do with it. That's where this would have been a lot easier, if we had that information. But we had to rely heavily on the Windward people to get us up and running.

Their being the good company that they are, and the good sports that they are, and the good technologists that they are, they were very patient with us. They ended up getting us up and running, and we've been up and running since that time, three years ago.

It was a classic third-party integration into an enterprise technology system. We had a roadmap, we had very specific features that we wanted to implement. We shared that with Windward. We originally tried to be independent of Windward, do it on our own, and that's where we ran into trouble. We found we couldn't do it without their help because some of their APIs just weren't documented.

From our side, we only had one developer working on it, so it didn't require an army of people. After it was deployed and configured one person has maintained it. We've had little to no real maintenance to update the system and make it work with ours. As we've updated our solution, they've rolled their solution in and made sure that they have kept up with it. We haven't had any challenges from that perspective.

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

If I have to say anything - and I almost hesitate to say anything because Windward has been such a good partner for us and such a good company - I'm starting to hear clients squeal about the price of their software. The cost of the software has gone up. If you look at Microsoft or Oracle or SAP, everybody raises the prices on their software, including us. That's the only thing that I'm hearing customers squeal about, the price of the software, vis-à-vis the functionality. There are a lot of software applications out there with far greater functionality that are actually cheaper than Windward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't have any other solutions on our shortlist. We couldn't find a solution that did what we needed to do. We needed a solution to enable us to tag a document template and, from our database, populate that document template and not alter the formatting and not mess it up. Sometimes, if a system is being populated from a database, a table is off and it's all goofy. We had a number of companies that could do document generation, but when we got the document back it was all messed up and we would have had to fix it. We publish to Windward and it's correct 100 percent of the time. We never have to monkey around with the document after it's gone through Windward.

What other advice do I have?

Documents are my life, that's how I make my living. If you're looking for a document solution that is of high quality, that does what it's supposed to do 100 percent of the time, with a company that is a quality company, Windward is the company that you're looking for. There are a lot of others out there that attempt to do what Windward has perfected.

I love the company and I can't say enough good things about them. They're good guys, a very well-run company with a quality software application which is suitable for our use. Has it made a difference in terms of us and our clients, our ability to market and sell our software and do what we do? Absolutely. It has made a significant impact.

The plan is to increase its usage. We're working on projects now where we're selling it to clients every day. To the extent that we are pushing and selling our product, every time we do a product demonstration, every time we show our product, Windward shows.

On a scale on one to ten, one being the worst and ten being the best, Windward is a 12. They're off the scale. I come from the software industry. I've worked for three software companies in my life, so I'm not a fan-girl of software. I'm more critical of software than the average person. When I tell you this is a good software application, take it to the bank. This is a great software application.

Here's the way I judge a software application: Does it do what it's supposed to do? Is it consistent? And are there a lot of issues with it? With Windward, does it do what it's supposed to do? Absolutely. Does it do it consistently and repeatedly? Yes it does. Are there a lot of problems with Windward which require a call to support every five minutes for something, or are my clients blowing my phone up because Windward broke down? Never. That's how I judge software.

Take Microsoft Office for example. I got an update from Microsoft. You know how it goes. It says your computer needs to be updated, please stand by. It updated my system, but now Outlook freezes. I called Microsoft and they said, "Oh, I know what that is. We have to do this that and the other." That's classic junky software, where software doesn't do what it's supposed to do 100 percent of the time. Every other release I have some drama with Microsoft, never with Windward.

When you look at Windward as a vendor, what I would like the world to know about them is that they're a great company to work with. Everybody from the CEO, down to folks in finance, to their technical support people, are A-number-one, top-notch professionals. They are extremely supportive of their product. They stand by their product and their product is excellent. That's what everybody needs to know. This is a great solution. If you work with documents, you need to be working with Windward.

Windward is the best solution on the market.

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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
OS
Solutions Architect at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Enables us to leverage our existing Word documents and create dynamic forms via API

Pros and Cons

  • "One of the features that we have found most important is that the report builder is in Word, so it was very easy to get into it... We could also use some of our existing Word templates."
  • "One thing that frustrated us a little bit is that we have to use the Office PDF generation, because the native PDF generation is always slightly different compared to the one in Office. The formatting is just a little bit off here and there... This means that we need to have Office installed on the server to be able to generate these documents via API."

What is our primary use case?

Dynamic document generation via API is our primary use case.

How has it helped my organization?

The product has improved our organization in allowing us to dynamically generate our customer documents - all of our contracts, application documents, and any other documents that are always dynamically dependent on the customer's details. We're able to now generate them dynamically, using a single template and a single API core, by just passing that data through. That has allowed us to streamline our document generation capability within the organization, removing work that was potentially required to do that previously.

The ability to design templates within the Microsoft Office Suite has absolutely freed up developers' time for other tasks. Report-building is not having to be done by developers. A lot of it can be done by the simple business user, if it's just a font change or replacing some static text. That can be done by the simplest of office and business users. If you can use Word, you can do that.

Some of the more complex functions, like dynamic merging in a nested loop might require a little more advanced knowledge, but anyone who uses Excel or who can write a small macro in Word or Excel would be able to do that. The learning curve is a lot simpler than any of the other report builders that are out there.

What is most valuable?

One of the features that we have found most important is that the report builder is in Word, so it was very easy to get into it. The learning curve wasn't too steep. We could also use some of our existing Word templates. We could just leverage them, whereas competing products use a proprietary report builder where you have to rebuild everything from scratch.

The other major feature is having a RESTful API that we can call to create these documents.

What needs improvement?

One thing that frustrated us a little bit is that we have to use the Office PDF generation, because the native PDF generation is always slightly different compared to the one in Office. The formatting is just a little bit off here and there. Sometimes a page-break will not appear. There are always some little differences between the native PDF and the Office PDF. This means that we need to have Office installed on the server to be able to generate these documents via API. That's been a bit of a frustrating limitation for us. 

They do continue to improve that, but because we want to maintain documents exactly as we see them in Word, we have to use the Office PDF generation, instead of the native PDF generation. And that takes a little bit longer to generate as well, whereas if it was the native generation, it would take less than half-a-second. The Office PDF generation takes a bit longer, it can take up to two to three seconds to generate a single document. So there is a bit of a performance hit there.

This is the one negative aspect that we fought through. It didn't stop us from using the solution. But it is something that we hope, over time, will improve. If they could get the native PDF generation to be one-to-one with the Office generation, that would make it an exceptionally good product for us.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've never had it crash. The stability of the solution is very good. We've had no issues with it ever crashing.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is pretty good. On our biggest days we now have to have three servers to handle the biggest loads - something like 10,000 documents per day. In general, it is not unusual to expect to have three servers supporting that sort of load. 

Overall, it probably generates some 10,000 documents for us, at least, per month, if not more. That's just off the top of my head. As our customer base grows, and if we decide to use it in different parts of the business, we would consider scaling up and using the product further.

At this stage, it is part of a crucial project that we delivered, and it's a crucial component of that project. As long as our business grows, we will consider growing that component of it, as well.

So the scalability is good. I won't say it's excellent, but it's certainly quite good, at least a six or a seven out of ten.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support rates at least a good eight out of 10. They are always very keen to help. One time we had a bit of a critical situation and I got a response from the CEO himself, very promptly. It has always been very good.

The only issue for us is that, because we were Australian-based and they're American-based, there is a little bit of a delay in their response. They don't have 24/7 support. It could be better in that regard if they offered 24/7 support. But, the support, when it is provided, is very good. It's just not 24/7.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The previous solution was home-grown, an internally-coded solution that could not be leveraged. It was for template-building, it was a hard-coded document-generating engine. We didn't even have templates for it and it was very difficult to make any changes to the documents that were generated. The documents were not very pretty. They were very not marketing- or design-friendly.

In another part of the business, we used SSRS, which is a Microsoft report builder, for some documents. But that was not really good either. As soon as you had multiple pages it didn't work very well either. We went from a home-grown, 20-year-old legacy solution to using this product.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. The solution is not very complex for what we use, meaning the RESTful service. All it required was one server to be set up with IIS and Microsoft Office installed on it.

We had a few little conflict issues that we had to check on with support, but those were specific to us. Overall, just following the instructions on their website, we were able to set up in a few hours or half a day.

Our implementation strategy was to first try it out. We did a bit of a proof of concept. We downloaded the REST API product and the demo of the report builder. We tested one of our templates with that, called it via an API call. Once we knew that that worked and it was delivering the results we were expecting, we went ahead and chose the product.

We also thought the cost was very reasonable, so we just went ahead and pulled the trigger on it. After that, we went into financial negotiations and bought the licenses to use the product in production. We then implemented the product on a more scalable server, one that was designed for production loads. We continued to test it and build reports afterward.

What about the implementation team?

It was all done internally. We did reach out a few times directly to Windward with a few queries. They were specific configuration queries for our particular use case. We deployed it in the Azure Cloud. 

It's not a very complex product and the implementation was pretty straightforward.

What was our ROI?

It's difficult to measure whether it has saved costs or not because I have no baseline to compare it to. It is functionality we required that was previously accomplished by a 20-year-old capability that didn't fit our needs anymore. We needed to invest in this, to have this. 

I wouldn't say it has saved us costs because we didn't replace manual labor with this capability, we replaced our legacy capability.

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

The pricing is very reasonable for what it provides. The report builder is about one grand per user and we're only going to ever have two or three of those. And the licenses are perpetual. If those were subscription prices, if they were annual prices, that would be quite expensive. We are paying for a support contract, which is 20 percent of the price, but because the licenses are perpetual, I think the pricing is very reasonable.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were comparing Windward to SSRS, Microsoft Sequel Server Report Services, which is one other kind of report-building product. I downloaded a few demos and tried them.

We looked at OpenText and we were thinking of OpenText as a grander solution. But at that point in time, we didn't have the capacity to go through a full procurement process, which is what would have been required for an OpenText solution. So we ended up doing a quick prototype and proof of concept with Windward.

The biggest issue I had was that all of those other solutions had a proprietary report builder, whereas we already had these documents in Word. All we had to do was use the templates we already had and just add the text fields, the form fields, and the merge fields into those documents. It was very quick for us to do the initial round of comparisons. All the other products we looked had their own report builder and we would have had to rebuild all the Word templates in a proprietary report builder.

For us, that was a key feature that we wanted to leverage.

What other advice do I have?

Do a proof of concept to make sure that it meets your needs. Check the PDF generation between the Office PDF and the native PDF. That caught us out a little bit. Make sure, if you're hoping to use the native PDF, that it is generating the documents as you want them.

If your company is a massive enterprise business, Windward is probably not entirely suited for that, although we are a pretty big enterprise and we are able to leverage it. But very big enterprises can probably spend a bit more money and do bigger programs and have programmers to do this in a more powerful manner. But any small-medium or medium-sized businesses, the 100-employee businesses, it's perfectly suited for them. Those particular segments should try Windward out, do a proof of concept.

It's pretty straightforward. You can do a proof of concept easily in a week, to see if it meets your needs.

We've been using it now in production for over six months. We started proving concept with it about a year ago.

The solution's layout and design capabilities are good. But I think there are better ones on the market. What Windward has is completely sufficient for what we wanted to do and what we required. They're basically the same as what Word offers. Anything you can do in Microsoft Word, you can do in Windward. So you can do quite a lot, but there are definitely products out there with which can do more. However, they're also a lot more expensive, and a little more difficult to use.

The quality of the layouts and designs is very good. It's better than average, an eight out of ten. Again, there are better products out there which are a lot more expensive and a lot more focused on the desktop publishing market, more so than what people use Word for. It's a slightly different requirement, but it fit our requirements.

The ability to design templates within the Microsoft Office Suite is very good. It's a seven to eight out of 10. It's exactly what we were looking for in terms of capabilities. There are other ones on the market, which have more power but, again, those are focused on a slightly different market, and a slightly different requirement.

The POD (Portable Object Doclets) feature is good but you can actually do a lot without it. It is something that makes things a little bit easier. It isn't the greatest feature in the world, but it is useful. We managed to do a lot of work without using that particular feature.

The only people using the it are the report builders. They change the templates and create new ones. We have three people who are trained up to do report building. Sometimes, we let other people try and build them. It is pretty self-explanatory, and you can do some of those changes without any training. It really is pretty straightforward, but we have three people, particularly trained up to be report-builders.

The rest of the product is used by API calls, meaning it's used by applications. We've got a Loan Originations application. A lot of different users use that application, and when it gets to the point in the process where they require documents to be generated, they just click a button, and via API we are able to produce those documents for those types of users. I wouldn't say those users are using the product per se. They're using an API that sits in front of the product.

We have one staff member who is looking after the product, not even full-time. There are three or four people trained up to look after the infrastructure component of it, but it's pretty straightforward. For them, it overlaps with a lot of the other roles that they do in terms of looking after infrastructure, servers, etc.

Overall, I rated as I did because, for its price point, it's very good at delivering what it's designed to deliver: keeping your templates in Word. Anyone who can use Word can build these templates very quickly and easily. It also allows people who have a lot of these documents already in Word, to take those documents and very easily turn them into dynamic documents that can be generated on the fly via an API. That is exactly what we needed. For what we required, the product met those needs.

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.
ITCS user
User
Real User
There is a feature to create "PODs" for data points that you will be using over and over again

What is our primary use case?

Windward AutoTag is an add-in for Microsoft Word and other products. We use AutoTag to pull in data from our software to create standard documents for all clients, and customized ones as needed.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution allows our clients to create their own custom documents on the fly. It allows clients to tweak our standard document templates to meet their needs. We didn't have this feature in the past.

What is most valuable?

It is very user-friendly, and the wizard and equation options. There is a feature to create "PODs" for data points that you will be using over and over again. You create a POD and save it to your network drive. Then all you have to do is pull it into your next document template when needed. This saves so much time when templates need to be created quickly.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see examples included within the Wiki information to show how each function option could be used.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Yes. We switched as it was no longer supported. It didn't meet our needs or our clients'.

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

It's a quick setup, and the license is on an individual basis. I'm not part of the cost or pricing conversations with our clients.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not part of the group of people that evaluated other options.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RA
Technical Manager at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Integrates easily and enables us, and our clients, to create document templates using MS Word

Pros and Cons

  • "It's easy to create templates and reports using Microsoft Word, so we don't have to learn something new to create a template. That makes it very user-friendly... they have integrated the product with Microsoft Word. People can easily start working on it without too much training."
  • "One of the things they added in the last two or three years is PODs, Portable Object Doclets. One of our clients said they wanted to use PODs. They're a good way to make some constructs modular and keep things in one place."
  • "It's very feature-rich. You can create tables, you can create graphs, you can import pictures, and those features are also easy to use."
  • "They could make the document creation performance faster. I'm not saying it's slow but it takes time to create the PDFs. If they could make it faster, that would be one area for improvement."

What is our primary use case?

It's a good product, it's efficient. We have integrated it in our wealth management product for the last eight years. All our PDF generation, client-advice, client invoices, and letter generation - any document that goes to a client - is generated through Windward in our wealth management solution. The integration works quite well.

How has it helped my organization?

Our product is a very complex wealth management product. It manages the whole lifecycle of a typical investor. In our product, we maintain four or five different types of UK tax wrappers. That's our feature. We have to communicate with all these investors. That means we have to send letters with updates and statements. If there is any trading then we have to send contract notes. There are also cancellation notices, welcome letters - tons of letters typically generated through a wealth management product.

The way the Windward product helps us is that it gives us flexibility, because we don't know, in advance, what kinds of letters and how many a client will need. Windward gives us extensible functionality where we train our clients: "Oh, you want to add a letter? Okay, here is the Windward template to start with, and you can extend it according to your requirements. Then you just drop the template and you're done. The product will pull out the data and create a letter for you through that existing in functionality."

That's a great feature which is dynamic in nature, where we don't have to lock it in with an existing screen, an existing function. We can change the data source dynamically, depending on our requirements and, using a template, fix up the data, create a report, and it does the job. Most of our clients use Windward to generate all the letters for their clients.

Having this dynamic feature is quite a good use case for our product, because we don't want to have something which is not dynamic in nature, something where we can't change features. Windward provides that functionality and that's why it's suitable for a product like our wealth management product.

It's user-friendly. As an IT and software product company, some of our guys know it, but we have trained our clients as well and they can create reports templates themselves, comfortably.

What is most valuable?

It integrates easily.

In addition, it's easy to create templates and reports using Microsoft Word, so we don't have to learn something new to create a template. That makes it very user-friendly. Anybody who uses a computer uses Microsoft Word, and they have integrated the product with Microsoft Word. People can easily start working on it without too much training. Some training is needed, but not a great amount. When we offload template creation responsibility to our clients, they learn it quickly. In a day's session, they start writing their templates.

It does require some basic abilities with "If-Else" statements and when you create a table you have to create some "While" loops to repeat different data items in the different lines in the table. Some technical knowledge is needed, at least in the context of our product, because we create a lot of complex tables and a lot of conditional statements, so when it comes to looping and logical constructs, some programming knowledge is needed. But a business analyst with minimum technical or programming knowledge can write the templates in our world. That's proof in itself that it's not that technical and it's user-friendly but some information about logical constructs, to make decisions within the template, is required.

If you leave that apart, everything else is like creating a table in Microsoft Word. So it's like creating a table, creating a graph and using the constructs which are available by default within Microsoft Word. On a scale of one to five, where five is very complex to create template, I would rate it at medium difficulty, like three out of five.

One of the things they added in the last two or three years is PODs, Portable Object Doclets. One of our clients said they wanted to use PODs. They're a good way to make some constructs modular and keep things in one place. We are using PODs and we find it very useful.

We don't use each and every feature, but what we usually use are repetition loops, table creation, dynamic graph creation based on data, importing of pictures, and multiple reports within one report using the "If-Else" construct, based on some conditions. They have hundreds of features and we are not using all of them. But we find what we use to be very easy to use, and very effective.

Finally, it's very feature-rich. You can create tables, you can create graphs, you can import pictures, and those features are also easy to use.

What needs improvement?

A few years back, we suggested they make it work for JSON because we were using XML format. They've already done that JSON formatting. From our perspective, it's meeting our requirements so we had not asked for any improvements in recent times.

I don't see any major change which could benefit us. One thing I could say, as is always the case, is that they could make the document creation performance faster. I'm not saying it's slow but it takes time to create the PDFs. If they could make it faster, that would be one area for improvement. It's not a negative at this point, but the world is moving to ultra-fast performance, so that area is something they can look at. I'd like to see improvement from microsecond to nanosecond performance because that's the kind of demand in the market, to be faster and faster.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I don't have metrics, but I can say that some of our largest clients have on the order of 1,000,000 accounts and they are generating hundreds and hundreds of letters every day using Windward. I have never seen any problems on the performance side. It's not crashing or not performing on high volume. I can't recall any scenario where a client complained that Windward was crashing.

From time to time, we get an issue here and there, but nothing major in nature. The product is quite stable and robust.

In our largest installation, our back-office users number about 250. They are using Windward indirectly because they are generating letters and, internally, they are being generated through Windward.

When it comes to concurrency, on a server with eight threads, eight concurrent connections are being used. On the design side - the people who are designing reports - at the client I was referring to, there are four people who have been trained to design documents for the product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have deployed on a maximum four-node cluster. We are using a Java server engine and we have deployed in multiple low-clusters. Four is the maximum at the moment that our clients are using, and it scales quite well.

There are some limitations to what the product can do on the deployed infrastructure, but it's not just the product, it's the infrastructure limitation as well. I haven't observed any scalability problems. We are using it on AWS and we can just scale up as per our requirements. I can't recall any problem caused by Windward.

How is customer service and technical support?

Our relationship with Windward is really good. They fix problems very quickly if we break something.

Two years back we ran into a problem, not in the product but they had provided a different type of license to one of our clients, with which we have not tested our product. We raised an issue about the problem. The support team was quite aggressive and tried to help us as soon as possible. There was commitment to help us as their clients. They were meeting all the SLAs. We haven't created thousands of issues for them, but this is one I can recall and they were quite proactive in helping us on that.

What was our ROI?

If you compare manual letter generation and automatic letter generation, with the number of letters generated by a typical client, if they were to do it manually they would need at least ten FTEs to do the work.

When it comes to the cost of integrating an automated solution, as I said, integration is quite straightforward, so we didn't have to spend too much time on this.

There's good return on investment, looking at the cost of product and the value it adds to the process. The cost of the product can be recovered easily within one year and not much more than that.

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

Pricing is something I complain about. Production pricing is okay, but for a testing environment the pricing looks a bit high to me. I have discussed this with them a couple of times, that for testing and development environments it shouldn't be priced that high. That's an area of improvement I would suggest.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

From time to time, some of our clients will ask why we are using Windward, why not the product they are using. We have done comparisons and it's comparable to any other product in the market. It does everything that the client's product does and it's already integrated, so why re-invent the wheel and integrate their product with our product?

Existing products in the market are quite comparable in features and performance.

What other advice do I have?

I don't have too much experience with other products. Some of our clients have done a comparative analysis but I don't see why I wouldn't recommend this product. It has most of the features, it is easy to integrate, it does the job, and its performance is good. Those are the things I look for. Design is easy and does not have a steep learning curve. Based on these features I would recommend it.

We use the Java API to integrate with our product. Once we integrated, we made it dynamic, as I was saying earlier, so clients can add more and more reports, more and more letters to the implementation. We have integration through API and use the API to make it dynamic, particularly from a data-source point of view, so we can chain the data set at run-time in the deployed environment. That gives us a lot of flexibility.

Different people use it in different ways, but this is the way we use it: Run-time and design time.

Some of our guys join their training, but our techies, our IT team does all the integration. We get minimal help. We just get their release and get it working in our environment.

For deployment and maintenance, we have a team of two to three people in managed services who manage the whole installation; not just Windward but the whole product. The Windward part has hardly any share of their time in terms of deployment.

This is the only product we use at the moment for document or letter generation so it has reached its maximum. There are no plans to extend it further. If, in the future, we have additional requirements, it could be extended. We have the two modes in which we are using it. One is online in our digital platform which uses this product for all the document generation. The other is the back-office side, where bulk letter-generation also uses Windward. I don't see any additional use cases coming; we are using it in all possible scenarios.

Overall, we don't have any problems with Windward, and that's why we've had it for eight years; otherwise, we would have changed it. It's a good product, it's being enhanced over time, they are not stagnant. They keep changing, adding new and useful features - useful to us and to our clients.

I would give Windward a nine out of ten looking at the support and the ease of use of the product.

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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Juriaan Kloek
IT implementation consultant at BearingPoint Caribbean
Consultant
Provides us with good, reliable, dynamic document-generation performance

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is that it provides good, dynamic document-generation performance and the documents are being generated reliably."
  • "For the designer we use AutoTag which is a Microsoft Word plugin. In general, it's easy to use, it doesn't have a very steep learning curve. It's not difficult, for people who know Microsoft Office well, to start using the AutoTag tool... It feels just like you're in a Microsoft Office environment with some extra functionality."
  • "Regarding AutoTag, we do notice that when you want to refactor a little bit of your template design or when you want to implement changes, sometimes you need a lot of clicks to get the change done. For instance... it would be helpful to be able to find all the identifiers with the old name and replace them with the new name. We haven't found a way to do that with the find-replace tool. Throughout the user-interface of Windward, you need a lot of clicks to get that done."

What is our primary use case?

The use case is that we are building a backend application for the tax office here in Curaçao. The tax administration sends out documents to people who need to pay taxes. All the communication, all the letters, are designed using Windward products and are also generated by Windward engines.

We are not using it as a report-generation tool. We are using it more as a letter/document generation tool. With the functionality of Windward, we can adjust the documents dynamically to the individual needs of every taxpayer. The "if this then that" functionality in Windward allows us to design the documents dynamically so that there is only information on the document that is relevant to the taxpayer.

How has it helped my organization?

Before using Windward, we were using another document creation tool and this old tool required some very specific, technical, XSLT knowledge, which was scarce. We didn't have a lot of people with this knowledge and it's also scarce in the market. By changing to Windward, the whole technical challenge of creating a document has been eliminated.

Our business users who are like business consultants in our company are now able to design documents together with our customers. Before, the business consultants were only able to draw up specifications which had to be sent to the technical guys who would actually create them. We eliminated one step in the whole process of development.

In addition, in the future, we are aiming for a situation where our customers will be able to maintain their reports or their documents by themselves. Because it is a Microsoft Office plugin, and our customers are familiar with Microsoft Office, we expect that in the future they will be able to maintain their reports by themselves. That would be more efficient for everybody and eliminate yet another step in development.

As for the ability to design templates within the Microsoft Office Suite, it works fine. We primarily use Microsoft Word, but lately we have also been generating reports with Microsoft Excel. Excel requires a little bit more technical knowledge, especially about Excel, of course, to be able to create good documents. But the document creation process has been simplified a lot and we can now allow colleagues with more of a business background and knowledge of Microsoft Office to create documents that work. The technical XSLT guys are not required in this part of the process anymore, so they are now spending their time on other technical issues.

These technical guys were really scarce in our company, so if we had had to the pull off the project that we did here in Curaçao, that went live with Windward, we would have had to hire more technical guys or train more technical guys to get all the reports, all the documents designed, doing it the old way. That wasn't necessary.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it provides good, dynamic document-generation performance and the documents are being generated reliably. These are very important features to us. 

In the report-designing area, we are using quite a bit of functionality to adapt all the documents. We're using Import Tags and Out Tags, we're using For-Each loops, we're using headers, footers, custom font types, watermarks & barcodes. We're using a whole bunch of functionality and it all works reliably.

For the designer we use AutoTag which is a Microsoft Word plugin. In general, it's easy to use, it doesn't have a very steep learning curve. It's not difficult, for people who know Microsoft Office well, to start using the AutoTag tool. The plugin has an easy look and feel. It feels just like you're in a Microsoft Office environment with some extra functionality. It's well done. The quality is good, there are no layout glitches, no design glitches in the front end of AutoTag designer.

What needs improvement?

Regarding AutoTag, we do notice that when you want to refactor a little bit of your template design or when you want to implement changes, sometimes you need a lot of clicks to get the change done. For instance, if only one identifier's name is changed and you need to change that identifier throughout your documents, it would be helpful to be able to do a find-and-replace, find all the identifiers with the old name and replace them with the new name. We haven't found a way to do that with a find-replace tool. Throughout the Windward user interface, you need a lot of clicks to get that done. That can be a somewhat tedious task. If you want to do somewhat more technical tasks, the front end can be a little bit slow or inefficient because you need to perform a lot of clicks to get the technical change done.

Also, there's always a little bit of a struggle for our customers to get the licensing done. That is because we develop on a platform that would prefer a Java Engine. The platform will communicate better with a Java Engine. The platform also does install with many instances, and the problem is that for every instance you have to pay for a license which will then increase the cost enormously.

Instead of using the integrated Java Engine we are now using th RESTful engine, which is kind of like a standalone Windward instance that we can call as a service. It generates documents for any of the instances that we want. So instead of having ten Java instances, we only need one RESTful instance for the same functionality, and for one-tenth of the cost. So even though the preferred technical implementation is Java, we are using RESTful, simply because the licensing costs are a lot less. I find it a bit of a shame that the business model doesn't allow us to use the preferred technical implementation.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. We haven't had any issues.

We have only done one update of the Windward product, after we asked for some error-handling functionality, and Windward built that for us. They released a new update that included error-handling and we updated our product at that time. That caused some issues. Upgrades are usually when some templates will start working a little bit differently and we might need to change little things here and there, but there wasn't anything big. As long as we don't upgrade the product again, I don't expect any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

With the RESTful engine, we are able to very easily scale, because the RESTful engine is set-up as a standalone service: we just call it with a Rest-message and it returns a document. We can send requests to that service from any application that we want and generate documents.

The Java Engine, on the other hand, needs to be installed on every instance of the product that we are building. Even though that integration would be preferable from a technical point of view because it would eliminate a lot of requests to another server, requests that create overhead, the business model simply is not scalable. We cannot pay for every instance that we install.

How are customer service and technical support?

Whenever I have an issue, I submit it to technical support and they always answer within the same day, mostly within a couple of hours. Usually, the problem is solved that same day. Within Windward support there are two lines of support. There's the lighter helpdesk and if they cannot fix the problem you get through to the more technical guys. All the problems that we've encountered so far have usually been fixed within two or three days. It's been a pretty good experience.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are using the BeInformed platform which is a low-code platform, a process-modeling platform to build applications. This suite had document generation tool integrated. It's not a very well-known tool but it was an FOP and XSLT-based technology they used to generate PDF documents.

We switched because our document generation process was tedious generating a lot of errors. Our business consultants would draw up specifications and send them to the technical guys who would then use the FOP and XSLT technology to design those documents. Of course, the technical guys don't always understand the business so the documents would come out differently than expected. There were a lot of issues, and by eliminating that whole step, the whole document generation process is a lot more efficient. It's a lot easier to design the right documents with a customer looking over our shoulders while we're designing the documents in Microsoft Word.

How was the initial setup?

We did a proof of concept when I started a few years ago. It was not straightforward for me but I also had almost no experience with this whole integration of platforms and tools. It was the first time that I was integrating a new tool into an IT system that already existed. I was surprised that I got good results within one month, when going back and forth with Windward support. I was surprised that it worked out so quickly and so nicely. If I were to do it again today and I things might be more obvious, but I was surprised that everything was working pretty quickly.

Things that came across as complex included connecting with a database or installing the right forms on the server. They were technical things that you forget or you don't know how they work or haven't seen them before.

The setup is a continuous process. Until today, we are reconfiguring things, adding new functionalities. It never really finishes. We got the first version up and running after one month for the proof of concept and another month for implementing it into the actual product.

Our implementation strategy was "just do it." 

The easy part of this project was that it was a new project, so there were no documents being generated yet in an old-fashioned way. We do have customers running with our old technology, which we did not migrate. So it was kind of easy for this project to just implement Windward because there was nothing else anyway. Instead of going down a known route, we took an unknown route which turned out to work pretty well.

What about the implementation team?


We did everything in-house, mostly by myself, with the support of Windward and my colleagues. 

We had one template designer who focused on the AutoTag part. We had our general deployment guys, our deployment department, that configured all the servers and the engines - not only internally but also for our customers. We definitely needed their experience as well. There were three people working on it most of the time but not full-time.

What was our ROI?

It would be difficult to measure whether Windward has reduced cost in our organization. It would be very difficult to measure because we don't have a "before and after" situation. The only thing that I do know is that the whole process of document design has been a whole lot smoother with fewer errors, which, of course, means less cost to fix them. But as the whole thing just happened under the umbrella of an even bigger project in which we didn't use an alternative document generation technology, it's very difficult to measure the before and after situation.

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

From my experience in this field, the product is reasonably priced, at least with the RESTful engine implementation. It's definitely not a cheap option. People say, "That's a fair amount of money to pay for a document generation tool." At the same time, you do get good functionality and the support is good. You do get something back for your money. So that's good.

We work in the Caribbean with small island developing states (SIDS). We do notice for some small island communities the license costs are a real bottleneck. So we cannot implement this solution in their environments because the license costs are too steep. It's a matter of a scaling disadvantage in this region because some islands just have 20,000 or 30,000 inhabitants and they need a whole independent IT system for tax administration. That's a big investment for such a small community. Sometimes, just because of cost savings, we cannot implement the preferred solution. That's part of being here in the Caribbean.

You need some kind of scale to be able to afford something like $16,000 to $17,000, for a document generation solution, and we are not always able to reach that scale with our customers here. That simply eliminates Windward as an option. It limits the business of Windward in this region.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before we started the proof of concept on Windward two-and-a-half years ago, we did market research on document generation tools. I did download and try out Crystal Reports. The look and feel of Crystal Reports is something like Windows XP, or it was at that point. The look and feel of the AutoTag plugin and the designer of the Microsoft 2017 plugin was a lot better. 

We also went with Windward vs Crystal Reports because we had in mind that our customers, at some point, would be able to maintain their own reports. Our customers are mostly proficient in Microsoft Office and not in another tool. So we found that to be a big plus.

What other advice do I have?

I was contacted by a Dutch guy recently who was considering using Windward for one of his projects. So I told him more or less what I said above: that we have had a good experience, that it's a solid tool and stable tool, which is not too difficult to use for a Microsoft Office user. Also, the support is pretty good. We use other third-party software as well but in my opinion, the Windward support has been the best support I have experienced so far.

We don't use PODs (Portable Object Doclets) because we prefer to use Import Tags and sub-templates. Once you insert the PODs into a template, they're physically there in the template and they will not update as you update the POD. However, with the Import Tag, when you update the sub-templates, the change will automatically be committed to all the main templates that call the sub-templates. It's easier, for maintenance of your template repository, to use the Import Tags with the sub-templates rather than the PODs, where they physically insert the code or a piece of functionality into your template. We're not using Windward as a reporting tool to report, like people who have management reports based on database information. Rather, we're using Windward as a document creation tool which generates thousands of almost identical documents, that are specific for each taxpayer.

Staff requirements for day-to-day maintenance depends. Once a document is finished, our customers have agreed on the template, there's not much maintenance left to do. It's only when the customer requires changes or sees bugs that we need to do changes. We don't spend a lot of time with maintenance at this point.

We have two projects that are using Windward at the moment. With these two projects, there are about ten people who touch the Windward solution. They include the AutoTag designer and the more technical RESTful engine and deployment area.

For me so far the Windward document generation software is the preferred solution for creating documents. That means that we will always advise our customers who need documents created or who need to update their document generation process, to use Windward. We will implement Windward with them. We have one big project going on now that has Windward implemented, and one smaller project. Our company runs three or four big projects at the moment, and about ten or 15 smaller ones. There's still a lot of room for change and there's a lot of room for Windward implementation.

We've recently started to use Windward not only for document generation but also for actually creating management reports. I believe that that is how most Windward customers use the tool, to generate management reports based on data in a data warehouse in an SQL database or any database. Whereas our initial use case was document generation, which has a slightly different philosophy, because in the document generation you don't want to necessarily always display the most recent data, you want to display data from the moment that the document was initially created. We have more static data saved in XML files. Our data source is not a SQL server, but rather they are XML files.

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.
LZ
Head of Client Evolution And Services at AxeFinance
Real User
Handles Rich Text or TinyMCE and enables our clients to produce flexible Word docs

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "About six months ago, we raised the possibility of improving the way they manage the 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."

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 are 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 solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

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.
Hit Mistry
Vice President at PSC Group, LLC
Real User
Leaderboard
Easily integrates into existing apps with little coding

What is our primary use case?

Simple and intuitive with a focus on business teams being able to support/maintain reports. It was important for us to aggregate data from external disparate systems and combine it onto a single report. Windward has no limitations on the number of data sources or number of pages a template can have, which made it the obvious choice. Leveraging native capabilities of MS Office (i.e., formatting text, page numbering, resizing images, etc.) saved us a ton of time that we would have spent coding on other platforms.

How has it helped my organization?

Windward helped automate reports which otherwise would have needed IT to create and maintain. We went from an IT driven task to a user driven initiative.

What is most valuable?

It has the ability to easily…

What is our primary use case?

Simple and intuitive with a focus on business teams being able to support/maintain reports. It was important for us to aggregate data from external disparate systems and combine it onto a single report. Windward has no limitations on the number of data sources or number of pages a template can have, which made it the obvious choice. Leveraging native capabilities of MS Office (i.e., formatting text, page numbering, resizing images, etc.) saved us a ton of time that we would have spent coding on other platforms.

How has it helped my organization?

Windward helped automate reports which otherwise would have needed IT to create and maintain. We went from an IT driven task to a user driven initiative.

What is most valuable?

It has the ability to easily integrate into existing apps with little coding. If you know how to use MS Office, you can create a report.

What needs improvement?

  • It needs the ability to drill down in a single report (i.e., interactive) into data. 
  • The next release could benefit from a cloud-based environment.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is one of the bet I have seen. Very responsive and very quick to help resolve issues.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is straighforward. Typical setup takes about 10-15 min.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Our company has certified staff who integrate Windward products into new or existing solutions.
it_user838203
Co-Owner at a tech company
Real User
Allows me to generate complex reports directly inside Word or Excel

Pros and Cons

  • "The two features that I like the best are the ability to generate Word and Excel documents, and the ability to create my templates directly inside those software sets. It's absolutely critical for me as a user to have design and layout control, because all of my reports are very, very customized. I have to have control over the ability to generate and to control what they look like."
  • "There is always room for improvement in the speed, especially with the complex, multi-line Excel spreadsheets. They made some improvements in the last version that are quantum-fold faster than when I first started. But there is always room for improvement there. You always want reports faster and faster."
  • "There are some Excel formatting things that you lose when you implement a template: some default Excel validation scripts, macros. You could create them in Excel if you were just using Excel, but in creating a template that generates a report, some of those validation things are lost."

What is our primary use case?

Report generation.

How has it helped my organization?

It's tough to give you an example of how it's improved things, because I really wasn't doing anything of this nature prior to implementing the solution. So it's hard for me to give you an example of that. I can say that, in implementing this solution, I was able to meet and exceed the project goals I had towards the deliverable, and what that deliverable would look like.

What is most valuable?

The two features that I like the best are the ability to generate Word and Excel documents, and the ability to create my templates directly inside those software sets.

It's absolutely critical for me as a user to have design and layout control, because all of my reports are very, very customized. I have to have control over the ability to generate and to control what they look like.

What needs improvement?

There are some - and they've made some positive changes to this already - but there is always room for improvement in the speed, especially with the complex, multi-line Excel spreadsheets. They made some improvements in the last version that are quantum-fold faster than when I first started. But there is always room for improvement there. You always want reports faster and faster. Everybody wants instantaneous reports, doesn't want have to wait. Anything that can be done to speed that up would be an enhancement, for me. 

The other thing that I have requested that would be nice, there are some Excel formatting things that you lose when you implement a template: some default Excel validation scripts, macros. You could create them in Excel if you were just using Excel, but in creating a template that generates a report, some of those validation things are lost. You just don't have the ability to create them before they are spit out. That would be a nice enhancement to see.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not noticed any stability issues. It's a very stable platform, once you get your template built.

Now, in learning to build the templates, you will experience some learning curves, learning what works and what doesn't, and how you have to, like in any software, implement things. But once you have a stable template built, it's extremely stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Since I've only been implementing it for a year, we haven't pushed it to its limits yet. I'll probably know more next year, and in the years to come, how scalable it is.

It seems as though it's going to be completely scalable for me, at this point. It doesn't seem like I'm going to hit a limitation for resources or anything like that. But again, this might be a hard thing for me to answer since we only implemented a year ago. I implemented it as a pilot last year for a new project, to prove that it was possible to do. It was very successful. And now it's starting to be scaled this year a little bit further. In the years to come, we'll continue to scale it further and further. It is possible I could hit some scaling thresholds it won't scale past. But at this point I'm not aware of them.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have used tech support on a number of occasions. I haven't done any official training on the product, I just use their Wiki page and send questions to support as I need them. I would always have an answer within 24 hours. It's not always the answers you want but, like all support, it's the answer you get.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The only report generation I had done prior to this, was creating our own HTML reports. It was very time consuming and tedious. I wanted to find a software set that would allow me to generate Excel and Word reports that would look the way I wanted them to look. I am a non-programmer, so I needed a software set that would allow me, as a non-technical programmer, to be able to accomplish that.

I did evaluate building a custom solution, but the cost of producing reports of this complexity, and building it myself from scratch, would have taken me three to possibly even 10 times the amount of time it took me to create these templates. And instead of creating them myself, I would have had to employ developer resources to create them. The cost would have been quantum-fold more than what we've invested in the Windward solution.

How was the initial setup?

It was extremely straightforward. It's pretty much out-of-the-box. If you can use Excel or Word you can figure out how to create Windward template.

There is a learning curve, as with all things with complex pieces, when you want to get a lot more detailed. But we, with no official training, have been able to create some what I feel are pretty robust reports.

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

For what you're getting, it's an extremely good value.

I implemented, I believe they call it a single-core license. It's working just fine for me. I can see where, at some point, I'm going to want to upgrade and invest in a multi-core license, because I want to expand this into other product offerings, because it does such a good job.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

This is my first foray into reporting software. I did evaluate Crystal Reports, and some other well known reporting software. It just seemed to me that Windward would be easier. And I loved the idea of being able to generate templates myself in the programs that I wanted to have as the ultimate reporting tool, like Word and Excel. That was the selling point to me. I hadn't used any in the past, so I had nothing to compare it to. That was my decision-maker, that's why I went with Windward.

What other advice do I have?

At this point we really only have four or five different templates. We're generating documents through a Web portal. There are lots of documents being created but they're all being created off of four or five different templates. But the templates we've created are pretty complex. We're generating directly from a Web-hosted SQL database.

If you like to play with software and learn it for yourself, you would be just fine doing as I did, and going through the Wiki pages. But if you have immediate project needs, I could see that consulting and training would be extremely useful for it. It took me, probably, three or four months to get my reports where I really wanted them, and learn all the nuances of the software. But I like to play with software and I wanted to learn it that way. That was a choice I made. 

That would be my only advice: To evaluate whether you may want additional training and consulting services to go with the purchase.

I don't think I will ever give anybody a 10 out of 10 because there are always slight areas for improvement. But I think that their product does exactly what they say it will. They deliver what they say so there is not a lot that they can do to improve.

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.
it_user195528
COO/VP Operations & Software Exec at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Integrates into our software solution and allows us to quickly create/update templates

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are the ability for it to be integrated into our software solution and the AutoTag tool that allows us to quite quickly create and update the templates themselves."
  • "A lot of clients who want to use this don't have the technical background for the SQL portion of gathering the data. If Windward were to make a more user-friendly SQL extract front-end, that would help a lot of clients to leverage the application a lot more."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use for the solution is that we create legal agreements for our clients by using data within our database.

They're usually legal agreements, they could be negotiation documents, all about what's called right-of-way, which is asking people for use of their property for electrical lines and gas lines, etc. That's what it's used for across all of our client base. In terms of the number of templates we have, it has to be in the thousands, because of the number of clients that we support with the solution.

How has it helped my organization?

It's hard for me to say because we've had this product ever since we started our solution. We really could not have started our business, quite honestly, without a document generation engine like Windward. We couldn't have done it without it.

What is most valuable?

The ability for it to be integrated into our software solution and the AutoTag tool that allows us to quite quickly create and update the templates themselves.

Also, the ability for users to have design and layout control is very important because, as we all know, things change and regulations change, so they need to be able to modify things as the business changes.

What needs improvement?

We've been working with Windward and the executives over there over a number of years and they've been quite flexible and helpful with all of our challenges.

If I were to think of one thing - and this is really an opportunity, not something that's a deficiency - a lot of clients that want to use this don't have the technical background for the SQL portion of gathering the data. If Windward were to make a more user-friendly SQL extract front-end, that would help a lot of clients to leverage the application a lot more.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, we have encountered stability issues, but I think they were more when we were changing from one licensed product to another, and how we configured our system. We had some issues with the licensing, but that was resolved by Windward a long time ago.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not seen any scalability issues, I have not seen a performance issues. Usually when we do, it has to do with the SQL portion of it.

How are customer service and technical support?

They are good. They give us the information we need to help troubleshoot where we are at.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I don't believe we had another solution at the beginning. We started, and have stayed, with Windward.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward.

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

It is absolutely worth the value. 

They have flexibility, depending on what you're looking for from a buying standpoint. The current pricing models are quite flexible, with the ability to use it on an as-needed basis, or to get a perpetual license that covers a customer that might have extensive needs. I think it's pretty good.

What other advice do I have?

We solely connect to our own solution database, our geoAMPS right-of-way database. We create PDF, Word, and Excel for the most part.

We did not consider building a custom solution because we wanted to be able to concentrate on our core business, which is supporting our customers. And we wanted to concentrate on their businesses, not on the document generation itself, so we looked for a third-party solution that concentrates on document creation.

In terms of advice to others who are considering this type of solution, first, really confirm what your volume is going to be, and pick the solution that best meets your volume needs. If you're close to the higher volume level, that's what you should pick because that will reduce any kind of interruptions.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
it_user831804
IT Manager Applications with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Provides our users control over design/layout of reports, but document distribution capabilities would help

Pros and Cons

  • "The integration with MS Office is an advantage, creating a better user experience."
  • "The ability for users to have design and layout control is very important because it allows them control over the design and layout of their reports, without the help of IT."
  • "They should add a document distribution solution on top of the document generation capability. It should allow us to send the generated document to a certain recipient (e.g. customer contact’s email address) based on a business-rules management system. That system would allow the end-user to manage a relationship between a document template and its recipient."

What is our primary use case?

Document generation based on a structured format originating from different source applications, such as CRM, WMS, MES, and ERP systems.

How has it helped my organization?

End users receive the reports they dreamed of.

What is most valuable?

The integration with MS Office is an advantage, creating a better user experience.

In addition, the ability for users to have design and layout control is very important because it allows them control over the design and layout of their reports, without the help of IT.

What needs improvement?

They should add a document distribution solution on top of the document generation capability. It should allow us to send the generated document to a certain recipient (e.g. customer contact’s email address) based on a business-rules management system. That system would allow the end-user to manage a relationship between a document template and its recipient (email, fax, document repository, etc.).

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues with scalability.

How is customer service and technical support?

Very good.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward.

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

CapEx fits our requirements, OpEx is higher due to the 20% service and maintenance cost, where we normally pay 15%.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Several solutions.

What other advice do I have?

So far, we have only created a few templates in a pilot project: two for our foundry department and one for our quality control department. Our data source is a REST service call. Output in PDF format.

Our output performance requirements, when making our decision regarding a solution, were more than met by the product offerings.

We did not consider building a custom solution. Our vision and strategy are based on the use of commercial, off-the-shelf, standard, packaged solutions. If those do not exist or do not fulfil our requirements, we build our own solutions. In this case, there were multiple alternatives available.

Regarding advice, the success of the product hinges on training the key users in using all functions of the product.

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.
JM
COO at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Allows our clients to maintain templates directly, but upgrades sometimes break elements

Pros and Cons

  • "Managing templates through MS Word, as non technical users can manage output."
  • "It needs better support for upgrades and more control over layout of elements. Upgrades tend to break existing output. Elements do not position where expected due to insertion of blank lines and page breaks. It takes time to fix these through trial and error."

What is our primary use case?

Generating PDF documents as well as Excel and Word documents, between 20 and 40 templates. The content of these documents is mainly for producing insurance quotes, policy, and claims documents. Data source is XML.

How has it helped my organization?

It means we can let our clients maintain the templates directly, without our involvement. Previously, it was very messy and clients were not happy with the costs of maintaining and updating templates.

What is most valuable?

Managing templates through MS Word, as non technical users can manage output.

Also, it is very important from a sales point of view for users to have design and layout control, as our clients don’t want to be locked into relying on technical staff to do changes.

What needs improvement?

It needs better support for upgrades and more control over layout of elements.  Upgrades tend to break existing output. Elements do not position where expected due to insertion of blank lines and page breaks. It takes time to fix these through trial and error.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes, but very rare.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used our own solution based on iText but wanted something easier for non-developers to use.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was in between straightforward and complex. We had to do quite a bit of work to migrate all templates into Windward format and to build an admin panel to let our clients access the templates to update them.

The main issues were because our clients' own Word templates, that they had been using for manual PDF generation, were not very well set up. For example, inconsistent use of styles, mixed use of tabs and spaces to line up elements, and in some cases, including massive images.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

iText and Jaspersoft.

What other advice do I have?

We were looking for generation to average three to five seconds. Our main requirements, though, were being able to have non-developers create templates and generate Word and PDF formats.

To others who are looking into implementing Windward, the main advice would be to really simplify and clean up your Word templates first.

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.
HM
.Net Developer - Data Analyst
Real User
AutoTag integrates with MS Word tags, allowing dynamic TOC updates

Pros and Cons

  • "​Creating dynamic table of contents (TOC) based on dynamic data in different reports."
  • "Technical support is ​very good. They reply immediately and follow-up with any questions.​"
  • "​A useful, ​easy to use product, which has a lot of features for designing reports."
  • "​The tool does not support macOS documents."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to create different reports.

We connect using SQL Server.

How has it helped my organization?

It saves our time in designing reports. It creates better layouts and performance. We already have more than 20 templates.

We output PDF and Word formats.

What is most valuable?

Creating dynamic table of contents (TOC) based on dynamic data in different reports. We have different reports generated by users. After generating the report, the user will modify it and add some pages to it. Thus, we need to be able to update the table of contents.

In all other reporting tools, the table of contents is generated based on bookmarks of everything the user wants in the TOC. That means page numbers in the TOC generate at runtime and, if you modify the report, you can’t update the TOC. But AutoTag, follows same tags as Microsoft Word, and you can update the TOC any time after generating your report.

Designing different reports with a variety of features, such as a graph, TOC, using different conditions (like if, then, else, and loops), and layout controls, are essential in report designing.

What needs improvement?

The tool does not support macOS documents. 

AutoTag generates only Microsoft Office docs. If you try to generate a report on the macOS, you will get error. You can open a saved report on macOS but you can’t generate it directly on macOS.

I cannot suggest more improvements at this stage as I am a new user. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Trial/evaluations only.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We are using this tool in a pilot state. There are no issues at the moment.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good. They reply immediately and follow-up with any questions.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used C# codes for generating reports. Due to upgrading technology, we decided to use a better tool.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Intelledox, Stimulsoft, Crystal Reports, and DevExpress.

After evaluating different reporting tools and inquiring some Windward clients, we decided to opt for this tool. 

We did not consider building a custom solution.

What other advice do I have?

A useful, easy to use product, which has a lot of features for designing reports.

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.
it_user831807
CTO and EVP
Real User
We can develop any report at least five times faster

Pros and Cons

  • "We can develop any report at least five times faster.​"
  • "The Windward solution was very fast to rollout, and it is proven."
  • "The usually the response is within one hour. The technical support will WebEx with you. I rate them as a 10 out of 10."
  • "​AutoTag needs to be web-based, so our customers can create reports from our web.​"

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for reporting.

MySQL is our source on the cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

We can develop any report at least five times faster.

We only have four templates right now. We are planning to create 40 more. Most of our reports are operational reports. 

Output performance is very important. We output PDF and Word formats. We will be using Excel format soon.

What is most valuable?

PDF and Word reports are so easy to create.

It is very important for users to have design and layout control. We create a lot of custom reports for our customers, so flexible and ease of use are critical.

What needs improvement?

AutoTag needs to be web-based, so our customers can create reports from our web.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Most of the issues are our fault because we did not understand the products.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

The usually the response is within one hour. The technical support will WebEx with you. I rate them as a 10 out of 10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used a custom solution. A custom solution needs a lot of work.

How was the initial setup?

It took us a week to get everything set up. It was because we were busy and could not focus on it. 

What about the implementation team?

Windward technical support was helpful.

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

They are fair and flexible. They are willing to work with your current architecture to make sure you have the best deal.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated a lot of other options, but this is the best for our architecture and the easiest to integrate with our app.

The Windward solution was very fast to rollout, and it is proven. A custom solution costs a lot of money to build.

What other advice do I have?

You will need a Windows machine to install AutoTag. AutoTag is the key. Once it is setup, your reports will be running without any issues.

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.
Paul Fendley
Web Specialist
Real User
AutoTag allows our users to design templates based on their differing needs

Pros and Cons

  • "AutoTag is valuable because it integrates with MS Word and makes it easy for our users to create template documents and reports. It allows our users to design the templates based on differing needs."
  • "Is there any way to avoid AutoTag loading in Word/Excel each time? I need to use it from time to time - quite rarely. AutoTag affects performance of Word/Excel. I do not want to install/uninstall AutoTag each time I need it."

What is our primary use case?

Allow law firms to create template documents based on data drawn from our application. Allow bank users to create reports based on their debt portfolio

The template documents are all legal documents created during the collection process of a foreclosure file. We have developed a couple of dozen templates so far.

How has it helped my organization?

The templates used to have to be filled out individually for each file. We currently have over 5000 files active in our system, so this saves the user a lot of time.

What is most valuable?

AutoTag, because it integrates with MS Word and makes it easy for our users to create template documents and reports.

We have multiple banks using our system, and they all have different formatting needs. AutoTag allows our users to design the templates based on differing needs of the banks. So the ability Windward provides for users to have design and layout control is important.

What needs improvement?

I do not have enough experience with it to give an accurate answer. It works great compared to what he had, and the support we have received has been fantastic.

One thing I haven't found a way around so far: Is there any way to avoid AutoTag loading in Word/Excel each time? I need to use it from time to time - quite rarely. AutoTag affects performance of Word/Excel. I do not want to install/uninstall AutoTag each time I need it.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Have not run into any issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Excellent, to this point.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Custom solution, as noted elsewhere in this review.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward, nothing complex.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at a couple of others, although I do not remember the names.

What other advice do I have?

I have just started using the product within the last six months and would give it a rating of eight out of 10, currently.

We connect to a SQL database using JSON and output using Word, Excel, and PDF. Our output performance requirements, when making our solution decision, were integration with MS Office suite and the ability to create documents and reports. We did build a custom solution and it was very limited and restrictive.  We needed something with more options that integrated better with MS applications.

It is a good product, and I would not hesitate to recommend 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.
it_user826689
Business Technology Analyst
Real User
Graphics, design/layout control, and flexibility are key reasons we chose this product

Pros and Cons

    • "We would like to shrink these reports into one page, because there is a lot of free space on one page, but we cannot shrink it into the one page to be shorter. This is one thing we would like to change."

    What is our primary use case?

    Generic reporting.

    How has it helped my organization?

    As of now we don't have a lot of experience with this tool because we have only been using it for one month. So we haven't made much progress, as an organization, with it yet.

    What is most valuable?

    I think it is a very flexible tool, that is one reason it is valuable for us. But the graphics and pictures in the reports are the most important.

    The ability for users to have design and layout control is also very important for us. This is why we chose Windward. 

    What needs improvement?

    Maybe just one thing: We would like to shrink these reports into one page, because there is a lot of free space on one page, but we cannot shrink it into the one page to be shorter. This is one thing we would like to change.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Less than one year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I think this is fine, but for now our external provider is doing prioritization for us so we don't have experience with this. But I think it is flexible enough. For now, we haven't had any problems with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We have not used tech support yet.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    For now I have only had experience with Crystal Reports.

    We were searching for something that is suitable and pleasant for our customers, user-friendly and so on. This was the most important requirement for us. We did not consider building a custom solution. We went with a package solution because our external vendor recommended it to us. They said that this is the only option, that they are working only with Windward and it is the only option for the IT system we are using.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was not complex.

    What other advice do I have?

    Right now we have four or five reports in our production environment. In our test environment we have an additional three or four. We are connected with an application from the Dorsum Wealth Management platform and we use the database from that system.

    I have recommended Windward to two IT providers, but I haven't had any feedback for now. But I would recommend it. It provides very good-looking, flexible, and nice reports.

    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.
    it_user826308
    Information Technology Manager at a healthcare company with 51-200 employees
    Real User
    AutoTag is more intuitive than others we've used, and support is exemplary

    Pros and Cons

    • "We ended up going with Windward for the level of support we got from them during our proof of concept."

      What is our primary use case?

      Our organization generates large reports. These are documents of around 200 pages. Our organization accredits hospitals, and we send surveyors into hospitals who then survey according to certain standards, and they write up a very large report. It's those reports that go out to the member organizations, so our use case is very large reports, but not necessarily a large volume of them. 

      How has it helped my organization?

      It really hasn't improved our organization at all. We had a report-generator before, we have a report-generator now. It just means we're on a supported platform. Whereas before we were running services on something that we didn't actually have adequate support for, this new product does. 

      What is most valuable?

      When it came down to the crunch, all the products we evaluated generate reports and were pretty easy to use. The support from Windward was one of the primary considerations. Even though we're based in Australia we did get good support for them, even considering the difference in time zones, and cost was another significant factor as well, it was competitively priced.

      I think it's a bit more intuitive to use on the AutoTag feature, so that's a positive, but from the end-user perspective it generates a report exactly as we want it, so in a timeframe that's the same as before. I don't know if that's a good, or a bad, is it middle of the road. It meets our expectations.

      What needs improvement?

      It's pretty early stages. We haven't got any constructive feedback yet.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      Still implementing.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      It wasn't about stability. We had a couple of "teething" questions, and that was more about usability, how do we use the product. That was a learning on our side. Windward were really good in that, they did a screen-share with us, and actually worked with us to identify the problem and come up with solutions, so that was quite good. Again a very positive thing from Windward. 

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We ran multiple reports concurrently, to the volume that we're likely to see, and had no issues. Again our workload is quite unique in that it's not volume-based. We only have 800 potential users. 

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Exemplary. We have called a number of times, and normally it starts off with a "log-a-support-call" through their system. It gets acknowledged, we get an email acknowledgement of what's going on, they get in contact very quickly. They don't run a 24-hour service, but I think it's actually extended business hours, so they do cater for our requirements, being on the East coast of Australia. In the mornings we tee up with their afternoons, of the previous day.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      Our previous report-generator product, it performed just as well. As I mentioned before, they're large reports but small in volume. It's not like we're processing one or two-page documents and doing hundreds of thousands of them. These are 200-page documents and they're ad-hoc; so a user would select it, run a report, and then a report would be generated. I think we're getting performance around around 45 seconds for a 200 page document, and most of that was the actual running of the query. 

      I don't think we can actually build a report generator from scratch, so that's why we went with Windward. We were using Microsoft SSRS before, which was no longer supported by the vendor, and we also looked at another Australian-based product that does something similar, but we ended up going with Windward really for the level of support we got from them during our proof of concept, and also the printing as well.

      How was the initial setup?

      It was quite straightforward, I don't think we actually had any issues. We did put it on the test system to begin with, and we didn't have any issues that I can recall.

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

      I can't advise anybody about pricing and licensing, but it was competitive. We went and looked at the market and, for us, it met our requirements.

      A lot of things we did look at were all volume-based, so it was a case of you buy a license to generate this many reports a year, and that's not something that I'm particularly interested in because it doesn't give you any idea - if we have future growth, or if we have a lean year - for budgeting reasons it's more difficult. With Windward it's a straight out license fee, whether we generate one page or we generate a million, it makes no difference.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      Intelledox, that's an Australian-based company and does similar things - probably more expansive than Windward, has a lot more features - but features that we wouldn't need anyway. We're only looking for a report-generator, and it was on a per-page basis, so that was one of the reasons why we didn't chose that.

      What other advice do I have?

      In our case, the ability for users to have design and layout control is not really important. The reports are pretty standard formats, these are agreed to well beforehand, so once they're designed we don't really go back and modify them that frequently.

      We probably have half a dozen different templates and, as I mentioned before, they're very large, comprehensive documents. Most of it's textual, some embedded graphics and tables.

      In terms of data sources, we just connect to our SQL server.

      They were really helpful with the proof of concept. They offered free licenses. I think the initial license is a two-week one. They went out of their way to help us, and we requested two extensions, so we actually ran a bit of a longer evaluation, but in the end we certainly signed with them. They've been really helpful, from the account manager all the way through to the support people. 

      The word of advice is: Try before you buy, give it a good run, see if it actually does meet all your needs. If something is not right, let them know, see if it's something that they know about, or if it's something that's on their future roadmap to address. 

      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.
      ITCS user
      Junior Data Systems Analyst at a recruiting/HR firm with 51-200 employees
      Vendor
      Best feature is the template designer within Windward Autotag.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Previously we were running reports from SQL Queries and formatting the outputs in Powerpoint Presentations, Word Documents or Excel Spreadsheets. Due to large growth, our reporting needs both externally and internally were taking too much time from the Management Information team to run on a daily basis.

      Since the installation of Autotag, users are now able to run reports either for their business area or for their external clients with the MI team assisting on creating the templates. This has delivered huge time savings across the business allowing more time to focus on development and growth opportunities.

      What is most valuable?

      The template designer is by far the best feature within Windward Autotag. You build the reports in the Microsoft Applications that you already know, and simply add tags which draw the data in where you need it. The learning curve is very low due to this and also serves as a great way to introduce our junior members to SQL queries.

      What needs improvement?

      As Autotag constantly upgrades it does more post processing on the documents. It is still lightning fast for most reporting needs, however for some of the more complex reporting we have noticed a small slow down over previous versions.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      Three to five years.

      How is customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service:

      The customer service at Windward is absolutely top notch. Every time I've had a query they have always responded promptly and in a friendly yet professional manner.

      Technical Support:

      The technical support team is one of the best technical support teams I have ever dealt with. I can keep track of the status of my technical query at any time by logging into their site. They respond very promptly and they really work hard to break through any technical issue.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      ITCS user
      Senior Software Developer at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
      Vendor
      We use it to produce rich reports while at the same time easily connecting to data sources.

      Valuable Features:

      Ability to harness all the power of standard Office software (Word & Excel) to produce rich reports while at the same time easily connecting to my data sources. Very visual way of finding and linking data. Simple integration with .net & Java.

      Improvements to My Organization:

      We are able to move report generation from the developer workload and give to less technical staff.

      Room for Improvement:

      Initial learning curve seems steep as first - but it does 'click' into place after viewing a few of the free Webinars that Windward offer.

      Valuable Features:

      Ability to harness all the power of standard Office software (Word & Excel) to produce rich reports while at the same time easily connecting to my data sources. Very visual way of finding and linking data. Simple integration with .net & Java.

      Improvements to My Organization:

      We are able to move report generation from the developer workload and give to less technical staff.

      Room for Improvement:

      Initial learning curve seems steep as first - but it does 'click' into place after viewing a few of the free Webinars that Windward offer.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      ITCS user
      Lead Information Analyst at a healthcare company with 51-200 employees
      Vendor
      A part of our business is to produce static report which we give to our clients. This product serves this purpose very well.

      What is most valuable?

      The ability for it to create static reports, which mostly replicate Word and Excel.

      How has it helped my organization?

      A part of our business is to produce static report which we give to our clients. This product serves this purpose very well.

      What needs improvement?

      The generation of PDF/Excel reports needs to replicate Word/Excel more closely with less required workarounds.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      We have been using this product for 2 years.

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      When we first started using it we did - however, that was partly due to issues at our end.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      Sometimes automated reports don't generate - seems to be completely random.

      What do I

      What is most valuable?

      The ability for it to create static reports, which mostly replicate Word and Excel.

      How has it helped my organization?

      A part of our business is to produce static report which we give to our clients. This product serves this purpose very well.

      What needs improvement?

      The generation of PDF/Excel reports needs to replicate Word/Excel more closely with less required workarounds.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      We have been using this product for 2 years.

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      When we first started using it we did - however, that was partly due to issues at our end.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      Sometimes automated reports don't generate - seems to be completely random.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      Yes, unfortunately as Word/Excel are used to generate the reports, it suffers from the same issues as 32-bit Word/Excel.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service:

      Very good, it has always been prompt and helpful.

      Technical Support:

      Good, support has actually spent the time to try and figure out why a problem is happening. And sometimes if it requires a fix then they have pushed out the fix in the next version.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      No.

      What about the implementation team?

      In-house.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      ITCS user
      Information Analyst at a healthcare company with 51-200 employees
      Vendor
      Designing report templates is straightforward with the standard Microsoft Word package.

      What is most valuable?

      • Ease of use and design reporting templates is straightforward with usage of standard MicrosoftWord package.
      • Does not require user a huge amount of time to learn all features and how to use a tool with MS package.
      • Easily pulls out data from MySQL server into format that can be usable by our internal staff or external customers.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Reduced time in creating reports, as previously used MS Excel to manually create all reports

      What needs improvement?

      • Requires some work on page numbers (footer) in Word, as it places the page number in the center, when output in PDF page number is more to right than center.
      • Outputting in PDF needs to be like for like with Word.
      • Does not supporting text color in charts (does not allow changing legend text color).

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I have used it for three months.

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      No deployment issues encountered.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      The tool is stable enough.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      No scalability issues encountered.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service:

      Great customer service: 10 of 10.

      Technical Support:

      Excellent technical support: 10 of 10.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      I haven't previously used a different solution myself, but the company used pure Excel for reporting and it was time consuming.

      How was the initial setup?

      • Straightforward setup of tool

      What about the implementation team?

      It was implemented in-house.

      What was our ROI?

      Good investment for reducing template/report design time/costs.

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

      Great value; no other costs apart from template design time.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      Unable to comment, as I wasn't at the company at that time.

      What other advice do I have?

      It is a great tool, as using the standard MS package helps with learning, because it uses mostly MS Office functions to design templates.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      ITCS user
      Sr. Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      We use AutoTag designer to build reports as well as formatted Word templates for clients that need to send out different information based off of personal.

      Valuable Features:

      We use AutoTag designer to build reports as well as formatted Word templates for clients that need to send out different information based off of personal.  This tool is great for tagging documents from different data sources such as XML, SQL, and other databases.  The tagging wizard is easy to use and helps with selecting the tags and implementing logic such as conditions, filtering and sorting.

      Improvements to My Organization:

      Streamlined the process of quickly producing letters for our clients business that helped in getting patients what they needed quickly from their physicians.

      Room for Improvement:

      Some drawbacks we have come across are getting the output formatting to match exactly how it is implemented within Word.  Not to the fault of AutoTag itself, but PDF output seems to display differently than Word output.  Even with this slight drawback, it has not stopped us from implementing rich tagged documents for our clients, and even when we run into these issues, Windward's support site and support team is on top of things, coming out with releases every 2 weeks with bug fixes and enhancements, even fixes that were submitted by us.  They are responsive and on top of their game.

      Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partners
      ITCS user
      Head of development at a tech vendor
      Vendor
      It's a good solution, which allows you to build reports quickly over multiple data sources.

      What is most valuable?

      The ability to generate a template from an MS Office application is invaluable, it makes things far easier.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Since we moved from using a self-built reporting engine to a hybrid engine which uses the Windward solution as it's primary reporting engine (some reports still have to be done the old way unfortunately, but that's the nature of our business), running out new reports is significantly quicker, meaning we can get new reports to customers far more quickly.

      What needs improvement?

      Autotag can be a little confusing for new users, however doing the training webinars will get them on their feet in no time.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      About 9 months.

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      Not really, the integration into our systems was straightforward.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      No, we've not had any problems at all.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      No, we did create a synchronised and flattened reporting database which allows us to provide as many reports as necessary without impacting main system performance though.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service:

      Very good.

      Technical Support:

      Very good.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      We used an in-house solution which was tailored very much to what we required. However it wasn't flexible enough to provide us with what we needed without lots of code changes. Therefore we looked for alternatives.

      How was the initial setup?

      It took a few days of self training and integration, but was straightforward.

      What about the implementation team?

      In house.

      What was our ROI?

      Unknown at the moment, we'll see when customers next enter a renewal period.

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

      The prices might look high, but they aren't that bad. Look at scout as well for a "per report" pricing model.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      BIRT and JasperReport.

      What other advice do I have?

      It's a good solution, which allows you to build reports quickly over multiple data sources. I would advise you to download a trial and take a look.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      it_user198999
      Java Developer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      Low learning curve. Has reduced our template development time.

      What is most valuable?

      • There's less of a a learning curve than with other reporting tools and it has easy to design complex templates using the AutoTag Microsoft Office plugin.
      • I can use Microsoft Office standard features with templates. This has reduced template development time on coding, layouts and formatting.
      • We receive customer data in various formats and it is very convenient to pass the XML datasource to generate reports.
      • Easy to integrate with our company product using Javelin Server RESTful web-services API.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Reduced design time for complex templates.

      What needs improvement?

      • Javelin Server improvements: the ability to change the datasource file path on run-time.
      • AutoTag improvements: does not support dynamically changing headers and footers on Microsoft Office Word templates.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I've used it for four years.

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      No issues encountered.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      No issues encountered.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      No issues encountered.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service:

      10 out of 10 - excellent.

      Technical Support:

      10 out of 10 - excellent, promptly responded to all our queries communicating between the UK and the US.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      No solution was used previously.

      How was the initial setup?

      Setup was straightforward using Javelin Server (Setup using IIS7 & SQL DB) and AutoTag – Microsoft Office 2010.

      What about the implementation team?

      We implemented it in-house and we received support when required.

      What was our ROI?

      Excellent investment for reducing template designing cost. Could not provide percentage numbers.

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

      Day to day cost – None apart from development time for new template design.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      We also evaluated Jaspersoft Report Designer.

      What other advice do I have?

      • It's easy to use
      • Use standard Microsoft Office to design complex templates so you can utilize rich Microsoft Office formatting, layouts etc.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      ITCS user
      Data Group Developer at a pharma/biotech company with 501-1,000 employees
      Vendor
      It suits us well with templates for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, along with full integration into our application.

      What is most valuable?

      • Word and Excel template generation
      • Ability to integrate with our application

      How has it helped my organization?

      Our reporting tool is now fully integrated with our application, appearing and behaving as part of the application.

      Report layouts can be done by less technical staff.

      What needs improvement?

      Some graphing capability could be improved and differences in layout for different formats (Word, PDF, etc.).

      For how long have I used the solution?

      3 years

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      No. Drop in the WAR and call the API.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      None

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We generate a fairly low volume of concurrent reports, so not an issue.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service:

      Excellent. Always got a response within hours and fixes or guidance quickly.

      Technical Support:

      Excellent

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      Yes, we used Oracle BI Publisher. Windward integrates easier, has a better Word template builder (Publisher didn't have Excel or PowerPoint template builders), and better licensing options to suit us.

      How was the initial setup?

      Simply drop in the WAR file. We had to do work on our end to secure the data we pass in to Windward.

      What about the implementation team?

      In-house

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

      We bought on a x number of reports generated per month basis, which suited us as we have a lot of infrequent users and monthly reports (a lot of reports are run within 1 or 2 days).

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      Pentaho and Oracle BI were the main contenders.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      it_user200553
      Business Analyst at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Vendor
      Customer service is very good. Very good ROI as well.

      What is most valuable?

      Out and IF tags

      How has it helped my organization?

      It was used to automatically generate documents/emails for printing and distribution. It would use an XML source passed by the system and then rendered into a static document.

      What needs improvement?

      Two that I found:

      1. Was limited by XML path restrictions. There were a couple of times I wanted to do something in the formulas which was prohibited by XML path but okay to do in Excel and the product is sold as being able to do whatever Excel can do in terms of formulas.
      2. The wiki is useful but it could be expanded so much more! I had to do so much translating from Excel -> Autotag where the wiki could have gone into more depth. Imagine something with more scope like the Microsoft Excel how to guides. Much more in depth and gives you various examples of how power Autotag can be.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I've used it for two and a half years.

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      Sometimes with the activation key.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      No issues encountered.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      No issues encountered.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service:

      Very good - I think they needed to be more up front of needing XYZ before you even submit as there was sometimes a bit and back and forth with questions around versions/correct XML etc.

      Technical Support:

      Very good.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      No previous solution used.

      What about the implementation team?

      In-house.

      What was our ROI?

      Cannot comment accurately but it would be very good.

      What other advice do I have?

      Be sure that you trial it and it meets your needs.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      it_user195528
      COO/VP Operations & Software Exec at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      Valuable Feature: Ability to incorporate it into our solution so clients have a seamless experience using it.

      Valuable Features

      Ability to incorporate it into our solution so clients have a seamless experience using it.

      Improvements to My Organization

      a. It is a product solution that we incorporate into our solution for our clients.

      b. For our clients – it dramatically improves several areas.

      i. They now have standard documents they can use throughout the system.

      ii. It’s incorporation into our solution means they have a lot of the data points pre-populated.

      Room for Improvement

      Error handling – give more details on just what the issue is to help quickly troubleshoot what is wrong.

      Use of Solution

      I have been using the solution for 3 – 4 years.

      Deployment Issues

      Yes – there have been numerous licensing issues over the past few years. Hopefully that has been addressed with Phone Home licensing solution.

      Stability Issues

      Only around licensing.

      Scalability Issues

      We encountered no issues with scalability.

      Customer Service and Technical Support

      Customer Service:

      Their ability to help us troubleshoot is too low – they really need to help us troubleshoot in our environment – not their testing environment.

      Technical Support:

      Their ability to help us troubleshoot is too low – they really need to help us troubleshoot in our environment – not their testing environment.

      Initial Setup

      Initially it was tough, but we’ve documented the proper steps for our environment and have a solid deployment process now.

      Implementation Team

      In-house team.

      Other Advice

      Get the phone home licensing solution.

      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.
      ITCS user
      Business Analyst at Towers Watson
      Real User
      We switched because Windward offered better maintenance.

      What is most valuable?

      Report server.

      How has it helped my organization?

      It just replaced a previous product we were using.

      What needs improvement?

      Ease of use.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I've used Windward Autotag for four years.

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      Confusing licensing agreement.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      No issues encountered.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      No issues encountered.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service: Their customer service is quite good. Technical Support: Their technical support is quite good.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      We did use a different solution and we switched because…

      What is most valuable?

      Report server.

      How has it helped my organization?

      It just replaced a previous product we were using.

      What needs improvement?

      Ease of use.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I've used Windward Autotag for four years.

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      Confusing licensing agreement.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      No issues encountered.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      No issues encountered.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service:

      Their customer service is quite good.

      Technical Support:

      Their technical support is quite good.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      We did use a different solution and we switched because Windward offered better maintenance and upgrade path.

      How was the initial setup?

      The workstation deployment and license allocation was a pain, but the server component was easy. A salesman told us we could have concurrent usage license, that is also how the protection seems to work. Then they decided we could only buy named user licenses. Most of our user community used the product quite infrequently so we were far from impressed.

      What about the implementation team?

      We implemented it in-house.

      What was our ROI?

      Not easy to calculate, it replaced something that was written in house and was proving to be a pain to keep current.

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

      40 licenses for Autotag, plus a server and annual maintenance.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      No other options were evaluated.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      it_user191808
      Software Developer at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      Before Windward, we needed to use SSRS reporting engine to render reports to MS Word.

      What is most valuable?

      I like Windward as it's directly attached to MS Word and we actually develop the report on MS Word. It gives us the benefit of using most of the MS Word features. Lot of clients of ours prefer reports in MS Word format and therefore Windward suits us quite well. Also, it's much better compared to a couple of years ago.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Previously we were using SSRS reporting engine to render reports to MS Word. It couldn't deliver what our clients wanted. So we had to go for an alternative. Now clients are quite happy as they get pretty much what they wanted. It may not be 100% but quite close.

      What needs improvement?

      I think it needs few other reporting features like grouping data on the report itself.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      About three years.

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      Yes there were some unexpected bugs but we were able to find workarounds.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      Yes there were some unexpected bugs but we were able to find workarounds.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      No, not really.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service:

      It's quite good actually. Usually I get a response within 24 hours.

      Technical Support:

      It's quite good actually. Usually I get a response within 24 hours.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      Previously we were using SSRS reporting engine to render reports to MS Word. It couldn't deliver what our clients wanted. So we had to go for an alternative. Now clients are quite happy as they get pretty much what they wanted. It may not be 100% but quite close.

      How was the initial setup?

      I'd say average. Not easy nor really complex.

      What about the implementation team?

      In house implementation was done.

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

      When I started a couple of years ago Windward wasn't a very stable product. So the maintenance cost was bit high. But now it's much better.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      I was not involved in the process. But I was told that Windward was the only one they could find as a better product in terms of delivering what our clients wanted at that time.

      What other advice do I have?

      It's a really good product if you really want the reports in MS Word form and if you want to use MS Word features in your reports.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      it_user190386
      Principal at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
      Vendor
      Most valuable feature: ability to design reports, using all formatting bells and whistles, in Microsoft Word and Excel.

      What is most valuable?

      The ability to design reports, using all the formatting bells and whistles, in Microsoft Word and Excel. Plus the ability to combine XML data and SQL data.

      How has it helped my organization?

      The most important is how we have been able to produce much more persuasive and professional reports than our peers.

      What needs improvement?

      Pricing is based off server cores. This has caused us to have to engineer our production server environment around the product.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      6 or 7 years.

      What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

      None. It is really easy to implement.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      The product is very stable, and we have yet to find a scenario where the design environment (AutoTag) was different than our production environment (.NET Engine).

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      No issues with scalability.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Customer Service:

      As good as the product is, the customer service is even better. Out of all of the products we use in our company, Windward is hands down the best support without even a close second.

      Technical Support:

      Awesome.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      We originally used Crystal Reports, and then tried WSDL. We switched because of the versatility in report design available using Word/Excel.

      How was the initial setup?

      Very straightforward. AutoTag takes some getting used to, but if you have used a report writer or a macro structure before it comes pretty easily. The production use is even easier. Literally just a few lines of code to delploy.

      What about the implementation team?

      In-house.

      What was our ROI?

      We never evaluated, but it has never been a question.

      What other advice do I have?

      Try it and you’ll buy it. We have introduced several of our friends to this product and they have all been impressed.

      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.