Windward Studios Valuable Features

Hit Mistry
Vice President at PSC Group, LLC
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. View full review »
Juriaan Kloek
IT implementation consultant at BearingPoint Caribbean
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. View full review »
Valarie King-Bailey
CEO at OTG
* 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. View full review »
Learn what your peers think about Windward Studios. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: April 2020.
438,246 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Solutionef0b
Solutions Architect at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
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. View full review »
Mike Horrocks
Vice President of Product Management at Baker Hill
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. View full review »
Technica6546
Technical Manager at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
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. View full review »
WimCuyvers
Owner at CNC Consultants
It's difficult to say which of Windward's features are most valuable. It has several functions, and all of them work well. Windward is software for automatic document generation. That means you can have a standard letter with a lot of parameters or information in it that can vary. Each time you need to produce this letter you can read the parameters in and, depending on their values, produce what you need. The result can include pictures, tables, charts, etc. The solution is very flexible, so you can create anything you want. Think of the possibilities you have in Excel or in Word, because these are the two document generators that are used the most. I only use Word, but I can use nearly every feature in Word, including making charts and tables, and produce those features in Windward, parametrically. One of the nice parts of Windward is that you can design your document in Word by yourself. Everybody can work with Microsoft Word or with Microsoft Excel. The integration that Windward has with these applications is the big advantage when compared with others. With other approaches, a document is designed but then you need a software programmer to create a template from it. But if you can work with Word very well, you can work with Windward, after a training period of one week or two weeks. View full review »
Jim Aiken
SVP, Product Development at High Line Software Corporation, a Neogov Company
The fact that it uses Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel as base templates, so when you generate, it's easy for clients to upgrade, and maintain, and generate out either a PDF or an actual Excel spreadsheet. The ability for users to have design and layout control is very important. If clients or my developers can't lay out things into specific spots, we couldn't produce reports that look like forms. We have to produce things that look like check stubs or that look like W2s, or of different government reports requiring a specific form layout. View full review »
reviewer1255479
Systems Support Specialist at a construction company with 5,001-10,000 employees
One of the valuable features is Functions, which helps make it possible to generate grammatically correct sentences from XML data. The quick preview is another useful feature. Our previous system required a sever upload before changes could be previewed. With Windward, we are able to build tables where elevator floors are represented "right-side-up," with the first floor being at the bottom of the table and the highest floor, being at the top. This reverse sequence of rows is something our previous software company said was impossible. Because of this, our reps were forced to rearrange the word tables, themselves. View full review »
CliServ3298
Head of Client Evolution And Services at AxeFinance
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. View full review »
Neil Carroll
Product Management & Owner at a financial services firm with 11-50 employees
The engine being able to sit inside of our firewall is the most important feature. The design tool, with all of its features and sample output fidelity tests, and being able to work with JSON data and output PDF and HTML, were also both crucial. The ability for users to have design and layout control is also critically important. Without this ability, procuring report designs would represent a huge bottleneck. Report design tools also enable upsell opportunities for customized reports, with quick turnaround times. View full review »
reviewer1025424
User
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. View full review »
Learn what your peers think about Windward Studios. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: April 2020.
438,246 professionals have used our research since 2012.