What do you like best?
I have just started using Windward, but coming from many years of experience with other report tools, I am already smitten with it. The ease of design for at least the fairly basic templates I'm starting to build is, for the most part, remarkable. The output in legitimate DOCX format that can be easily manipulated by end users is head and shoulders above any of the other tools we currently use to create Word documents, which end up as complex tables from edge to edge and top to bottom with very little meaningful ability to be tweaked, let alone heavily edited, rearranged and reused in other documents.
I've also received very prompt, professional and competent responses from Windward's support team. From webinars to email support to phone calls, they've been extremely accommodating and helpful -- not to mention just plain friendly.
What do you dislike?
It's hard to complain about a tool I've only recently started using, and I'll update this review when I've got more experience with it, but two areas I find lacking are documentation (which I've been assured has just started a complete overhaul) and functionality for some of the tags. For example, I've been struggling to use the IF tag to do something that's dead simple in other tools: hide text and/or other elements when a data field is empty/null. Support is working on it and I'm sure I'll get an answer, but this should be more straightforward than it is.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Many other tools will also do a great job of creating PDF output, if that's all your needs require, but I have yet to see a report tool that comes close to providing the native DOCX (Word) output that we get from Windward AutoTag. If truly editable/reuseable Word (or Excel or PowerPoint, presumably, though I have no direct experience with those ... yet) output is something your users need, this is definitely worth looking into.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
The primary reason we looked at Windward was inadequate Word output from other report tools. With other tools, there's little room (as mentioned previously) for users to manipulate or reuse the output because it's laid out in rigid tables within tables within tables (and perhaps necessarily so, given the nature of those other tools).. Unfortunately, almost the ONLY reason our customers want Word output is specifically so they CAN make these kinds of changes and/or copy content from the generated output into other documents. Without the ability to use the Word output like a real Word document, users are frankly much better off sticking with PDFs.
By comparison, Windward AutoTag outputs a native, "real" Word document that users can easily interact with, with real headers and footers, real page margins not built from wall-to-wall tables, etc. If the user adds a paragraph of text to page 2, it doesn't blow up the following 30 pages but instead everything flows naturally as you'd expect.
Another benefit we're hoping to gain from using AutoTag as one of our report tools is to allow our customers to more easily create and maintain their own templates without needing a week of training using proprietary software but instead using an add-on for a tool (MS Word) they've been using most of their careers. While we're happy to do whatever report design and maintenance our customers ask for, we also like to be able to get them started and empower them to make changes and additions without relying on us if that's what they prefer. It looks like Windward AutoTag is going to be a huge improvement in that respect.