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Document Generation―Category, Segment, or Intersection?

Think About It

What happens at the intersection of three gigantic software categories? Magic of course!

And perhaps a little confusion.

We love to categorize things―from consumer goods and industries to animals and rocks. Software is no different. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of software. Categorization is useful, but it can oversimplify a problem/solution to a point of confusion or even misinformation.

canis familiaris

Take these three major software categories:

Database, Reporting, and Publishing

Each has an important business function, and each is accompanied by an entourage of software offerings with similar core capabilities.

But what do you call software that can connect free-form design templates to a variety of data sources, to create unique reports, that can be output on demand or by the thousands? It’s called Document Generation.

The concept of Document Generation is easy to understand through a few examples:

You get the idea. They’re all documents that contain unique content obtained from various data sources. A great number of businesses have a need for Document Generation functionality but believe they’re stuck with the secondary functionality of software that was built for other purposes or forced to build their own solutions.

Windward’s Document Generation software stands at this intersection with a purpose-built solution that draws from the best of each category. 

Businesses and developers know that database solutions don’t inherently have document design capabilities, and they know that the mail-merge functionality that exists in some publishing solutions is inadequate for creating even simple reports. Some have tried reporting and BI solutions that are very good at displaying interactive data, but found that layout and design limitations make them unacceptable for formatted document output.

Business users want to be able to design and edit data-powered document templates that are consistent with their brand and usability standards. And developers want to be able to offload the design and formatting tasks, but they know that it’s time-consuming and costly to build even the most basic features into their applications.

Document Generation software is a unique solution to a specific need that can’t be effectively addressed with general Reporting, Publishing or Database software.

NOTE: IT Central Station (a leading hub for enterprise tech product reviews) recently created a new software category for Document Generation, and Windward is easily leading the small pack of contenders in the space.

It’s important to understand the capabilities and nuances of these categories―to know what each is good at, and when to look elsewhere for the best solution.

Windward’s Document Generation solution provides unmatched design control in a familiar environment and scalable document output engines that can be embedded in most applications with just a few lines of code.

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Robert Nendza

VP, Marketing at Windward Studios

Robert's experience spans a variety of Product and Marketing leadership roles with a focus on content and publishing systems.

robertn@windward.nethttps://www.linkedin.com/in/bnendza

For over 10 years Windward has been making software that allows business users and developers to create data-powered documents of all types including: forms, proposals, statements, reports, presentations and more. Windward's novel approach allows users to "tag" elements within standard Microsoft® Office documents to be dynamically replaced with data from common data sources when output. Windward's solutions have become the leading choice for developers adding reporting and document generation capabilities to their applications in over 70 countries around the world.

Windward's solutions include scalable high-performance output engines written for .NET, Java, and RESTful  applications coupled with design environments that include Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Windward's customers regularly report savings well over 50% in template design and production costs. And, their business users enjoy being empowered to design and edit templates without having to involve development resources. Windward's "drop-in" code libraries allow developers to add best-in-class reporting and document generation capabilities to their applications in less time, by orders of magnitude, compared with other platforms or in-house development. Proudly located in Boulder, Colorado, Windward is dedicated to making reporting and document generation more effective and accessible to business users and developers everywhere.

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