Speaking Your Language

The business users' blog about document generation and all things reporting software

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Speaking Your Language - The business users' blog about document generation and all things reporting software

Document Generation Case Study: LeBlanc’s Food Stores

“Windward is the solution that allowed me to come in and hit our budget right on the money.” – Arland Head, Director of IT, LeBlanc’s Food Stores

There’s a new document generation case study up on our website that shows how a Windward customer used our document generation solution to save time and money in their hiring process.

Don’t have time for the full case study? Then check out the quick rundown:

The Challenge

LeBlanc’s hiring process was costly, inefficient and a drain on resources:

  1. Hiring documents were transported via courier between external stores and company headquarters in a process that created lengthy delays.
  2. Employees needlessly spent hours recording information manually.
  3. The system had no automated way to link related documentation, causing wasted resources and the risk of inaccurate, missing, or otherwise incomplete data.
The Solution

LeBlanc’s implemented Windward because:

Using Windward to power the hiring process has saved LeBlanc’s hundreds of employee hours per year.

The AutoTag-based system’s ability to tag all fields and format them to generate a unique, automated bar code allowed LeBlanc’s to quickly and easily associate connected information.

Windward’s ability to access data stored in XML files meant LeBlanc’s could aggregate data in a separate location instead of requiring access to company databases. This system helped set up a barrier around LeBlanc’s proprietary databases and added a level of security.

The Windward solution was affordable, with an initial price point roughly half that of competitor offerings and a licensing model that keeps costs low.

The power to use a fully functional trial version and build a proof of concept allowed the IT staff to demonstrate to management prior to purchase exactly how the new system would work.

The Achievements:
  • Human resources time spent on employee hiring documentation was decreased by a factor of 4 and resulted in a yearly average savings of approximately 1,200 hours. In addition, the system freed up another roughly 200 hours per year in store management hours.
  • The hiring completion process dropped from 2-3 days to 1 day.
  • LeBlanc’s achieved greater control over the hiring process through a more efficient, more secure and more accurate automated system.

Want to learn more? Head on over to the document generation case study.

 

Six Reasons Why You Should Upgrade to AutoTag 11

What did you say — you still haven’t upgraded to AutoTag 11? Here are six reasons you should:

#1 You asked for it

Many software companies  save up their new features, bug fixes, etc. and bundle them into an official version they roll out to big fanfare (and hope to make big bucks off of).

And users have to wait another year or so to get additional improvements.

At Windward, we do it differently. You get new features as soon as the improvements are ready. Because we base those improvements largely upon your feedback requests, you get the tools you need when you need them.

#2 It’s free

Upgrading is free — with one caveat. If you’re up to date on your maintenance contracts, it’s free. That means  if you bought version 10 nine months ago, you can still get these new features in version 11.

And a few weeks from now, you can download the very latest version 11 and get those new features, too.

#3 Cool new features

So what are these features we’re touting?

Some of them are:

    • More native data sources. Along with the data sources you’re used to, you can add support for the Microsoft BISM data source to the list of places AutoTag can “talk” to. Your programming team doesn’t have to spend time converting your data – and can instead hang out and play a mean game of Cubicle War.
    • More flexibility in charts and dashboards. When you use tags to create a chart in Word, you can make the chart be a chart in the output – where you can change the colors, title, or otherwise reformat it as you wish. This feature was pretty popular, so now you can do the same when designing reports in Excel and PowerPoint. And this leads to:
    • Still more flexibility in charts. If you have a chart in a template that is a regular Office chart (ie. not generated through a chart tag), that will carry over to the report. You can see an example and read more details here.
    • More tags. The bookmark tag will let you place bookmarks in the template – through a call to your data source – that can be linked to from hyperlinks.
#4 A bit less

We cleaned up the program a bit by deprecating features and supplementing/replacing them with, well, better ones. So bye bye function tag (hello custom functions) and beans (replaced by IEventHandler.)

#5 Version 11 of the Engine is also improved

Those of you who use AutoQuery know Windward lets you set up reports and other documents that allow for ad hoc queries. For instance, you can look at a report that shows all sales made in California last quarter, click a button or two, and look at all sales for the East Coast for last year.

One of our customers asked if we could put this functionality into the Engine. And we thought, “why not?”

Why not indeed. So our top-notch programming team created an API in the engine that allows for filters in the select statement. Now you can create one template and then, based on the value of variables passed to the data source when running the report, determine which data rows are rendered in the report.

And when you upgrade to AutoTag 11, you can run version 11 of the Engine as well.

#6 Time-saving wizards

Imagine having your own personal wizards. Just wave your magic wand and voila – your wish is their command.

That’s what you get with the new Windward datasource wizards. They aren’t exactly magic wands, but they let you access your data easily and quickly.

The wizards guide you through choosing the right data source, entering any credentials necessary for accessing that data source, and testing the connection. It all takes about less than a minute. And if you get stuck, you can refer to each screen via our Datasource Wizard documentation.

 

 

New White Paper: Document Generation Done Right

Here’s one way your company can generate documents on a large scale. You create a master document, print hundreds of copies, paint over specific information with Wite-Out, and manually enter data for each individual copy.

Yeah, it sounds ridiculous. But  unfortunately it’s an apt analogy for the approach too many companies take toward document generation.

How To Do  Document Generation Right

The above is the premise — and the intro — of a new Windward white paper. “How To Do Document Generation Right” is a look at some of the current problems in docgen and how to solve them.

If you’re a Windward customer, much of this is not news. You already know the issues and what a better solution looks like.

But maybe you want to show your coworkers or other departments a bit about how you’re saving the company money. And time. And hassles.

If so, feel free to pass this paper along to them.

And if you’re not  a Windward customer, we invite you to check it out and see what you’ve been missing. Head to our white papers resource center to request a download. Or, feel free to contact the sales team for more information.