Report Writing Simplified by abo20752


									       Report Writing Simplified
       Take Advantage of Microsoft Office's powerful layout
       tools to build rich reports
       Report writing creates an expensive bottleneck for many companies because it demands ongoing, iterative
       involvement from in-house developers. This white paper describes a novel approach to report writing that
       allows business users to lay out elegant reports using Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint as the design tool.

              eport writing is costly and time-consum-           under pressure to deliver other products, and
              ing. The people who need the reports               the business user is often left without support.
              –business users – typically can't create             This endless design process is very slow,
       them without the help of a programmer or                  expensive and frustrating for all departments
       developer. Creating reports becomes an itera-             involved. Worse still, the final report is inade-
       tive process. The business user enlists the               quate, because getting it right becomes too
       developer's help. The developer creates a                 expensive and takes too much time.
       report and shows it to the business user. With              What if report design was easy enough that
       feedback from the business user, the developer            product managers, project managers, account-
       then refines the report. This process is repeated         ing managers, and other business users could
       for reports across the organization.                      do it alone, without help from IT? What if there
          IT and business resources get tied up in this          was no complicated programming knowledge
       lengthy process. Plus, report writing is often a          required? And what if there was little or no
       low priority for developers because they are              learning curve?
                                                                                           Figure 1: Financial
                                                                                           Reports are easy to
                                                                                           create in AutoTag’s
                                                                                           MS Word interface

       Windward Reports –                                       If you're looking for a report-tool item in Figure
       for simplified report writing                         1, you won't find it. That's because Figure 1 is a
         Microsoft Office is the key to an innovative        plain old Word document, and you already know
       approach to report writing called Windward            how to do everything you need in order to cre-
       Reports. Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint         ate a similar report template. Windward Reports
       are powerful layout tools that almost all business    is an enterprise-level program that uses Word or
       users know how to use. Setting up tables and for-     any other word processor, such as Open Office,
       matting text in Word is almost second nature to       to design a report template. Windward Reports
       most business people. The same goes for using         takes the template you design and connects it to
       Excel formulas to calculate data, and for using       your database to create your final report.
       PowerPoint slides to create visually stunning pre-
       sentations. Leveraging the familiar Office environ-
       ment, business users have easy-to-use tools to
       create the sophisticated reports they want.
         Business users can take full advantage of Word,
       Excel or PowerPoint's formatting and What-You-
       See-Is-What-You-Get environment.
                                                                                        Figure 2: AutoTag
                                                                                        allows the most
                                                                                        complex data to be
                                                                                        represented clearly
                                                                                        and easily – as in this
                                                                                        logistics report

       Using Windward Reports                                holder for data in the template. This can be done
          Windward Reports includes the design tool          once by your IT staff, although in many cases the
       AutoTag, an add-in for Microsoft Office that          process is easy enough for the non-programmer.
       greatly simplifies the report process. Using             Then, from within the template, you simply
       AutoTag eliminates the expense and frustration        click a button to generate a report, and the tem-
       of the iterative report development process. You      plate inserts real-time data. Reports are avail-
       create your template using any of the features        able in a wide range of formats, including PDF,
       Office has to offer, such as tables, formulas,        HTML, DOCX, Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint
       headers, footers, columns, images, colors,            presentation, and many more. The result is a
       charts, tables of contents, etc. Figure 2 shows a     finished report with all the formatting and posi-
       purchase order template that was created in           tioning specified by the business user – avail-
       Microsoft Word using AutoTag.                         able in minutes.
          AutoTag allows the most complex data to be
       represented clearly and easily, as in this logis-
       tics report.
          After you've designed the template, you tell the
       template what data to use by putting a place-
                                                                                      Figure 3
                                                                                      AutoTag’s Tag Editor is
                                                                                      clear and easy to use

       Proven Efficiency                                  About Windward Studios
       Customers of Windward Reports attest                  Windward Studios has been in business since
       to this ease of use and time savings.              1995. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Windward
          S.S. Mohanty of Nucleus Software Exports        Reports was formed in 2003 to develop innova-
       says his favorite feature of Windward Reports is   tive software products for both enterprise and
       the Word-based template because it makes his       individual customers. Windward Reports is the
       life easier. Prior to using Windward Reports, he   only comprehensive report generator to use
       says, "I [previously] spent half my time design-   Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as a
       ing and scripting reports to meet the banks'       layout tool, thus significantly reducing the learn-
       requirements. With Windward, we can lay out a      ing curve while saving time and money for both
       report in Word and get immediate approval          technical and non-technical users alike.
       from the client."
          Bjerregaard Pedersen of Backbone Digital        Windward Reports
       Systems says, "Compared to systems where           2945 Center Green Court South, Suite H
       both layout and data must be coded, as we did      Boulder, Colorado 80301
       before, the process of creating a new report is    303-499-2544 •
       at least five times faster."

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