For most people BI is some distant techno world that involves consultants, confusion and very high consulting fees. Fortunately a new class of software is emerging that provides access to the data without the high cost of consulting services.
Tableau Software provides a transition for those who might be very good with spreadsheet/pivot-tables, but who need to be able to probe much larger data sets in dynamically, or who wish to create a business information solution internally, without the high consulting fees.
I’ve recently completed a low cost BI solution that works quite well using Tableau Software’s free Reader tool as the distribution method. Tableau’s real sweet spot is as an ad hoc analysis tool for investigating data dynamically and visually; however, it’s a great low cost alternative for distributing standard business information in a more visually appealing format.
If you’re looking for an affordable way to initiate a business information platform. One that will scale from text files, to spreadsheets and eventually to an enterprise-class database from all the major vendors and several open source suppliers, checkout Tableau www.tableausoftware.com and download the free trail.