One of the big changes in OpenBI's business over our eight years of BI and analytics consulting has been the evolution of “reporting”. In 2006, print-like reports were the norm, with OLAP and visualization secondary. Now OLAP and graphical dashboards predominate. Indeed, many customers have pretty much abandoned traditional “pixel-perfect”, control breaks reporting for visual drill/slice-and-dice, dashboards and statistical graphs.

Nobody's happier about that development than me. I love exploring data with Tableau and generating statistical graphics with R's lattice and ggplot2 packages. There are advantages and disadvantages to both Tableau and R: Tableau's easier to use and is much more visually appealing; lattice/ggplot2's programmability and links to R functions offer significant statistical benefits for R analysts. And of course there's the Tableau-R integration.

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