Tableau Software is about to release the 1.0 of version of an application that radically simplifies data visualization--meaning you
can make some sense out of database rows, columns and cross-tabs without knowing SQL and brain surgery. Tableau connects database information from text files, Microsoft database and spreadsheet sources, MySQL, Hyperion Essbase and IBM and DB2 OLAP servers (native Oracle and IBM DB2 connectors are coming later this year), and renders the schemas as dimensions (part numbers, dates, etc.) and measures (numeric data).
Visual views are created by dragging and dropping the dimensions and measures (basically column and row headings) into the visualization window. Changing views, chart types, pivoting data, setting filters and performing ad hoc analyses